Zucchini “Spaghetti” with Spicy Turkey Bolognese

Claudia's Cookbook - Zucchini Spaghetti with Spicy Turkey Bolognese cover

 I love comfort food. Especially around this time of year when the temperature is dipping and I’m in my comfy socks 24/7. Yeah, I paid $35 for a pair of socks. Don’t judge me, they are worth every penny! So much, I actually bought two pairs. But I digress…

My latest obsession (besides said socks) is trying to create delicious comfort dishes with a healthy spin. So, when Aloha approached me on partnering with them in their “Bringing a Dish to Pass” campaign, and to create a healthy version of a traditional dish, I couldn’t say no. Spaghetti Bolognese is something I enjoyed a lot while I was in Italy last month. It’s warm, rich and seriously comforting. But I don’t need to tell you this as I’m sure you’ve had the pleasure of having it in your lifetime. 

The key to turning healthy ingredients into delicious food is flavour. Using spices seriously ups any flavour profile, which makes you forget that you are actually eating something that is good for you. This can easily be said about this Zucchini Spaghetti with Spicy Turkey Bolognese dish. With such flavourful spices as oregano, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes, you almost forget you’ve replaced your red meat sauce with protein-rich, lean turkey. The zucchini has such a mild flavour that you really can’t tell it’s, well, vegetable noodles instead of starchy pasta. Also, a little red wine has never hurt any dish. It’s full of antioxidants and great for your heart, so in moderation it’s totally healthy. Yes, I tell myself this every time the cork is released from the bottle. 

Again, I used my trusty spiralizer for this recipe. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend you get one. But while you are waiting for your order, you can always slice the zucchini very thin using a mandoline or a julienne tool

If you are looking for other great healthy recipes, please do visit ALOHA’s recipe site. So many guilt-free yummy dishes on there! 

Continue reading →

Spicy Sweet Potato Noodles with Chorizo and Chickpeas

Claudia's Cookbook - Spicy Sweet Potato Noodles with Chorizo and Chickpeas cover

I am in love with my spiralizer. I took one look at it and I knew we would be soul mates. A couple months ago during my healthy eating quest, I came across Ali and her amazing blog, Inspiralized. If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out her blog, I highly recommend you do. The focus of her blog is to create delicious healthy meals by using her spiralizer. After visiting her blog for the first time, I immediately went to Amazon and bought my very own spiralizer. And it’s worth every penny. And this is coming from a girl who isn’t really into vegetables! 

I’ve made quite a few of Ali’s recipes and they are all incredible. The meals are such a healthy game changer for me. I slightly adapted this recipe to include white sweet potatoes and chickpeas (Ali’s recipe calls for white beans). I used chickpeas because I didn’t have white beans in the house. I have since used white kidney beans in this recipe and it’s still super delicious as well. I also used an amazing red wine chorizo sausage from La Grotta, which is a local Mediterranean market here in Winnipeg. I cannot tell you how yummy this dish is. My husband has already requested that we have it again by week’s end! This definitely is a a nice healthier alternative to your traditional comfort food dishes. 

Continue reading →

Pumpkin Donuts with Browned Butter Maple Frosting

Claudia's Cookbook - Pumpkin Donuts with Browned Butter Maple Frosting Cover

There are two things my hockey team is passionate about: playing hockey (obvs) and donuts. When I mention that I am bringing donuts to the game, I become somewhat of a hero. Our message board gets extremely animated. I’ve made these donuts for them a few times now and they are always gobbled up in mere minutes. And for good reason. They are seriously one of the most delicious baked donuts I have ever had. They are extremely soft. The flavour combination of pumpkin and maple is decadent. Not to mention, these donuts incorporate my favourite obsession: browned butter! 

A lot of people have asked me where to buy donut pans. I bought mine on Amazon. They are Wilton brand and are wonderful and extremely inexpensive. I enjoy baked donuts way more than fried. So these pans have come in handy for all my sweet cravings. 

Continue reading →

Browned Butter Skillet Candy Cookie Bars

Claudia's Cookbook - Browned Butter Candy Cookie Skillet Bars

Remember that time I dressed up as Hulk Hogan for Halloween and had to wear a bleach blonde moustache that drove me crazy for an entire evening? Yeah, that was my night yesterday. I have new appreciation for all men who have to eat vegetable dip while sporting a moustache. I had dip everywhere. It was not attractive. 

This Halloween was a cold one here in Winnipeg. We didn’t have nearly as many kids come to our door for Trick-or-Treating as we usually do. That was a theme with most of my friends that I have talked to. We bought enough candy for about 120 kids, and we only received about 20 at our house. Crazy, right? Not to mention that kids these days have it so easy. Sure, it was cold, but we had no snow. I recall every Halloween as a kid trudging through knee-deep snow to get myself that sugar gold. No word of a lie. I have photographic evidence too. 

I figured I would try and experiment with our leftover candy that we have in the house and make these skillet candy cookie bars! I essentially adapted our Cadbury Mini Egg Skillet Cookie to create these beauties by doubling the dough and layering the candy in the middle. Also – Man, do I love using cast iron skillets to bake cookies. The skillet creates such a rich, decadent cookie. I also love using browned butter. It has such a nutty flavour which is a perfect compliment to the sweet candy bars. If you have leftover candy an want to do some baking, I highly recommend you give these a try! 

Continue reading →

World’s Best Apple Pie

Claudia's Cookbook - The Best Apple Pie cover

 Oh kitchen and blog, how I’ve missed you. I am back from our 3-week honeymoon vacation in England and Italy. I must say, I didn’t miss much. Let’s be honest here,  does anyone really look forward to coming home after a wonderful vacation? Sure, I missed my bed, my cats (who probably laid mostly on my bed), and such luxuries as clean clothes from my closet. But I wasn’t ready to come back to reality so soon. I was, however, excited to share some fun things I was able to do on my trip. It is all pretty much food related (duh)!  

I had the awesome opportunity one day while we were in Tuscany to learn how to make traditional Tuscan eggless pasta from scratch. Here’s me with my lovely teacher, who was both patient and amazing. She even said I was a natural at dough rolling. I told them it was years of perogy making practice! 

IMG_3996

 

I also had some of the most amazing food at the villa where we stayed in Tuscany.

IMG_3839

This was the lunch that greeted us upon arrival. So incredible! 

And I cannot mention my trip to Italy without showing you the PIZZA! 

IMG_4027

 This one had homemade buffalo mozzarella and spicy caramelized salami.

It was probably the spiciest pizza I’ve ever had!

It was delicious. And it made me chug my Italian beer. 

IMG_3992

Like, c’mon! 

IMG_4022

Carapina was my favourite gelato place in Florence and Rome.

They make all their gelato fresh every morning and have a dozen flavours at one time.

My favourite was the dark chocolate, hazelnut and marsala wine flavours shown above!

IMG_3986

Truffles and mushrooms were in season while we were in Italy. They were everywhere and so delectable! 

Pasta with truffles – get outta here! SO good. 

IMG_4207

The open air meat, seafood and produce markets were also total eye candy. I wanted to buy everything.

IMG_4028

 You know that place that served me that spicy pizza? Oh yeah, it’s also a mozzarella bar!

Here is mild, strong and smoked mozzarella, made fresh (of course).

Let’s all go back immediately! 

  As much as I loved dining out at a different restaurant for 3 weeks, I did miss my kitchen and making (healthy) food for ourselves. I also missed the food blogger community. And, of course, I missed my Mom :)

Claudia and I actually got together a few days before I left for Europe to make this apple pie. It was then that I deemed it “World’s Best Apple Pie”. Because it is. I mean, I might be biased? But I’m also a pretty good judge of food character (humble brag). The crust is so flaky and light, and the apple filling is warm, sweet and comforting. We made this particular apple pie with locally-grown apples from Claudia’s friend’s yard! Ah, the beauty of summer…which is slowly fading away. I recommend you try this apple pie immediately, and capture some of summer back into your lives. 

Continue reading →

Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifles with Maple Bourbon Whipped Cream

Claudia's Cookbook - Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifles with Maple Bourbon Whipped Cream cover

I am really trying to do my best not to believe that autumn is upon us here in Canada. I was in full on denial up until this week, when I decided to give into Starbucks and purchase a Pumpkin Spice Latte every single day this week. They are just so darn delicious. It’s also hard to deny our impending seasonal change when the weather here has turned cool, and all I see on my Pinterest news feed is nothing but pumpkin recipes. So yeah, I gave in. 

I’ve featured my fair share of pumpkin recipes on the blog (feel free to check them all out here). So each September and October I rack my brain to come up with a unique spin on such a classic flavour. I think I did well this year. This dessert is so dreamy. Yes, dreamy. It has the best pumpkin pie flavour but is light as air. The pumpkin cheesecake layer is rich and creamy, but very light. The maple bourbon whipping cream has a wonderful sweetness, and the Speculoos cookie bottom is so decadent. Not to mention, it’s a pretty classy looking dessert, right? Bring on autumn! 

Continue reading →

Guilt-Free Chocolate Nana Ice Cream

Chocolate Nana Ice Cream cover

Leave it up to me to finally blog an ice cream recipe when it’s September and freezing cold outside. Don’t tell me I am the only person who craves ice cream 365 days a year. Because I would have to call you a liar. And, I really don’t want to do that to you, my friends.

I do have a very valid reason that I am super tardy on this post. I got hitched 2 weeks ago! Yep, I convinced a boy to marry me. He’s pretty great too. As you can imagine, Claudia is over the moon. Because we are friends, and so many of you have sent me so many amazing well wishes and congratulatory comments (thank you!), I thought I would share a couple of my favourite photos of our special day:

#jaimeLovesAnthony

 A moment captured by my Maid of Honour.

Bridemaids

 The best Bridesmaids in the entire world!

Now that the wedding planning insanity (insanity in a good way!) is over, I have more time to really focus on making healthy choices. As I’ve mentioned before, I crave sweets A LOT. Lately, I have been on the hunt for healthy alternatives for sweet treats. This one is probably my favourite!

I’ve seen a lot of photos of “Nana Ice Cream” on Instagram this summer and I thought I would give it a try for myself. I can honestly say that it is amazing! Yep, the texture is creamy like ice cream, and it’s so versatile. I am a chocolate fiend, so this recipe is my go-to. You can easily incorporate peanut butter, strawberries, shredded coconut….you name it! Play to your favourite flavours. This one is a serious keeper (like my new husband). Sorry, I had to do it.

Continue reading →

Sweet and Salty Homemade Granola Bars

Claudia's Cookbook - Sweet and Salty Homemade Granola Bars cover

In my last post, I talked about how obsessed I was with the healthy road trip snacks I made from Gimme Some Oven’s blog. Well, my obsession continues with these beauties. I love these granola bars with all my heart and soul. Seriously. They are the easiest thing to make and they taste incredibly delicious. The pairing of sweet dark chocolate and dried cranberries with the saltiness of the pretzels and peanuts makes this snack very addictive. Good thing they are healthy and not filled with preservatives like most grocery store brands.

I have gone through two pans of these granola bars. They are perfect for when you are on the run or a mid-morning snack at work. Actually, I could eat them any time of day – who am I kidding? Not to mention, they are no bake! You need to give them a try. You can also use any dried fruit or ingredients you’d like. These granola bars should be wrapped individually and stored in the fridge. I find they hold their shape the best that way.

Continue reading →

Healthy No Bake Energy Bites

Claudia's Cookbook - No Bake Energy Bites cover

Time flies when you are having fun….or planning a wedding. I have been very M.I.A on the blog lately. I am two weeks away from my wedding and feel pretty good about it. I have fielded the same question for the last few months: “Oh, you must be so stressed?” Not really. Not at all actually. One great thing I have discovered about being Type A is that my incessant organizational skills are coming in handy. I also have the most wonderful bridesmaids and family that have made everything so easy and carefree.

I am actually so organized, that I was able to do not one, but two road trips in two weeks. The first was two weeks ago to Minneapolis. While it was a great 3 days away in one of my absolute favourite cities, the diet suffered. Oh, did it suffer. Road trips often mean salty snacks in the car, followed by pub beers and “I’m on vacation!” desserts. My digestive system took a beating. I felt terrible when I returned home. I also dreaded the second road trip to Madison, Wisconsin I was about to embark on. Therefore, I decided to take things into my own hands and find healthy road trip snacks that won’t make my friend and I feel terrible in the car and throughout our awesome trip. Boy, did I ever hit the jackpot on these No Bake Energy Bites by Gimme Some Oven! They are so incredibly delicious and easy to make. Not to mention, super healthy! My friend Nicole raved about them, as did my cousin-in-law who saw me post this recipe on Facebook and decided to make them for herself.

These energy bites can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for approximately 5 days. You can also freeze them or keep them in a container in the fridge. You can also mix up the ingredients to incorporate your favourites. I use natural peanut butter, but you can easily use almond butter. Instead of chocolate chips, you can easily use dried cranberries or any dried fruit your heart desires. Very versatile and perfect for your next summer road trip!

Continue reading →

Strawberries & Cream White Chocolate Scones

Claudia's Cookbook - Strawberries & Cream White Chocolate Scones 17

A word of advice, my friends: don’t ever schedule two workout sessions in one day after a weekend of consuming beer and rich food for your birthday. It won’t end well. At least that is what I have discovered today when I made my triumphant return to the gym this morning with a 1 hour weight class. I was so dehydrated, I got dizzy and thought “And I have to do this all over again at 6:30pm? No way!”. Even my lovely trainer who was teaching the class commented that I looked “off”. It was then and there that I regretted all my terrible (yet oh so delicious) food choices of the past weekend. Burgers, ice cream, chocolate and beer. I swore them off then and there. It wasn’t worth feeling so horrible while working out. But, after 2 hours of recovery and a nice relaxing bath, I am back to my old self and craving these decadent scones.

Besides our Pumpkin Scones, these are by far the best scones I have ever made. They are so soft and buttery. The strawberry glaze gives it a fruity sweetness. Not to mention the melted white chocolate and strawberries inside the scone – so amazing. The dough comes together really easy in a food processor and is very easy to roll out with your hands.  A no-kneed dough is my kind of dough, people.

This recipe makes 6 very large scones, but you can also make smaller, mini scones as well. Just depends on how big of a cutter you have, or how big you want to cut the dough triangles. I highly recommend you give these a try soon! I know I will. Totally worth struggling in the gym for.

Continue reading →