Tuesday, March 29, 2011

food mamma is one! chocolate layered birthday cake

Food Mamma is ONE!  Wow, a whole year has gone by since my first post.  As much as I loved the idea of a food blog, I wondered if I would be able to maintain it, and come up with different things to make and post about.  Turns out, content wasn't an issue. Finding time to post the content, well that's another story.

I am inspired daily by all the wonderful blogs that I read.  They influence this blog and make me want to inspire others.  Thanks to everyone for stopping by and for your comments. 

I thought it would be fitting today to post the amazing cake my mom made for my birthday this year.  Q requested chocolate so mom happily obliged.  Four layers of chocolately goodness separated by a mocha whipped cream icing.  The rich cake with the light icing made it a perfect pairing. Delicious!

Four Layered Chocolate Cake
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate squares
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup margarine
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
2/3 cup milk

Mix the first three ingredients and keep aside.

Mix the dry ingredients and keep aside.

Beat the butter, margarine, sugar, vanilla, eggs and milk.  Add the dry ingredients and mix well.  Add the chocolate mixture to this and mix again.  Pour batter into 2 round cake pans and bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.  Once the cakes have cooled, cut each layer in half so that you have four layers.  Frost all layers with the icing.

3 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
pinch salt
2 tsp instant coffee
Beat all the ingredients together until the whipping cream comes together.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

stop toast brutality

Today is National Toast Day.  For every person who goes onto: http://www.facebook.com/gayleafoods on March 23rd and signs the petition to “Stop Toast Brutality” Gay Lea will donate a tub of Spreadables butter to the Calgary Inter-Faith Food Bank.

“Hunger is an issue affecting many people across Canada. National Toast Day sets the stage for Gay Lea and the community to come together and help Canadians in a fun and interactive way,” says Carol Johnston, director of marketing at Gay Lea Foods.

Click here to sign the petition.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing: happy birthday dad!

Today is my dad's birthday.  There are many words to describe this amazing man - wonderful, giving, selfless, loving.

When Q turned one and I went back to work, I was lucky to have my dad take care of my son.  While many had to worry about who was taking care of their children, I had reassurance that Q was in good hands.  Not many grandfathers would take on the task of looking after a toddler, let alone changing diapers!  Even now that I am home trying to start up a business, my dad takes care of Q for a few hours a day.  I am so grateful to my dad, I don't know what I would do without him. His day definitely needs to be celebrated.

Since we had lots of chocolate cake on the weekend, I called my aunt for her amazing carrot cake recipe.  This was a really easy cake to make, with everything blended in a food processor.  Nuts are optional but I chose to add walnuts which added the perfect crunch to the moist cakes.

Carrot Cake

2 cups carrots, grated
1 cup oil
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1.5 cups flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Grate the carrots in a food processor.  Add oil and eggs and blitz until combined.  Add sugar and blitz again.  Add the dry ingredients and blitz until combined.  Gently stir in the nuts.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 block cream cheese
1 stick butter
3/4 cup icing sugar

Beat until combined.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Navroz Mubarak (Happy New Year)!

March 21st marks the Persian New Year, Navroz (Nowruz). It is a festival celebrated in many Muslim communities and cultures.  Dried fruits, nuts and grains are distributed symbolising blessings of abundance and sustainance.*

We wish everyone a very happy New Year filled with peace, happiness and lots of love.


* Wheat - strength, Sweet - happiness,love and affection, dried fruit - long life, raising - good health, nuts - intelligence, mint - curing disease, cloves - pleasure of life.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

chocolate pot de creme with nutella whip

I love March.  It's a month of many birthdays.  My dad's, my father-in-laws, nieces, nephews, friends ...and mine.  As much as I hate getting older, I do take the time to celebrate my big day.  Actually, I celebrate the week!  I have a whole lot of pampering lined up - massage, facial, mani, pedi, hair - it's going to be a great week. 

March for me is about indulgence.  We had friends over recently and indulged in this chocolate cream pot.  A creamy chocolate pudding with nutella whipping cream.  It's so easy to make.  The hard part is letting it refrigerate for a few hours.  Definitely worth the wait.

Chocolate Pots de Creme with Nutella Whip
Adapted from Claire Robinson's 5 Ingredient Fix

4 oz chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks

1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp sugar
1 TB nutella
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Put the chocolate into a heat-proof bowl.  Heat the cream and sugar in a saucepan over low heat.  Whisk until sugar is dissolved.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Put the yolks in a small bowl; while whisking, add a small amount of the warm chocolate mixture to temper the yolks.  Whisk the yolk mixture into the chocolate until well combined.  Pour into a large baking dish and place it into a high-sided baking dish.  You can use 4 ramekins instead of one large dish if you prefer.  Fill the pan with boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the chocolate-filled bowl and transfer to the oven.  Bake until the custard is set but slightly jiggly, about 45 minutes.  When the custard is at room temperature, refrigerate for a few hours.

Whip the remaining cream with the sugar until firm peak form.  Add the nutella and whip for a bit more.  Serve the cooled custard topped with the whip.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

ruth's chris steakhouse

To celebrate Valentine's Day, hubby and I chose to have dinner at Ruth's Chris.  We had been to one Ruth's Chris in Vegas a couple of years ago but we hadn't tried the Calgary location.  We had heard such a range of reviews, we just had to check it out for ourselves.

For Valentine's Day, Ruth's Chris was offering up their date night menu - an appetizer to share, an entree each, a dessert to share and wine for $99.  It was a good thing we had reservations because the place was busy!  The restaurant, located in the Tower Centre, was on the 2nd floor and had a good view of downtown. Ruth's Chris provided parking in the Tower Centre.

To start, we settled on the mushrooms stuffed with crabmeat.  There were four mushrooms and the crab stuffing was pretty good.  We were also served garlic bread and cheese bread, both of which were delicious and we had inhaled them long before our steaks arrived.

For our mains, I ordered the 8 oz petit filet and hubby ordered the 12 oz new york strip.  The steaks came sizzling to the table in butter, how could that not be good! The petit filet was perfect if you were looking for meat that was soft and melted in your mouth.  For flavour, the new york strip was the way to go.  By ordering one of each, we had the best of both worlds.

We were able to order two sides to go along with our meals.  We ordered the sauteed mushrooms and the mashed potatoes.  Unfortunately, the sides were bland and disappointing.  The mushrooms tasted like they were straight from a can.

To finish off our meal, we chose the creme brulee.  Creme brulee is one of those desserts that we order every chance we get.  This was one of the best brulees we have had!  The sugar topping was light and delicate and the custard was creamy.

All in all, we enjoyed our meal.  Except for the sides, the food was good.  The service, which is a huge factor for me, was really good.  Our waiter was very attentive and even the manager came to every table to ensure that everything was going well.  We will definitely go back for the steak!

Ruth's Chris Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 4, 2011

seared scallops and prawns with scrambled eggs

It's been a long week and as tempting as it was to grab take out, I had to resist.  We had a busy weekend ahead and I knew we would be eating out.  I decided it was time to start cleaning out my freezer.  With a wedding in the family coming up in the summer, I had a feeling we would need some space in there.  I was happy to find some scallops and jumbo prawns but couldn't think of any side to make with it.  We had finished most of our produce and rice just didn't appeal to me.  Rummaging through the fridge, I did notice that we had an abundance of eggs and spinach....scrambled eggs, why not? 

After making the seafood, I felt that it really needed some kind of sauce.  The lemon butter sauce I threw together with garlic was just the right flavours needed to top off the scallops and prawns.

The combination was perfect!  Comfort and decadence on one plate.

Seared Scallops and Prawns

6 sea scallops
6 jumbo prawns
olive oil

2 TB butter
2 TB lemon juice
1 garlic clove

Pat the seafood dry and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a hot pan and sear until cooked.  Once seafood has been removed from the pan, add the butter, lemon juice and garlic.  Pour sauce over seafood and enjoy.
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