Lemon Raspberry Muffins

We have a raspberry bush in our backyard. We have to watch the plant carefully and make sure we pick the berries immediately at the slightest hint of ripeness, or squirrels plan their attack and make off like bandits. Or maybe it’s the one squirrel; the guy who is always wobbling around in our backyard, stuffed with the tiny strawberries and other fruit we managed to grow.

As much as we love eating fruit on its own, sometimes it’s best in a fluffy muffin. These also make a delightful breakfast.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large lemon, zested
2 large eggs
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees C. Spray 12 muffin cups with a non-stick cooking spray.
2. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking sod, and lemon zest. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, vegetable oil and vanilla.
4. Stir in the flour mixture.
5. Coat raspberries in flour, and fold in very carefully. Spoon the mixture into 12 muffin cups.
6. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Tofu Chicken Chili

We love chili. Beans are the bomb. But sometimes we also like to have some tofu, particularly before a gruelling boot camp session. We repeat to ourselves, we are doing this willingly. This is fun. Despite the pain we undergo 3 times a week, at least we are full and able to do all those planks and squats. No diets here! Just delicious, home cooked food.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 package veggie ground “chicken”
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1-2 cups water
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 can white kidney beans
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon vegeta
1/2 cup vegan cheddar cheese or regular cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1. Heat the olive oil in large non-stick pan or saucepan. Saute onions for 5-8 minutes at medium high heat. Add carrots and cook for 5 to 8 min, stirring constantly. Add garlic and cook for another 2-3 min.
2. Add dry seasonings, veggie broth, water and veggie ground chicken, mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add red and yellow bell pepper and cook for another 10 minutes.
3. Add beans, cheese and parsley. Heat through, stirring to combine. Season with salt, pepper and vegeta to taste. Serve immediately.

Jam-Filled Croatian Crepes

This is one of our favourite desserts. It’s simple, sweet and easy to make. Enjoy the crepes with a glass of milk and some fresh fruit.

2 eggs
3 cups milk
2 cups flour
3 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and the milk. Gradually add in flour, stir until well blended and no lumps remain. Add the oil, vanilla, sugar and salt, and stir until combined.
2. Heat a non-stick pan over medium high heat. Scoop the batter into the pan, using approximately 1/3 cup for one crepe. Tilt the pan in a circular motion so that the batter evenly coats the surface.
3. Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, or until the edges are light brown. Flip the crepe, or loosen with a spatula, turn over and cook for another 2 minutes.
4. Fill each crepe with a teaspoon of jam, or a filling of your choice like Nutella.

Makes 14 crepes.

Homemade Pizza

In Croatia where our family is from, the pizza always has a thin crust. We prefer this type of pizza to the thick, doughy fast food pizza usually served in restaurants. While Calgary does have pizzerias that offer a delicious thin crust pizza, it’s nice to roll out your own dough, lay on fresh ingredients, and enjoy a slice that is not scant on ingredients.

Pizza Dough

1 cup water
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Toppings

1 small can tomato sauce
4-5 Crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
Handful of chopped artichokes
1 teaspoon oregano
Fresh tomato slices
Grated cheese (we recommend a four cheese blend such as Romano, Mozzarella, Parmesan, and smoked Gouda)
4-5 fresh basil leaves, washed and blotted dry
Dash of truffle oil

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes.
3. Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. In a large bowl, mix 2 cups of the flour with the yeast mixture.
4. Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth.
5. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the room temperature. Make the dough into a ball, and roll out onto a well floured surface.
6. Alternatively, you can use a bread maker on a pizza dough setting. Just pour all the ingredients into the bread maker bowl, starting with the water, oil, sugar and salt, flour and then yeast and oregano at the top. When finished, proceed with rolling dough out onto a floured surface.
7. Spread your toppings starting with the pizza sauce, cheese and then vegetables and oregano on top.
8. Bake for about 15 min on the middle rack, or until the cheese and crust are golden brown.
9. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and sprinkle with truffle oil.

Canada Day Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s Canada Day! Our favourite way to celebrate anything is to eat, so DJ whipped up these mouthwatering red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting in honour of the Constitution Act of 1867. There will be fireworks, food and more food. Then dessert will follow, which will be followed by more dessert.

2 eggs
1/2 cup unsalted margarine
1 1/2 cup cane sugar
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt or vanilla soy yogurt
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Frosting:
2 packages cream cheese or non-dairy cream cheese spread, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted margarine
2 cups icing sugar

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with 16 paper baking cups.
3. Beat the margarine and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
4. Mix in eggs, yogurt, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar.
5. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking powder) and stir into the batter until combined.
6. Spoon into muffin cups and bake for 18 minutes, or until the toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
7. Remove from the oven and cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, margarine and icing sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Arrange the cupcakes on the serving platter and pipe the frosting on with a big star tip.