Hoisin Asian meatballs

This is another post from a recipe from damn delicious. If you have spent any time on that blog, you know why I’m frequently trying her dishes!

I made these meatballs for a weeknight dinner. We had steamed coconut buns and stir fried veggies to go with them.

To make the meatballs, you put the ground beef into a bowl with the sesame oil, panko, ginger, egg and garlic. I didn’t have green onions and didn’t think that warranted a trip to the grocery store (don’t make this same error- get the green onions!).

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After the meat is all mixed up, the meatballs are formed. Mine were a bit bigger than the recipes.

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While the meatballs cook in the oven, the sauce is made. All that is required is to combine the hoisin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and ginger. I doubled the recipe and used some for my veggies too.

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When the meatballs come out of the oven, they are served and topped with the sauce. The recipe also says to garnish with green onion. See above.

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Although it doesn’t look that pretty, this was an incredibly tasty meal!

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Parmesan roasted cauliflower

When I meal plan, I often forget about a side dish. I get inspired by something on Pinterest and plan it and then forget the side.
This week, I was on the ball. I remembered (every day!!) to plan something to go along with the main.

This roasted cauliflower dish looked east and healthy so I decided to give it a try.
I chopped the cauliflower up into pieces.

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I then added the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic and mixed it all together.

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Next I put it onto a baking sheet and baked in the oven.

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When the cauliflower was done, I took it out and sprinkled it with the Parmesan. I don’t think I out quite enough Parmesan on though.

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This dish was a healthy and easy side to prepare. Matt and I enjoyed it, but Chloe did not. But that’s ok. I will be making this again in the future!

What cauliflower dishes do you like?

Garlic butter shrimp and quinoa

I’ve made this recipe a few times but never blogged about it. It’s time now to share this delicious meal. The recipe is from pinch of yum.

The recipe starts out with sautéing the onion, then adding the garlic, quinoa and chili powder.

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The broth is added and the quinoa is cooked for about 20 minutes.

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While the quinoa is cooking, the shrimp is cooked in butter with chili powder. Right before the shrimp is done cooking, garlic is added to the pan. (Note: I had some raw shrimp and some cooked shrimp, so I cooked my raw first and added the cooked halfway through)

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The sh

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The shrimp is put off to the side and the butter sauce is made in the same pan. The remaining butter is melted and the garlic is added. And the sauce is done!

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Once the quinoa was done, I added the shrimp and all of the butter sauce and mixed it all up. I didn’t bother with the parsley as I didn’t have any. Once served into bowls, I added some lemon juice. My 2 year old loves this dish. And although it’s made with butter, it’s actually fairly healthy.

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Sweet and spicy cucumbers

Both my daughter and I love cucumbers and pickles. So when I stumbled upon this recipe for sweet and spicy cucumbers, I knew I was going to have to try them!

They are quite easy to make and are a great healthy snack.
You start out by peeling, halving and slicing the cucumbers. I halved the recipe as I only had 1 and 3/4 cucumbers.

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The slices are placed in a colander over a bowl. They are then sprinkled with salt, stirred and put in the fridge for an hour.

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While the cucumbers sit in the fridge, the sauce is made. The vinegar, water, sugar and red pepper flakes are boiled and then simmered until reduced.

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Once the sauce is done, it is removed from the heat and the red onions are added.

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After an hour, the cucumbers are taken out and patted dry. The sauce is added and stirred in.

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Then, the cucumbers are done!
These were a tasty snack! My daughter also loved them!

Fall trees with handprints

Although it’s only mid September, my Pinterest and Facebook are full of fall and Halloween activities. I’ve been feeling a bit uninspired lately and seeing all these fall activities gave me ideas to try. I saw this activity for using handprints to make trees and thought it was perfect for Chloe.

The first step was getting everything set up. I drew the tree trunk with a brown marker, set out the paint and had a bowl of water for washing her hand. I also had some pieces of paper for her to paint while her hand prints were drying and for after she was done.

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I got Chloe in an apron, painted her hand and we placed it down a few times.

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I rinsed her hand off and painted it yellow and we made more prints. Then I decided that the prints should dry for a few minutes before doing the last colour. I gave Chloe a sheet of paper and let her play with the three colours (orange, red and yellow).

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While she was doing that, I talked to her about how leaves change colour and had her look out the door and see our tree that has green leaves with a few that are changing colour.

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After a few minutes, I brought back the tree and painted Chloe’s hand orange. We did the prints and then I moved it out of the way.

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I gave her more paper to paint on and then encouraged her to get messy and use her hands.

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Chloe loved this activity and wanted to keep doing it. I really should do more stuff with her like this…

Baked Coconut shrimp

Coconut shrimp is one of my favorite things! Yum! So, when I saw a recipe for coconut shrimp from skinny taste, I knew I wanted to make it.
The steps are pretty simple. First, you assemble all the dishes for coating the shrimp. The coconut flakes, panko and salt are combined in a bowl. I put the flour on a small plate. And I whisked the egg in a small bowl.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t have uncooked shrimp, so I had to use cooked shrimp instead. I dipped the shrimp in the flour, making sure it was coated, then I dipped it into the egg and dropped it into the coconut mixture.

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Once all the shrimp were done, they baked in an oven for 10 minutes on one side, and about 6 on the other.

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For the dipping sauce, the recipe called for apricot preserves, rice wine vinegar and red pepper flakes. But, in my fridge, I already had apricot chili jam. So, I added a bit of rice wine vinegar to it and used it as the sauce.

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The dipping sauce was okay. I prefer store bought sweet chili sauce over this dipping sauce though. A piña colada sauce would go great with this shrimp as well!

Crock pot beef and pasta

I was planning on making this dish when I found out our friends with 3 kids were going to be in town and having dinner with us. This seemed like a perfect dish to make!
The day before I made it, I browned the beef with onions and garlic, and put it into the fridge overnight.

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The next morning, I added the beef, stewed tomatoes, 2 cans of tomato sauce and a few fresh cherry tomatoes into my crock pot. Also thrown in was oregano, basil, salt and pepper.

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After being in the crockpot on low for about 7 hours, I cooked two bags of bow tie pasta, and got some fresh spinach from my garden. Unfortunately, my garden didn’t have too much in the way of spinach this time.
Once the pasta was cooked, I added it along with the spinach, Parmesan and the mozzarella (along with some cheddar since I ran out of mozzarella!) to the crockpot.

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After mixing and letting it sit for about 20 minutes on high, I dished out the pasta for us and our guests.

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The verdict? Well, most if not all the kids had seconds. I think one even had thirds… So I guess it went over well!
Personally, it was not my favorite dish. BUT, if I can sneak tomatoes and even more spinach in, then I will be serving this again!

Mini cheesecakes

I’ve never been big into cheesecake. Some people love it, but I’ve never been too excited about it.
Since I’ve started making it at home for other people, I’ve starts to quite enjoy cheesecake.
This recipe is one I tried a few months back for a friends birthday. I couldn’t find Nila cookies so I used a graham cracker as the base. This time, I decided to make my own base from graham crumbs, sugar and butter. I used a cup of graham crumbs, two teaspoons of sugar and a little bit too much melted butter (probably around 5 tablespoons). IMG_8263.JPG

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The bases baked in the oven for 3 minutes on 350 degrees.

On to the cheesecake recipe! I put the cream cheese, egg, vanilla and sugar into a mixing bowl and mixed it all together.

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Then I put the cream cheese mixture on top of the crusts and baked them in the oven for 25 minutes on 325 degrees.

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After the cheesecakes cooled down, I topped them with cherry pie filling.

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These are super easy, delicious and a hit when brought to functions! Or given as gifts.

Chicken enchilada quinoa bake

This recipe sounded really good and not too difficult. So I figured I would try it out.

The first two things I did was cook the quinoa and the chicken. I had some shredded rotisserie chicken in the freezer that I also used, mixed in with chicken breast.

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While the chicken and quinoa cooked, I diced up the onion, rinsed out the black beans and opened all necessary cans.

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Once everything was prepped, I started cooking the onions.

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The next step is to add the chicken, beans, chiles, enchilada sauce, quinoa, chile powder, and cheddar cheese. Once it is all mixed together, it is transferred to a baking dish.

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The next step said to add Monterey Jack cheese, but I chose to use mozzarella because it is what I had on hand. I think this might have been a misstep.

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The dish baked for 15 minutes and spent 5 more minutes on broil. It looked delicious when it came out.

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Once served, there was sour cream, cilantro, and avocado to garnish. The recipe also suggested a Mexican cheese but once I again, I opted not to.

This quinoa bake was really good, but I think it needed a bit more flavor. Monterey Jack cheese would have probably added the flavor it was lacking.

Painting with ice and water

Sorry I disappeared there for a bit! We got home from our trip and have been trying to settle back into regular life. Wait, what’s that?!
Anyway, a while back when I was looking at doing the northern unit, I saw a pin for painting with water and I thought you could also pair it with painting with ice cubes. But of course, I couldn’t find that pin again when I went to look for it. It didn’t matter though because it’s easy enough.

I set out materials on our deck for Chloe to use: paintbrushes of different sizes and one a sponge, a water dish and ice cubes in a cup.

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When Chloe saw paintbrushes, she couldn’t wait to get her hands on them. She started right away. I joined her, too.

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She enjoyed painting for quite a while. If I painted something, like a heart, she would come by and paint over it. She thought it was hilarious.

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After a bit, I tried bringing out the ice to paint with. Chloe ignored it and kept painting with the brushes. So instead, I painted with the ice while Chloe used the brushes. I drew different shapes with the ice, had Chloe identify them, and then she would draw the shape as well. Well… She would try anyway.

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Chloe loved doing this activity. It kept her busy for at least 45 minutes, and she didn’t even get to the ice. I loved the fact that there was no mess and it was basically the easiest activity for set up.