Melt-in-Your-Mouth Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

© Claudia's Cookbook - Melt in your Mouth Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes 17Why can’t it be Saturday every day? Actually, why can’t it be Saturday every day, where we can all sleep in until we are fully rested, have enough time to make an amazing breakfast, and sit on the couch and watch guilty pleasure TV shows? Now that is a day I can get behind. 

There is the odd Saturday where all the stars align and I have the time to do all those things listed above. It is rare and coveted. I love having enough time in the morning/early afternoon to make a special breakfast. These pancakes have been my go-to for a few years now. It is simple and delicious. You can incorporate any fruits, nuts or chocolate chips into this recipe, as it is extremely versatile. My favourite is blueberry. The pancakes turn out soft, fluffy and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. 

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Sunday Night Football Salsa

© Claudia's Cookbook - Sunday Night Football Salsa 1

I’ve almost eaten my way through all the garden tomatoes and jalapeño this year. As you can see over the last few posts, I’ve been doing my best to use them up with some delicious recipes. With the weather dipping, the garden has slowed down considerably. To be honest, I’m actually relieved. Food waste is a huge pet peeve of mine. Especially when it comes to wasted garden veggies. Nothing beats fresh veggies and you can definitely tell a huge difference when they are used in salsa. 

The first time I came across this recipe, I laughed pretty hard. The original name for it is “Ex-Girlfriend’s Mom’s Salsa Fresca”. Kinda the best, right? At least the person who’s relationship didn’t survive managed to come out of it with a great recipe for us all to have! I’ve adapted it slightly. The original recipe calls for everything to be chopped by hand, so it would be more of a pico de gallo, as opposed to a smoother salsa. I like convenience, so I broke out the food processor for this recipe. It still tastes incredible. The freshness of the tomatoes, onions and jalapeño, combined with the tartness of the lime juice and coolness of the cilantro makes this snack irresistible.

It is also worth noting that the tomatoes you should be using for the recipe shouldn’t be super ripe. The riper the tomatoes, the more watery your salsa will be. Also, removing the seeds helps if you have tomatoes that are pretty ripe but still want to use. My husband and I love making this salsa on Sunday’s to snack on while watching the NFL games on TV. Go Steelers! 

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Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

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The amount of hot peppers in my garden right now is a little insane. I had the bright idea to plant Habanero Chilis, Trinidad Scorpion Peppers, Ghost Peppers and two Jalapeño pepper plants. The Ghost Peppers and Trinidad Scorpion Peppers were pretty much inedible because they are so incredibly hot. My husband tried to make hot sauces out of them and one drop essentially made my mouth burn for an hour. Not overly enjoyable. But I love our Jalapeño plants. There are so many great uses for these little peppers. Salsa (recipe coming soon), on burgers and these amazing poppers! They are so simple to make and are great for entertaining. Ensure you scrape off all the seeds unless you enjoy super spicy treats. The cream cheese cools down the heat from the peppers nicely, while the bacon adds a bit of salty goodness. 

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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, and a Ford Focus Winnipeg Bakery Tour!

Claudia's Cookbook - Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins 12

I had the pleasure of participating in Ford Canada’s ‘Focus on My City’ promotion, where Ford was gracious enough to provide me with a brand new Ford Focus to test drive all over the city. Of course, I had to use this to my advantage. So I decided to do a bakery tour of Winnipeg! The bakery scene in the city is incredible. We have so many insanely talented bakers and chefs in Winnipeg that I felt I needed to draw some attention to them…by eating all their food. Life is tough sometimes. 

Before I get into the bakery tour and the awesome car I had the pleasure of driving, I wanted to tell you a bit about these Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins that we are featuring today. They are delicious. They are the best banana chocolate chip muffins you will eat. And, they are super easy to make. I brought these into work a couple weeks ago and all my coworkers deemed them the best banana chocolate chip muffins they have ever had (hence the second statement above). If I owned a bakery, they would be on the menu every day. Nice segway into the tour, hey? :) 

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Ricardo Cuisine Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce

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I’ve made it my mission over the last few months to use my slow cooker more often. I haven’t been overly successful, but that hasn’t stopped my good intentions. With the autumn months upon us, and schedules becoming insanely busy with kids back to school, there is no better time to haul out the slow cooker. The number one reason why I love mine so much is that most recipes make enough for dinner and a few more leftover meals – which are perfect for busy schedules. I’m constantly in the market for awesome slow cooker recipes that have tons of flavour and don’t simply require you boil just a hunk of meat for 8 hours. 

I was asked to participate in the Ricardo Cuisine summer blog campaign and to try out one of their Slow Cooker Recipes. I am so happy I did! First off, Ricardo is one of my all-time favourite food “celebs”. I became a huge fan of his show ‘Ricardo and Friends’ on Food Network Canada several years ago. I was so happy to learn that he has launched a brand new website, Ricardo Cuisine, full of his best recipes. 

I decided to try his Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce. I am so glad I did. The sauce is absolutely incredible. It takes a bit of prep on the front end, but it is well worth the effort. It’s rich, hearty and full of flavour. Like I mentioned before, it makes a ton of sauce, so it’s perfect for leftovers or you can freeze it for a meal down the road. Delicious! 

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Breakfast Bruschetta

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My garden has exploded. I have never experienced so many tomatoes, hot peppers, and herbs in my life. I think it may have something to do with the Miracle-Gro that I used for the first time ever. I was very reluctant, as I pride myself on a completely organic garden. However, after much pestering from my husband (sorry honey!), we bought some. All I have to say is my parsley is legit the height of me. I am not even kidding. I’m 5’4″ and so is the flat leaf. Yep, insane. I’m not sure if I will do it all again next year, as the weight of the plants has buckled bungee cords. but it was a good experiment!

Because of the abundance of tomatoes, and the fact that I don’t want to have heartburn for the next month because I’ve ingested so many at once, I decided to tackle the quantities early and incorporate the fresh ingredients slowly into our meals. First up – breakfast! As mentioned in my previous post, I am a breakfast smoothie gal. Mainly because I love sleep more than life itself and I could not be bothered to wake up any earlier than it takes to run a comb through my hair and press “puree” on my blender. However, on weekends where I have more time to treat myself to a delicious breakfast, this is my new go-to. I am a huge fan of avocado, and apparently avocado and toast is all the rage with food bloggers these days. Seriously – it’s crazy. So, I figured why not try a recipe that takes my love of avocado and abundance of tomatoes, and make a hearty, healthy breakfast. I think I did good here, you guys. 

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Protein-Packed Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Milkshakes

Claudia's Cookbook - Protein-Packed Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Milkshake 2

“Summer, summer, summertime!” I love me some DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. You know, that time (1991 to be exact) when Will Smith was actually famous for being in a rap duo and not for being a major action movie star? I miss Junior High. 

My blender has been in overdrive these last couple months. Not only have I kept my habit of having a smoothie every morning for breakfast, rather than those delicious Starbucks spinach, egg white and feta wraps, I’ve also tackled my ridiculous chocolate ice cream cravings after dinnertime with these insanely good (and healthy!) Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Milkshakes. Yep, it is healthy, vegan (see, I like you people!), and packed with protein to curb your appetite and build muscle. If you’re into that sort of thing. 

The frozen banana gives it such a wonderful creamy texture that you don’t even miss the ice cream in this milkshake. Also, I’m a little obsessed with Silk’s Dark Chocolate Almondmilk, that they didn’t even pay me to mention it here in this post. I use any excuse to incorporate it into my smoothie recipes. 

The one thing with this recipe is that you definitely need a high-powered blender. Make this recipe your reason to treat yo’self and purchase one. I have a KitchenAid blender that we were lucky enough to receive as a wedding gift, and I have never looked back. Makes such a huge difference. If you have a favourite blender and recommend it, please feel free to share by leaving a comment after this post! I always love learning about your favourite kitchen gadgets. Gives me an excuse to go out and spend money!  

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Brown Sugar Streusel Rhubarb Muffins

Claudia's Cookbook - Brown Sugar Streusel Rhubarb Muffins cover

My favourite time of year to bake is early summer, when rhubarb and all kinds of berries are fresh and in season. I have so many sticks of rhubarb that I don’t know what to do with it. I often make crisps or crumbles, but this time I wanted to adapt an awesome cake recipe that my Mother-in-Law gave me into muffins. I say “adapt”, but the only thing I did differently was put the batter into muffin tins, as opposed to spreading it out on a 9 x 13 inch pan. So whether you are entertaining and need a great cake for dessert, or need a quick snack for breakfast, this recipe is perfect for you. The sweetness from the brown sugar, paired with the tartness of the rhubarb makes the flavour of these muffins so perfect. Not to mention, this recipe is so easy and takes no time at all. 

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Mini Strawberry Key Lime Pies

Claudia's Cookbook - Mini Strawberry Key Lime Pie cover

The last time I posted a recipe I was celebrating Ukrainian Christmas, it was the dead of winter, I was in a different job, and I hadn’t yet travelled to New York City, Miami, Arizona, and Las Vegas. Wow, a lot sure has happened in 4 months!

Time sure does fly when you are busy. We all lead insanely busy lives these days, so I won’t even begin to bore you with all the details of my life during the last few months. Let’s just say, I missed you! And I missed baking terribly.  

I have been meaning to make a key lime pie in months. I can’t even say that it’s spring here in Winnipeg because the weather over the last few weeks has been reminiscent of summer. Which makes me crave all things citrus and neon. Yes, neon. So glad it’s still in style this summer. There is nothing like a cute hot pink purse to complete an outfit. But I digress….citrus! Yes, citrus. I wanted to do a bit of a spin on the traditional key lime pie. Also, there are a million key lime pie recipes out there but not a lot of strawberry key lime pie recipes. I also love berries in summer so I felt this was a fantastic combination. I can never come close to finishing an entire pie by myself, so I wanted to make individual ones that I can enjoy and freeze for when my sweet cravings really hit me. If you cannot find key limes, whether your grocery store simply doesn’t carry them or they are out of season, you can also substitute for regular fresh lime juice instead. Perfectly fine. I do want to stress *fresh*, because there is simply nothing better. 

These mini strawberry key lime pies are absolutely delicious. The crust is buttery and crunchy, and the filling is sweet and tart all at the same time. This recipe is also beyond simple. I know we are all busy, but you can fit in 25 minutes to make these. I know you can. 

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Khrustyky (Ukrainian Fried Cookies)

Claudia's Cookbook - Khrustyky cover

 Merry Ukrainian Christmas Eve! Just when you thought Christmas was long behind us, up pops the Orthodox celebration. We typically do not celebrate Christmas twice in our household. The standard one in December is what we celebrate. Although I would love to celebrate and eat all the delicious Ukrainian food again tomorrow, I think the 10 pounds I gained in December is reason enough to enjoy photos and blog more delicious recipes rather than consume. 

This recipe for Khrustyky, or Ukrainian fried cookies, is the perfect dessert for Ukrainian Christmas, or any day. They are super light and crispy with a hint of sweetness from the icing sugar. They are also fairly simple to make, and don’t require a ton of time. Unlike a lot of other dough in Ukrainian cooking, this dough only rises for about 30 minutes and doesn’t require a ton of kneading.  Some people like to add bourbon to their recipes. I didn’t have any on hand, nor did my Baba put any in her recipe (this one below!), so I decided to use a bourbon vanilla extract instead. This recipe makes a lot of cookies, so it is best to fry, cool and freeze them in plastic bags until you want to eat them. You can then thaw them and dust with icing sugar. I don’t recommend dusting with icing sugar and then freezing. 

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