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Pesto to the Rescue

Every summer, we grow our own vegetable garden, and along side the garden we grow herbs in pots.  And every year we have grand ideas of how we are going to use these herbs in all of the dishes that we make.

And every year we end up with several pots of herbs that we barely touch.

This summer we are on a mission to change that!

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What requires a whole bunch of herbs, but is still easy to make and doesn’t require cooking (It’s hot. Who wants to turn on an oven, or even a stove-top!)?

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Pesto, that’s what!

And since we’re really indecisive and couldn’t decide which herb we wanted to include, we threw a few different ones in and hoped for the best.

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Lemon Basil, African Blue Basil, Sage and Arugula.  You want flavour?  You got it!  Paired with some toasted walnuts, garlic and a little lemon juice to finish it off- you will want to spread this stuff on everything.  But be sure to make a double-batch, because we’ve got a delicious summer meal coming your way that features this magnificent spread, and you’re going to want to use every last drop! 😉

Don’t have lemon basil or African Blue basil?  No problem!  Regular basil works just fine.  Don’t have an herb garden?  We’re betting you have a neighbour or two who would be happy to share their bounty with you 🙂

So go ahead and use 10 minutes to make this- then go and enjoy that summer sun!

Basil-Sage-Arugula-Walnut Pesto

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Time: 10 minutes
Makes: ~1/2 c.

Ingredients:

1/2 c walnuts, toasted
1/3 c. basil leaves
1/4 c. sage leaves
1/3 c. arugula
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water

Directions:

Put the walnuts, basil, sage, arugula, salt, garlic and lemon juice into a blender or food processor.  Blend on high until the mixture becomes mealy and starts to form a paste.  With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil.  If your pesto is still too thick after adding all of the olive oil, add the tablespoon of water.  Blend until the mixture is somewhat smooth. (it will still have some texture).  Store in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

~twosaucysisters

Do you have an herb garden?  How do you use up all of your herbs?

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Clusters of Awesome

Banana and peanut butter is a classic combination.

But there is another.  It is lesser-known, but not any less delicious!  That’s right- there is something else that is equally as delicious as peanut butter and banana.

So what is this magic combination?  Banana and tahini.

Since we started reading food blogs, we have been introduced to many new and wonderful ideas, and the banana-tahini combo definitely makes the list of the top 10 (if we were to make one, that is..).

Unfortunately, we cannot remember on what blog we first heard about putting these two ingredients together, so if you are a food-blogger and have ever mentioned about eating banana and tahini at the same time, feel free to take credit for introducing this idea to us 🙂

For those of you who don’t know, tahini is sesame seed paste.  It’s kind of like peanut butter, except its made with sesame seeds instead (it also has no sugar or salt added to it).  It’s a very common condiment in middle-eastern cooking, and is a major ingredient in hummus.  It can be found in pretty much any grocery store, and has a mild, nutty flavour.

We could go on all day about how delicious and versatile tahini is, but today we’re actually here to talk about granola:

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You see, the other day we decided we wanted to make granola.  We had some ripe bananas that we wanted to use up, so our first thought was to make peanut butter-banana.  But then we decided that we wanted to try something a little different-and thus banana tahini granola came to be!

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We really can’t say enough about this granola!  There’s a slight sweetness from the banana that’s balanced perfectly with the nuttiness of the tahini.  If you’ve never had tahini before and you’re a little hesitant to try it, this is the perfect recipe to start with!  The tahini flavour is very mild in this granola- almost an after thought, really.

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In fact, if you didn’t know there was tahini in the granola, you probably wouldn’t guess that it’s there.  You’d just be wondering why this granola tasted so ridiculously delicious.  Then you would just accept it, and go on blissfully eating it by the bowl-ful. 🙂

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There is also one other very important thing that we must mention about this granola.  It has the best. Clusters. Ever.  The secret?  An egg white!  One single egg white.  Add it into the mix, and you’ll get those hearty clusters that are so highly coveted when making homemade granola!

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Would you just look at those clusters?  No need for a bunch of oil or sugar- because we don’t know about you guys, but when we have granola, we want to eat entire bowlfuls of it!  Stuff it full of sugar and oil and suddenly that becomes a not-so-healthy idea.  That being said, we didn’t add a tonne of sweetener to this, so if you’d prefer you can feel free to add a little more if that suits your taste 🙂

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So please do yourself a favour and go make a batch of this granola.  Then eat a bowl full of it.  In fact, you may even want to make a double-batch, because it is that good.

Banana and tahini- seriously, people.

Banana Tahini Granola

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Prep: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Makes: approximately 5 cups

Ingredients:

3 c. large-flake rolled oats
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. chopped almonds
1 medium banana, mashed
1/4 c. tahini
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg white

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350C.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, sesame seeds, walnuts, almonds, and cinnamon.  Stir until evenly mixed.

In another smaller bowl, whisk the banana and tahini together until smooth.  Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract and egg white and mix until everything is fully combined.  Add the wet ingredients to the oat mixture and stir until everything is mixed and there are no dry spots left.

Spread the mixture evenly onto the prepared pan, pressing down slightly.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and stir, breaking up the granola slightly, but leaving several large chunks.  Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven again and stir the granola so that the darker pieces are moved to the bottom and some of the less-baked pieces are exposed.  Return to the oven for another 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool (it will get crispier as it cools).

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever tried banana and tahini?  What is your favourite kind of granola?

Craving Conquered

So we’re back after a beautiful long weekend, and it seems like Mother Nature is playing some kind of cruel April Fool’s day joke on us with this crazy weather.  Yesterday it went from sunny blue skies to blizzarding, back to sun and then blizzarding again within a span of about 15 minutes, and it did that all day long!  And today she’s pretending it’s January again and hitting us with -12C temperatures.  Apparently Mother Nature thought it would be fun to extend April fool’s day.  Not cool.

But regardless of the weather, it was such a lovely weekend full of sunny skies, family, and of course chocolate!  And as we mentioned the other day, ours was also filled with carrot cake!  But if you never got to have any carrot cake, or you’ve polished off the entire thing already (ours was gone in 2 and a half days!) and you’re carrot cake craving is still raging like yesterday’s weather, do not fret- we are here for you 🙂

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With another pancake in a jar, of course!

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Ok ok, we know what you’re thinking- another pancake in a jar?  Seriously?

Yes, we are serious.  We have a major back-log of these things, so if you really hate pancake-in-a-jars, we apologize (but not actually :P)

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When we posted the recipe for our apple pie version, we asked you to offer up any other flavour suggestions that you’d like to see us make.  Jan at Sprouts n Squats suggested a carrot cake flavour. Well great minds must think alike, because this was one combo that we have had in a our recipe book for quite some time, and since Jan suggested it, we knew we had to share it with all of you pronto!  So really, you should probably thank her for this one 🙂

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We have to say that this might be one of our all-time favourites. Ok, so we say that almost every time, but this one really takes the cake! (no pun intended :))

But before you go and make this, we want to warn you:

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If your pancake comes out looking like this, don’t be alarmed!  Just cut off some of the top and eat it as a little appetizer while you assemble your toppings 🙂

Seriously, if this doesn’t crush your carrot-cake craving, we don’t know what will!

Carrot Cake Pancake in a Jar

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 c. whole wheat flour
2 tbsp coconut flour (optional)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp shredded coconut
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp walnuts
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 tbsp coconut butter (or almond or walnut butter)
1/4 c. pineapple juice
3/4 c. milk of choice (if not using coconut flour, reduce to 1/2 c.)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Diced pineapple
raisins

For the Pineapple Syrup:

2 tbsp pineapple juice
1 tbsp honey

Directions:

In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  Whisk together with a wire whisk to remove any clumps.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until fully combined.

Fill two medium-sized jars 1/4 of the way with diced pineapple and raisins.  Divide the batter in half and spoon into the jars on top of the pineapple.  Cook in the microwave for 5 minutes, or until the pancake is firm (yet still springy) to the touch. Top with syrup, extra raisins, walnuts, and a dollop of yogurt if desired.

For the syrup:

In a small ramekin, stir together the pineapple juice and honey.  Pour over top of pancake.

~twosaucysisters

Do you have a certain breakfast that you make over and over again?  What are some of your favourite ways to re-make it each time?

Easter Cake

Happy Easter everyone!

Regardless of whether or not you celebrate Easter, we wish you a happy day and long weekend anyways. 🙂

Now, for most people, Easter is synonymous with chocolate. Don’t take this the wrong way: it definitely is for us, too! A holiday that encourages excessive chocolate consumption? We are so there, 100%!

But there’s something else that comes to mind when we think of Easter: Carrot Cake, of course!

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No Easter would be quite the same in our house without carrot cake.

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In fact, if we had to make a decision as to what would qualify as our top 3 favourite cakes (a horrible decision to have to make, we know!), carrot cake would definitely make the cut. We’ve looked forward to our mother making carrot cake every year since we were little!

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This year, we decided to take the reigns and add a little Two Saucy Sister flair to it! 😉

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Of course, that means we’ve made it healthy. But who really cares if it’s healthy, as long as it tastes delicious, right? And we guarantee you – this is delicious!

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So this Easter, make sure you eat lots and lots of chocolate – but make sure you save some room for carrot cake. 😉

Carrot Bundt Cake

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Prep time: 15min
Bake time: 45-50min + 20min
Makes: 1 bundt pan, ~16slices

Ingredients:

2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. white flour
1/4 c. white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/3 c. unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. plain, low-fat yogurt
1/4 c. milk of choice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. grated carrot
1 c. diced pineapple (optional)
1/2 c. walnut pieces (optional)
1/2 c. raisins (optional)

For the Icing:

1/2 c. 1% cottage cheese
1/2 c. low-fat cream cheese
1/4 c. honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp butter extract (optional)

For the carrot topping:

1/2 c. grated carrots
3 tsp honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375F.
In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In a medium sized bowl, combine the eggs, oil, honey, yogurt, milk, vanilla and carrots. Pour the wet into the dry and mix just until moistened. Now add the pineapple, walnuts and raisins, if using.
Pour into a greased bundt pan and bake for 45-50 min, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 10min then invert it onto a wire wrack and allow to cool.

For the Icing:

Blend the cottage cheese until smooth. In a medium bowl, cream the honey and cream cheese together. Stir in the cottage cheese, vanilla and butter extract (if using), mix until smooth. Pour over top of cake once cooled.

For the Carrot topping:

Turn the oven up to 400F. (after removing the cake).
Place grated carrot on a paper towel and squeeze out excess moisture.
Toss with honey and cinnamon and spread out onto a baking sheet.
Bake for 15-20min. or until some of the carrots are crispy. Allow to cool, they will become a little crispier as they cool.
Once cooled, sprinkle over the top of your cake.

~twosaucysisters

What’s your favourite kind of cake? Do you have any special Easter traditions? As we mentioned in yesterday’s post, our family started a new Easter tradition last year of a soup and sandwich potluck last year instead of the traditional Easter feast. So easy and so delicious!

Apple Pie

Today we have another case of “we found a new recipe, so let’s make one in every flavour combination possible”.  You might remember us explaining this in another post not too long ago.  Today, though, we are not talking about french toast.  Today we are talking about one of our all-time favourite breakfasts that we make at least once a week, and yet for some reason have failed to share it with you all! (Shame on us…:P)

The recipe we are referring to is a pancake in a jar!  After the original peanut butter and banana version, we were pretty much hooked.  We’ve been making every variation of this recipe that you can possibly think of, including, of course, our eggnog rendition.  But that is only the tip of the iceberg!  So in an effort to bring you up-to-date with our slight obsession, we bring one of our favourite versions:

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Apple Pie!  Consisting of soft, sweet cooked apples, plump and juicy raisins, crunchy walnuts, and of course a fluffy “pancake” laced with ribbons of apple butter, this is an apple-pie lovers dream come true!

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Of course, this also has plenty of cinnamon, too, but that goes without saying, doesn’t it?

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So here’s the thing, if you love (or even just like) apple pie, love pancakes, and love breakfasts that can be done in the microwave in under 5 minutes, then you should probably go make this.  It will change the way you look at mason jars, and probably have you dreaming up a million other flavours you could make.  But if you’re short on ideas, don’t fear, because we’ve got a whole bunch more combos comin’ your way! 🙂

Apple Pie Pancake in a Jar

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Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 5 min
Serves: 2

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 tbsp almond butter
2/3 c. milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c. apple butter
1 large apple, diced
1/4 c. raisins

Directions:

In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  Add the almond butter, milk, and vanilla extract to the bowl and stir until everything is just combined.  Add the apple butter to the batter, and gently stir, just to swirl the apple butter in, but not to stir it in completely- you want ribbons of apple butter!

Dice up the apple into small pieces.  Mix the apples and the raisins together and divide evenly into the bottom of two medium-sized mason jars.  Divide the batter in half and spoon into the jars on top of the apple and raisin mixture.  Place in the microwave and cook on high for 4-5 minutes, or until the dough is firm to the touch.  Top with additional almond butter, yogurt, cinnamon, raisins, walnuts, ect. and enjoy!

~twosaucysisters

Do you like apple pie?  What flavour of pancake-in-a-jar would you like to see us make?

Study Breaks

As I type this post, I’m listening to Christmas music! I know, I know, It’s exams Julie, you should be studying! But you see, I am a firm believer in taking breaks and relaxing a little during exam time. I’m not one of those people who can sit down for six (or more!) hours straight and study. I max out at two hours, and then my brain starts to get all fuzzy and I can’t absorb anything. This exam period I have two types of study breaks: Running ones and blog related ones. I obviously adore my running breaks, for the getting to see my friends part just as much as the actual run itself! I also love my blogging breaks, as they result in something like this:

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Cranberry, Pear, Lentil and Millet Stuffed Squash!

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Or as I like to call it – Squash stuffed with Christmas! Seriously, I have fallen in love with cranberries! They are tangy, ever-so-slightly sweet and bursting with flavour. To me, they are one of those flavours that sort of embody Christmas. Like eggnog, peppermint and clementines, they have a way of getting me in the spirit!

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Delicious! Unfortunately, I have procrastinated long enough – back to studying!

Cranberry, Pear, Lentil and Millet Stuffed Squash

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Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 acorn or peppercorn squash
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup
dash salt
pinch pepper

1/2 c. red lentils
1/2 c. millet
3 c. water

3 c. kale
1/2 c. cranberries
1 pear
1/4 c. onion
1 clove garlic
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
dash salt
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/3 c. walnuts

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375F.  Cut your squash in half, drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place the squash cut-side down on a tray lined with aluminum foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the squash is soft.

Place the red lentils, millet, and water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 25 minutes, or until the lentil an millet is cooked and most of the water is soaked up.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat a drop of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the diced onion, pear, and cranberries and cook until the onion is translucent and the cranberries begin to split.  Add the garlic and kale and saute for another few minutes until the kale begins to wilt.  Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and dash of salt and cook for another couple minutes.

When the lentils and millet are finished cooking, add them to the pan with the cranberries, onions and kale and stir to combine.  Stir in the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup, and cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is heated through and and the liquid is evaporated.

Place the walnuts on an oven-safe plate and place in the oven for the last 10 minutes of cook-time with the squash, watching carefully so they don’t burn.

When the squash are done, remove them from the oven and flip over.  (be careful- they’ll be hot!)  Fill each half with as much filling as you can fit.  (you’ll have leftover filling, but don’t worry- it makes for great leftovers on top of salad!)

Sprinkle with toasted walnuts and an extra drizzle of maple syrup, if desired.

~Julie@twosaucysisters

What do you do when you take study/work “breaks”?  What kinds of foods get you into the Christmas spirit?

Muffin Mayhem

Remember the other day when we said that we don’t like to just hide all of our zucchini away in baked goods?  Well, we’d like to retract that statement (sort of).  You see, we finally gave in.

Yes, we made zucchini muffins.

Now we don’t want you to get the wrong idea here.  We LOVE zucchini bread, muffins, and cake, its just that when we have fresh-from-the-garden zucchini, we don’t want to just use it all in baked goods.  We want to give it a chance to shine.  We want to be able to really taste how fresh and delicious it is.  But when you have 10 pounds of zucchini sitting on the counter, sometimes you just have no other choice.  We couldn’t very well serve zucchini noodles to our family every night of the week!

We think these muffins were a pretty good compromise, though 🙂

It was pretty obvious that our family loved them, too, because these babies were gone in a day and a half!  As a matter-of-fact, they were such a big hit that we made them again, but doubled the recipe!  Our family really likes muffins.

And these ones are literally packed with zucchini!  We figured it out that there is approximately 1/4 c. of zucchini in each muffin!

Muffins are really, really easy to make healthier, too.  In fact, the first thing we ever baked on our own were muffins, so I guess you can say they’re where we got our start 🙂  First of all, subbing part or all of the flour for whole wheat is an easy substitution to make, and instantly increases the nutritional value of your muffins.  The other big thing is sugar.  In our experience, most muffin recipes call for at least double the amount of sugar than they really need.  We also tend to replace a lot of oil and/or butter with apple juice or apple sauce, because we have found that muffins with too much oil just get very heavy and greasy.  Substituting with those ingredients also adds some sweetness to the muffin, so it allows you to cut back on the sugar even more.

The first time we made these muffins, we put in half a cup of sugar, but when we made them the second time, we only put in a third cup of sugar and you can’t even taste the difference!

We also used multigrain flour for added texture, which is why you’re seeing little white specks in the photos.

Just check out that texture!

After the first batch, our brother oh-so-casually mentioned how he thought putting apple in zucchini muffins would be delicious, so of course we took the hint, and added diced apple the second time around.  And he was totally right 🙂

These are classic zucchini muffins, made much healthier.  And you know, classics are classics for a reason, right?  So if you also have zucchini coming out the ying-yang, you should definitely give these muffins a try!  We promise you won’t be disappointed!

Multigrain Zucchini Muffins

Prep time: 10-15min

Bake time: 20-25min

Makes: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

2 c. multigrain (or whole wheat) flour

1 c. unbleached white flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp cinnamon

2 tsp nutmeg

3 c. grated zucchini

2/3 c. liquid – 1/2 c. apple juice, then fill to the 2/3c. line with oil

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/3-1/2 c. white sugar*

1 tbsp date paste

1/2 c. each walnuts and raisins

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Combine all wet ingredients in a separate bowl and mix thoroughly. Add wet to dry, and add raisins and walnuts. Stir to just combine.

Spoon batter evenly into 12 greased muffin tins, and bake for 20-25min until done.

*Depending on if you like a sweeter muffin, we’ve done both and they were both fabulous!

-twosaucysisters

What’s your favourite kind of muffin?

What was the first thing you ever cooked or baked on your own?