Thursday, November 25, 2010

chocolate cake with nutella whip icing: happy birthday mom!

Today is my mom's birthday! My mother is known for her wonderful cakes and she is kind enough to make them for all of our birthdays. I felt that she definitely deserved to have someone make a cake for her, so Q and I took on the task.  I couldn't decide what to make but Q said chocolate so chocolate it was!  The recipe I used was Kraft's Best Ever Chocolate Cake. I wanted a lighter icing though and thought what could be better than chocolately nutella and airy whipping cream.  We tried it out and the combination was delicious!  Along with the cream, I added a layer of nutella between the two layers as well.  Sprinkled with some grated chocolate chocolate, it was the perfect way to celebrate a classy lady.  Happy Birthday Mom!  Love you!

Kraft's Best Ever Chocolate Cake
From Kraft Foods

2/3 cup butter, softened
1-3/4 cups each flour and granulated sugar
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. Magic Baking Powder
1-1/4 cups water
4 squares Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate, melted, cooled
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs

Heat oven to 350ºF.

Grease and flour 2 (9-inch) round pans. Beat all cake ingredients except eggs in large bowl with mixer 2 min. or until well blended. Add eggs; beat 2 min. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake 35 to 40 min. or until toothpick inserted in centres comes out clean. Cool 10 min.; remove to wire racks. Cool completely.

Nutella Whip Icing

2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup nutella

Whip the cream until doubled in volume but right before soft peaks are formed.  Heat the nutella and gently fold into the cream and beat until completely whipped.  Refrigerate until ready for the cake.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

kayne's restaurant

This weekend we had the opportunity to go to the opening of Kayne's Restaurant in Calgary.  Kayne's is a venture by Lux Restaurant Group and features a menu that was developed with Chef Michael Noble.  Located on 17th Avenue, this modern-looking pub boasts a lounge area with a wall of flat screen tvs.

There were so many great things on the menu, it was hard to decide exactly what we wanted to try.  We decided to make a meal of appetizers and they were delicious!

We started with the Bison Pops.  These are indian-spiced bison meatballs served with a garlicky tzatziki.  These skewers were exploding with flavour, we had to resist the urge to order some more.

Being the cheese lovers that we are, we just had to try out the Crispy Brie.  The brie was lightly breaded with panko and the warm cheese just oozed out with every bite.  This was served with a sweet cranberry sauce and was fantastic!

We also tried out the Seafood and Chicken Purses.  These were fried wontons stuffed with a shrimp and chicken mixture.  Another great appetizer.

One thing that stood out in all the dishes was the amount of flavour! Great food and great service - we will definitely be back to try out the rest of the menu.

Kaynes on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 18, 2010

rosemary spiced nuts

In a recent episode of Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate", snacks craved by food personalities were featured.  Giada's favorite snack were the bar nuts at Union Square Cafe in New York.  The hot nuts featured on the show looked so delicious, I started searching for the recipe.  Luckily, Nigella Lawson featured the nuts in her show Nigella Bites a couple of years ago, and the recipe was easily accessible.  Instead of using a mix of nuts, I used one of my faves, almonds.  The scent of these nuts mixed with the rosemary and spices filled the house and we couldn't wait for them to be cooled before devouring them.  This delicious snack appeals to all as it satisfies any craving - salty, sweet, spicy, savoury.  My only advice is that you make lots!

Union Square Cafe's Bar Nuts

2 1/4 cups nuts
2 TB coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp sea salt
1 TB butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss the nuts in a large bowl to combine and spread them out on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until light golden brown, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, sugar, salt and melted butter.

Thoroughly toss the toasted nuts in the spiced butter and serve warm.

Monday, November 15, 2010

mint chocolate chip ice cream

A couple weeks ago, we went to sin city and had a fabulous few days there.  It was a nice break and we enjoyed some quality family time.  On our last day there, we stopped for some mint chocolate chip ice cream. It was the worst mint ice cream I have ever had!  When we got home, I was happy to find some cream in the fridge and found my easy recipe for one of our favorite flavours. 

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
1 cup milk
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups cream
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 tsp mint extract
3 drops green food coloring
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Dissolve the sugar in the milk.  Add the rest of the ingredients (except the chocolate chips) and chill the mixture for an hour.  Follow the directions of your ice cream maker.  Add the chocolate chips in the last ten minutes.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

shrimp cakes

Shrimp is a staple in our home.  It thaws easily and cooks quickly, it's the perfect thing to pull out and make a quick meal with.  We had family bringing dinner over (lucky us!) but I still wanted to make an appetizer.  My fridge was stocked with peppers and onions and I thought this would be the perfect quick snack to make.  Hubby loved them and even raved about them to our massage therapist - always a good sign.  Can be served with roasted red pepper dip or garlic aioli.

Shrimp Cakes
Makes 12
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 green onions, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 egg
1 TB dijon mustard

In a food processor, coarsely chop the raw shrimp.  Transfer to a bowl and add the veggies, egg, mustard, salt and pepper.  Add breadcrumbs, a little at a time, until the mixture can be formed into patties.  Refrigerate the patties for about 5 to 10 minutes.  Pan fry the shrimp cakes until shrimp is cooked and each cake has a nice brown crust.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Q turns 2!

This past weekend, my little man turned 2!  Seems like just yesterday he was born.  We celebrated with a few friends and family with a Sesame Street themed music party. 

I think I shocked the people who knew me by not making a single thing! Well, I did make chocolate chip cookies for the kids to take home with a crazy straw for milk but besides that, nothing! 

We ordered pizza from down the street and snacked on veggies and chips and assorted flavours of crackers from the goldfish bar. 
My mom, who makes the most delicious cakes, baked Q's cake and we got the local bakery to decorate it with the Sesame Street theme. 

My sister-in-law led the kids in song so they were able to play with their tamborines, xylophones and maracas which they were able to take home with them.  All in all, it was a fun day!

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