Perishke – Ukrainian Cottage Cheese Buns in Creamy Dill Sauce

Claudia's Cookbook - Ukrainian Cottage Cheese Buns with Creamy Dill Sauce cover

 There is nothing more comforting on a cold winter day than warm buns. You can interpret that however you like. I mean, whatever floats your boat, you silly animals. But right now, I’m talking about these dough buns above, otherwise known as “Perishke” in Ukrainian. Delicious, soft, warm cottage cheese filled buns smothered in creamy dill sauce. One bite and you will forget all about those other warm buns you were thinking about.

Growing up, we actually never had a lot of these in the house. I recall having them sparingly at community or church functions. This was another recipe that we received a ton of requests for, so it was a great way for us to get reacquainted with this traditional Ukrainian dish. After making these, Claudia quickly proclaimed that these will be on our table every Christmas dinner moving forward. They are very decadent. The cream sauce gives the entire dish a sweetness while the dill reminds you of summer, with a hint of freshness. The cottage cheese filling is rich and super flavourful. I can see why so many people have asked for this recipe over the past few years! It truly is spectacular and super simple! 

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Black Forest Protein Smoothie

Claudia's Cookbook - Creamy Black Forest Smoothie cover

I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of breakfast. Okay, scratch that. I actually really like breakfast foods. I just don’t have the time each morning to make them. I like sleep. I am the queen of the snooze button. That trait doesn’t bode well for me to have the time to make a healthy breakfast. That’s why 90% of my days begin with a protein smoothie. They are super easy to make and take less than 5 minutes each morning. Not to mention, the are crazy healthy and a simple way to get in some protein to start off my day. 

When The Hut Group contacted me wondering whether I would be interested in reviewing their MyProtein Impact Whey Protein Powder, I was happy to participate. I was sent their ‘Chocolate Smooth’ flavour, which I requested as I typically only use chocolate protein powders,  and it would be easier for me to compare to other brands I have used and like. They also carry up to 40 different unique flavours like Tiramasu, Rhubarb & Custard and Lemon Cheesecake.

I do think it is important that I clarify upfront that I am in no way being monetarily compensated for my review of their protein powder. The views expressed in my post are solely mine. 

Impact Whey Protein Powder is made-up of 100% premium grade whey protein concentrate and has over 20g of protein per serving. It also has a comprehensive amino acid profile providing all the essential amino acids and contains over 2g of Leucine per serving, which is a great nutritional profile. The one thing that I immediately noticed about this protein is that this flavour of chocolate is considerably sweeter in taste than the brands I have typically used. Not necessarily a bad thing, but one fact you should be aware of if you are using sweeter fruits or liquids in your smoothies. I also noticed that it makes smoothies incredibly creamy, which is fantastic.

This protein powder truly creates decadent, rich smoothies which are perfect for those people who want a smoothie as a treat but also want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. That is why I wanted to use it in this Black Forest Protein Smoothie recipe. The sweet dark cherries and rich chocolate protein powder are the perfect combination for a nice creamy smoothie that will definitely trick your taste buds from thinking that you’re drinking something super healthy.  

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Ukrainian Beef-Filled Pyrizhky

Claudia's Cookbook - Ukrainian Beef Filled Pyrizhky cover

I bought a Christmas CD yesterday. It was the first CD I’ve purchased in legit 3 years. Of course it is filled with Christmas tunes from one of my favourite guilty pleasure TV shows, Nashville. With only a few weeks left until the holidays, I figured I should get into the spirit. Also, the most recent Christmas CD I had was Justin Bieber’s, so it was definitely time for an update. 

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I love when we receive recipe requests. Especially for Ukrainian dishes. A few months ago, we posted Ukrainian Cabbage Buns and they were a huge hit. Ever since that post, we have received a ton of emails and comments asking for a meat-filled version. Well friends, here it is.  The ultimate recipe for Ukrainian beef-filled buns, or ‘Pyrizhky’. I would also like to note that because there are so many different crossovers in food and culture between Ukraine, Poland and Russia, that these may be called by a different name depending on where you are from/grew up. In Russia and other places, these are sometimes referred to as ‘Pirozhki‘ or ‘Piroshki’. Regardless, they are beef-filled baked buns that are beyond amazing. The dough is flaky, buttery and soft. Perfect little bite-sized pieces of heaven if you ask me. 

You can definitely make your own fillings as well to go with this dough recipe. You can incorporate mushrooms, ground pork, mashed potato…the options are endless. Not to mention, this recipe is super easy to make. 

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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!  
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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. 

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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. 

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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! 

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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! 

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

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

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

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 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. 

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Like, c’mon! 

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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!

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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. 

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

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 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. 

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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! 

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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:

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 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.

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