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Recipe: Chocolate peanut butter oat stacks

When I was a kid, my mom and I would make cookies together. I would ask for cookies and before I knew it, there would be delicious smells wafting from the oven and I’d be licking out the bowl, usually with my fingers or directly with my tongue, but never with a spoon. My mom always made baking seem so effortless, never done with a recipe, just created. That’s how it seemed at the time.

Now as an adult, baking is definitely not one of my strengths. I have to study the recipe, measure things carefully, and still usually end of burning the final product.

So what’s a girl to do when she has a sudden attack of chocolate cravings and there’s not a chocolate bar in sight? Well, just for you, I created possibly the world’s easiest and fastest, no-bake chocolately cookie recipe specifically for these desperate times.

Chocolate peanut butter oat stacks (or, Quick ‘n easy chocolate fix cookies)

(makes about 12)

  • 1 c. chocolate chips*
  • 1 c. peanut butter
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 c. rolled oats

Melt the first four ingredients together in the microwave on in a pot on the stove. Resist the urge to eat this with a spoon (ok, try one bite). Add the oats and mix. Allow to cool in the fridge for 10-15 minutes, then place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet by the spoonful and put back in the fridge until set.

Voila! Chocolate craving satisfied.

(*If this is still too much, yes, you could just eat the chocolate chips by the handful, but seriously, have some self-control!)

Recipe: Slow cooker enchiladas

When I first met my now husband, I had an addiction. To nachos. My friends can attest that I ate them for dinner or lunch at least five days a week. And when I wasn’t eating nachos, I was eating burritos. Or tacos. Mexican food has been a long-time favorite food of mine (luckily for my husband – and my waistline – my tastes and skills in the kitchen have evolved a bit from the “bachelor” type food I used to constantly consume).

Now, the usual nachos or tacos do get a little boring on occasion, so I found the basis for an enchilada recipe and adapted it for the slow cooker, and added a bunch of delicious ingredients to make it a full, well-rounded meal.

Slow cooker enchiladas

Bean, cheese and spinach mixture.

Mix together the following ingredients (and besides these, you’ll need tortillas and salsa):

  • 1 regular can of mixed or black beans, slightly mashed
  • 1/2 cup spinach (I use the frozen kind, thawed and wrung out to remove excess moisture)
  • 1 c. corn (frozen or canned)
  • 1 c. cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 c. white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • a handful of cilantro, optional
  • red pepper flakes (amount depending on how much heat you want)

    Place the mixture in a tortilla.

Cover the bottom of your slow cooker with salsa. Wrap several tbsp. of this mixture in the tortillas and place in the slow cooker, seam down. The amount you can fit depends on the size of your pot, and keep in mind you can only have one layer, or they will get soggy and fall apart (enchilada stew?!).

Place the rolled tortillas in the slow cooker

Cover with more cheese and salsa and fill in the gaps with the remaining mixture. Cook on low for 3-3.5 hours.

Cover with extra cheese, salsa and bean mixture.

Tip!  Serve with tortilla chips to clean up the extra mix that might fall out or that is left in the pot. Extra tip: serve with delicious lime margaritas for a true Mexican evening. You could even break out a piñata for a really good time.

Serve with chips and margaritas!

Recipe: Fish po’ boys two ways

I’ve never been to Louisiana, although I’d love to see New Orleans one day. I’m also not offering free sandwiches to random folks anytime soon. So am I allowed to have a po’ boy recipe? Luckily for you, I’m not really looking for permission.

I love fish. I love tomatoes. And I love love LOVE sandwiches (yes, even the odd PB&J here and there). So a fish sandwich seems a natural choice for me. Throw in a little homemade tartar sauce (recipe also below!) and you have a delicious lunch or supper, with a couple different options. Read on.

Fish po’ boys

The fish – two ways:

I’ve tried this recipe with both tilapia and mahi mahi – both are delicious. Mahi mahi is a bit more flavourful, but harder to find up north here. Tilapia is readily available at the grocery story or the local fish shop. Any other white fish would work as well.

Option 1 – pan-fried fish

1. Pan-fried

  • Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a pan.
  • Fry your fish on medium heat, sprinkling with ground sea salt and pepper.
  • They’re done when they’re opaque and flake easily. That’s it.

2. Beer battered & baked

  • Mix your batter: 1/2 c to 1 c flour (depending on amt of filets you’re cooking); 1 tbsp cornstarch; salt and pepper; juice of half of a lemon; 1 tsp. cumin; 1/2 can to a full can of beer (light or dark, your choice).
  • Add the beer slowly, whisking constantly to avoid any clumps. Add beer until you get a paste-like consistency (thick, but easy to dip delicate fish into).
  • Dredge the fish in a little bit of flour and then dip the filets into the batter.
  • Bake on a well-greased cookie sheet at 375F for about 25 minutes, until opaque and easy to flake. (Of course you can fry them in oil too, but baking is much healthier and less messy!)

Tartar sauce:

The fish po’ boy wrap

  • 3 tbsp. light mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. red onion, finely chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp. garlic salt
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • A dash of hot sauce (e.g. Frank’s red hot), if you like a bit of heat
  • Mix and voila!

Making the sandwich or wrap

More options! The traditional way to serve po’ boys is on a french loaf, but I’ve also prepared it on a wrap. Spread the bread (or wrap) with tartar sauce (not traditional, but yummier than plain mayo, in my opinion), add lettuce, tomato slices and the fish. I’ve also used chopped tomatoes, sauteed with olive oil, salt and pepper, and a dash of sherry, for a bit more warmth and flavour as well (pictured below).

The fish po’ boy on a french loaf.

Recipe: Breakfast nests

It’s the weekend! Weekends are: sleeping in; watching movies in bed; taking back road drives for no reason but to get away; visiting the local farmer’s market; catching up with friends; sitting in the back yard with a beer (or two) and a good book and not worrying about later; having family dinners; taking the dog for a walk to some local trails; making planned leftovers for the week; and even though it may not sound like it, relaxing.

In celebration, I’m going to share a cute little recipe that’s perfect to make for a lovely weekend brunch.

Breakfast nests


Potato nests.

  • 4 potatoes, grated (not peeled)
  • 1.5 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • 6-8 eggs
  • 6-8 slices of bacon
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp. Vegetable oil
  • Fresh parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (optional)


  • Squeeze the grated potatoes with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Mix them with 1 cup of cheese, salt and pepper, oil and garlic.
  • Place a couple tablespoons or so of the mixture in a greased muffin tin, making nests. Cook in the oven 350F for about 15-20 minutes until slightly browned and crispy looking.

    Egg ’em and cook ’em!

  • Meanwhile, fry the bacon until about 2/3 done (almost crispy). You want it warm and uncooked enough to be able to bend it without it breaking.
  • When the nests are ready, wrap a piece of bacon around the perimeter of each. Then, break an egg into each, careful not to break the yolk.
  • Top with the rest of the grated cheese and a small piece of parsley. Cook at 350F for 15 minutes.
  • Gently remove each nest with a knife. Enjoy!

Of course, these are great to eat right away. I have also frozen some for quick breakfasts during the week, and they work well reheated in the microwave for about 45 seconds, or heated in the microwave oven for 20 minutes (from frozen).

Breakfast nests – quick, easy, delicious and great for groups!

Recipe: Pulled pork goodness

Is it just me or is pulled pork everywhere these days? And it came on quite suddenly. Someone somewhere said, “let’s make pulled pork a thing,” and so it was. But have you ever tasted the perfect pulled pork?

A good pulled pork sandwich should specifically be a few things:

  • Enormous! You should need to really stretch those jaw muscles to get your mouth wrapped around it.
  • Juicy. It should be oozing juicy, bbq saucy pork goodness over your fingers and down your arm from the very first bite.
  • BBQ-y. Even if it’s not on cooked on the bbq, it should taste like it is.
  • Southern. I’m from the Canadian north, have never been to the southern states where they make what I’m sure is delicious southern food, and don’t profess to know what that tastes like. But I’m fairly certain pulled pork should taste like it.

After some research and some kitchen testing, I created what I think is a pretty damn good pulled pork recipe. And with only a little hesitation, I’ve decided to share it with you. Lucky you.

Pulled Pork Goodness

A selection of the ingredients required for perfect pulled pork.

Combine in your slow cooker (measurements depend on the size of your crock pot):

  • 1 large pork butt (it’s the shoulder, but it’s called a butt. Don’t ask me.) Poke a dozen or so cloves into the meat first.
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped in large pieces
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. coriander, ground with your mortar & pestle
  • 1 tbsp. fennel
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • A few dashes of liquid smoke (3-4 tbsp. or so. Excuse me, I’m not much one for measuring).
  • Several dashes of worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 bay leaves
  • Red pepper flakes, if you like it spicy
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2-4 oz. whiskey or bourbon
  • Fill to a couple inches from the top with water

This is what it’ll look like when it’s ready to start slow cooking.

Slow cook on low for 10 hours. (I usually do this overnight, but be prepared for insane dreams, brought on by the permeating smell of pork wafting down the hall, into your room, onto the bed and into your nostrils. You will also continually wake up incredibly thirsty, likely due to the dreamy meat-sweats. Also note that I once cooked it for only 8 hours and the meat did not fall off the bones like it should at the end, so 10 is highly recommended.)

Remove meat to a large cutting board (juice will spill over the edges, so be prepared) and strain the remaining juice from the crock pot into a bowl. Discard what’s in the strainer and any bone or fatty bits you don’t want. Let cool for an hour or so.

Delicious, delicious pulled pork goodness.

Pull the pork. This is the most time consuming part. I usually put my laptop on the table and watch a movie while I’m doing this. I’m a tad picky though and all the fatty bits go into a discard bowl. It’s quite simple to scrape the fat off with a butter knife and the rest of the fleshy meat bits can be ripped apart with your fingers and put back into the slow cooker.

Once done pulling it all apart and it’s back in the pot, add a couple cups of the left over juice and as much bbq sauce as you want (1/2 to a full bottle). Mix it up and set the slow cooker to high for another 1-2 hours. Feel free to test for quality control at this point. Then try to stop.

That’s it! I usually serve with giant buns, chopped up cabbage, mayonnaise and cheese and then chow down.

Pulled pork carnitas.

As this makes a lot(!), I usually make pulled pork carnitas for dinner the next night. These are small tacos and go something like this:

  • Take a small round soft tortilla shell and heat it in the microwave for 15 seconds.
  • Add cabbage, a heap of pulled pork, avocado, homemade salsa (recipe to follow in coming days) and cilantro. Other toppings could include black beans or corn. Either way – delicious!

Enjoy! If you try this at home, please do let me know what you think!