Thursday, August 24, 2006

Lemony Cumin Salmon

Wow... it seems like it's been forever since I last blogged on here. I just spent the last week in OAHU and it was amazing (more details about the trip to come). I forgot that I was trying to catch up and finish all my blogging before I start university... oh man it seems like the summer only just began and I had finished High School for good. No more teachers or stuck up snobs... now moving onto professeurs and the artsy farsty intellectuals.

I forgot to blog this a while back. I actually cooked up this recipe 1 week before I left for Hawaii. Anyways here goes:

Lemony Cumin Salmon

1 Whole Fresh Salmon
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp plain yogurt (I used sour cream)
2 tsp mustard seeds
Pinch of cayenne
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill (more or less to taste)
1/4 large onion, diced
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Scale the salmon and remove any unwanted entrails. Split salmon in half down the spine. Place fish on a large foil covered cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, make sure you lay the salmon skin down.

2. Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard seeds, cayenne, cumin, dill, salt and lemon juice in a large bowl. (Can be made several hours in advance, covered and reserved in refrigerator.) Just before spreading mixture onto fish add the diced onion.

3. Spread the mayonnaise mixture onto the pink flesh of the salmon, making sure to cover all the fish evenly.

4. Bake fish for 40 minutes or until flesh is flaky and tender.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Lovely Pumpkin Bars

... As I was saying, I had to find a way to finish up the last 8 oz. of pumpkin puré and what better way than by making some lovely spiced pumpkin bars (with a special frosting to go with them. YUMMY!)

This recipe was adapted from the Pillsbury Ultimate Baking Cookbook (I really love that book... maybe I should just go out and buy instead of continually borrowing it from the library. It practically lives in my house anyways). I modified some ingredients and also halved the recipe because I only had 1 cup of pumpkin puré left over (again I am lacking ingredients... how sad). But the recipe turned out well and when halving it, you should use a 12x9x1- inch pan.

Light and Spicy Pumpkin Bars: 1/2 Recipe (Yields 24 bars- Original recipe yields 48)

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup applesauce (original recipe calls for oil)
1/4 cup apple juice
1 cup pure pumpkin
1 egg

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp pumpkin butter (original recip calls for butter/margarine)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 to 1.5 tbsp sour cream (original recipe calls for plain yogurt)

1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour 12x9x1- inch rectangular baking
pan. (Originally 15x10x1- inch)

2. In large bowl, beat all bar ingredients at low speed until moistened. Then continue to beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Spread in greased and floured pan.

3. Bake at 350ºF for 20 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

4. In medium bowl, combine the vanilla, pumpkin butter and sour cream, adding enough powdered sugar to reach the desired spreading
consistency; beat until smooth.

5. Frost cooled bars; sprinkle with nutmeg, if desired. Refrigerate to set frosting. Cut into bars.

Nutrition Per Serving:
Calories 90; Protein 1g; Carbohydrate 15g; Fat 3g; Sodium 60mg.

The bars I made may look a little more moist than a cake but that's only because while I was making the bars I halved all the ingredients except for the apple juice. So they turned out very moist and didn't rise as much as I would have liked. The taste was still great but the texture left much to be desired... it kind of resulted in a kueh-like texture once again. But remember my sister who hates all things kueh? Surprisingly the taste of these bars was so impressive that her distaste for kueh was over-riden... that sure says something.


I know that it's still summer and that Autumn has yet to arrive but I still can't get enough of the wonderful orange vegetable (or is it a fruit... oh well, whatever it is it's delicious and versatile).

After making that big family dinner which consisted of a great pumpkin soup, I still had 16 oz. of pumpkin that needed to be used up. I find that I always either have an excess amount or am lacking the ingredients I need... why can't I ever have just the right amount :( So I decided that that since my jam making skills were proven when I helped the family make cherry jam that I would make my own pumpkin butter. But wary of how this recipe would turn out I decided to half it, just in case no one else in my family shared the same love for pumpkins that I do.

Pumpkin Butter (1/2 recipe) (Yields 1 cup)


1 cup(8 oz.) Pure Pumpkin
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 cup honey
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/16 teaspoon ground cloves


Combine pumpkin, sugar, honey, lemon juice, cinnamon and cloves in medium heavy-duty saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, for 20 to 25 minutes or until thickened. Serve with biscuits, breads and corn muffins. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Nutritional Information (For 1 tablespoon): 30 calories; Total Fat 0g; Cholesterol 0g; Carbs 8g; Sugars 7g; Sodium 0mg; Protein og.

This Pumpkin Butter recipe worked out really well and I had no choice but to try it out right away after making it. Store it for 2 months... yeah right! I think it'll be eaten up by the end of its 2nd week. I spread some on a piece of nutritious 100% whole wheat toast and it transformed into a delicious slice of pumpkin pie tasting toast. Now to use up the last remaining 8 oz. of pumpkin…

Dinner #3

Making my family dinners is becoming much of a tradition for me. The other day, my mother asked me what I was planning to make for my next big meal... I thought to myself, "What! You actually want me to cook for the family again!" I'm glad that she likes my dinners (even though they are all mostly the same style... old fashioned, southern foods.)

This time she wanted me to make the pumpkin soup that I had prepared once before. I was glad that she made a request; at least I now had a dish to base the rest of my meal around. This pumpkin soup recipe can be found at and it really is simple, healthy and delicious. This soup turns out to be more like a chili and with the cumin and salsa added it has a really great kick.

I then decided on a quick and easy chicken recipe from (pictured above) and a recipe for twice-baked potatoes from another one of my favorite recipe websites. I got one of my sisters to give me a hand with this big meal. She enjoyed mashing the potatoes and spooning the filling back into the potato skin shells. With the topping of melted cheese, the potatoes turned out nicely... in fact both dishes turned out really well and my family was all asking for seconds.

I also chose to accompany the meal with a wonderful cornbread recipe that I spotted while on my routine search for interesting recipes from Although the cornbread was good, I still preferred the carrot and herb (cornmeal) biscuits that I had made in my previously prepared dinner.

Low Fat Applesauce Carrot Muffins

I just love muffins, but whenever you buy them from the stores or coffee shops you never know exactly what they put in them. And all of the muffins that I ever see have a whopping caloric value. Have you eaten one of Mcdonald's Blueberry muffins? I use to love them... that was, until I discovered that they contain 500 someodd calories! How can so many calories be packed into such an innocent looking muffin... for that calorie count, I'd rather eat a hamburger.

This is a great recipe for no fat, low calorie muffins. They taste great and you can feel great eating them one or two at a time.

Low Fat Applesauce Carrot Muffins (Yields 8 muffins)

1 1/2 all-purpose flour (I use half all-purpose and half whole wheat)
1 1/2 tablespoons SugarTwin
100 mL egg beaters
1 teaspoon each of baking powder and baking soda
1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon and salt
1 cup grated carrots
2/3 cup applesauce
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Set oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix all ingredients together in order of appearance.
3. Line a muffin tin with cupcake cups.
4. Fill cups two-thirds full with muffin batter.
5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

The recipe is really quite simple and the muffins turn out great, especially without those extra calories.

Steamed Pandan Cupcakes

I know that I'm doing a lot of blogging in one day... but I must make up for lost time and I also have to get all this stuff in before I leave for HAWAII :P

It's been a while since I made something using pandan, and I wasn't quite sure how long you can keep pandan leaves for before they go bad so I decided to use up the last of them and make some steamed pandan cupcakes. I got the recipe from and although geared towards mothers and their growing youngsters I have found many a great recipe on their website. It calls for very few ingredients and no fattening butter/margarine or shortening Hooray!

I couldn't find any self rising flour in the house (well at least not until after I had made the batter for the cakes... and by then it was too late) so I tried to make so by adding some baking powder and baking soda. I do not recommend this. When a recipe calls for self-rising flour you are best off using self-rising flour. Otherwise you will end up with what I got... a cake that's more kueh-like than you would have hoped for. While I was steaming the cakes they looked beautiful, but once the steaming was complete and I lifted the lid... they just collapsed into little green kueh-like lumps :(

They still tasted delicious, but one of my sisters cannot stand kueh (not sure why, maybe it's the texture) so she didn't touch them. My other sister loved them though and it was pretty much just her and I finishing up all of the pandan treats.

Summer Fruits

As mentioned many times before, this year has been a scorcher in terms of ... well what else... heat. I have been literally sweating while writting many of my blogs (but you probably didn't need to know that... oh well.) I just love the summer though; going to the beach, picnicing, vacations, strolling along a lake side, camping... all that fun stuff. And summer is also the best time to eat all those yummy summer fruits (well duh)!

So I decided to make some parfaits that my family could enjoy, at least it would help them cool down in the summer swelter. I used some of the cherries that my family picked from out new found cherry tree, honeydew, grapes, cantaloupe, oranges, pineapples and the ever-loved apple; topping it off with the perfect accompaniment of yogurt and crunchy granola clusters. Simple and delicious... my favorite combination :)

More Hot Dog Adventures

Left with 7 hot dog buns to devour, before the devilish sun and cruel humidity cause all of them to mold, our hero decides that sandwiches must be made!

My sisters, like most young kids, love the creaminess of good old fashioned grilled cheese sandwiches as well as mexican quesadillas. So I decided that since we were out of bread loaves and had no tortillas to play around with that I would grill up some cheesy chicken paninis and use up 3 more hot dog buns!!! hooray!

My dad bought a george foreman grill, and if you don't have one... man you're missing out. It saves so much time and you don't have to be constantly watching your burgers/chicken fillets/veggies or paninis to make sure they don't burn. I love it and everyone should be forced to own one (although it is kind of a pain to clean up). Anyways... to make the paninis, I just set the grill to low (level 1 or 2) sliced some marble cheese, shredded some KFC chicken (oh yeah... did I mention that I work at KFC... hehehe) you can use any type of chicken here. I then layered my cheese and chicken onto the hot dog buns, which I spread with Hellman's mayonnaise and grilled them for around 1 1/2 minutes or until the cheese was goey and melty.

They flattened out really well and my sisters loved them.

My sisters and I also love the novelty of ICE CREAM SANDWICHES... being that it's been a scorching summer and the heat is simply unbearable I decided to use up the next 3 buns to make some wonderful I.C.S.s and my sister had no complaints. The heat was so intense that they started melting right away so we had to scarf them down as quickly as possible before we were left with a disasterous mess to clean up. But here's a pick of what it would have looked like (I got it from Appon's Thai Food Recipes website). Of course our sandwiches looked a little less majestic... but you get the picture.

Now if you're a math genius... or at least have completed math at a grade 2 level you will have noticed that 7 buns minus 3 minus 3 equals 1... Bravo. I still have one lowly bun that is all alone... what to do?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Bird's in a ... "basket"?

Today I found myself staring at a bag of hotdog buns... knowing full well that there was no way that my family was going to eat them all. We're starting to get sick of hotdogs, smokies etc. having had them for 2 dinners in the past week ... yuck!

Again this raises the question of why hotdog buns are sold in packs of 6 or twelve and hotdogs are sold in packs of 8. That is messed up. Anyways... the bag originally contained 12 buns and we were now down to 7 .

For breakfast I decided to slice the buns and roll them flat. I then made them into cone shapes and baked them at 325 F for 3 minutes. I cooked up some Bird's custard and piped a small amount into each hotdog cone and served it up as a delicious breakfast treat. For some reason, my custard looks like some weird rhino/elephant or somekind of animal. Everyone loved them... but there are still 5 buns to go. ARGH!

For more ideas on what to do with leftover hot dog buns check out my other post More Hot Dog Adventures I know the title is kinda stupid but whatevs.