Saturday, January 28, 2012

Do you know the muffin man? I know I didn't fully make these from scratch (caught me), but I'm always excited when I find a product that gives me that "can't-tell-it's-not-homemade" feel, so I thought I'd share. Not only is this muffin mix healthy, easy to make, and tastes amazing, but it leaves a cinnamony smell in the kitchen that lasts for hours!

Product: President's Choice Organics Apple Cinnamon Muffin Mix
Egg free, milk free, and only 8 ingredients (!!)

Instructions are super easy:

1. Mix entire package of muffin mix in a bowl with 1 cup of water, 1 egg, and 2 tbsp of vegetable oil.

 2. I added half of a yellow delicious apple cut up really thin to the batter, to give the muffins some extra flavour.

3. Scoop the batter into a greased muffin tray or muffin cups. The recipe says it should make 12 muffins, but ours filled about 14.

 4. Put into a pre-heated oven (350 degrees) for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

5. Cool for 5 minutes in the tray, and then transfer to a cooling rack for about 10 minutes.

And that's it! Eat for breakfast or a snack. The apple chunks were a great addition, they kept the muffins moist and flavourful. I looove muffins but unfortunately most of the recipes I've found either call for a few sticks of butter or a ton of oil to keep them moist, and the healthy recipes (Read: bran muffins) are so dry it tastes like I'm eating cardboard. These muffins are the perfect balance.

Happy Saturday! :)


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Granola family

My cousin Adele gave me this recipe in the summer when my family spent a week at her cottage; she literally whipped up this badboy in half an hour before we went waterskiing one morning. I've been looking for a granola recipe for a while, and this one is so easy and super healthy! The great thing about granola is that it's so easy to modify it to what you like (we all know how much I looooove changing recipes!); dried peaches or blueberries, walnuts, almonds, just about anything can be mixed into this delicious breakfast treat. I'm going to try it with sunflower seeds next time. AND depending on how many cups of oats you put in, you can make a ton of granola in advance and it will last you a while. I made this recipe all for myself and it turned out to fill 3 tupperware containers. Just make sure they're airtight and you're good to go.

The Dry Guys
Mix Dry Ingredients
4 cups flake oats
12 cup white flour (or buckwheat flour)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground flax
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cinnamon

A heaping sticky mess of deliciousness
Things you can add:
3/4 raisins or dried cranberries
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 sunflower/pumpkin seeds/
Basically, any dried fruit or nut or grain that you like!

Wet ingredients
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup vegetable or sunflower oil
3/4 cup maple syrup

Voila! Granola a la Adele!

1. Mix dry and wet ingredients together until damp. Everything will feel really gooey and sticky, but that's totally fine.

2. Press into a 9 x 12 lightly greased pan. Try and spread it out as best as you can. 

3. Bake @ 375 for 20-25 minutes, (depending on how crappy your oven is - mine took 30.)

4. Let sit for 10 minutes and that's it! As I moved the granola into my tupperware I tried to break up some of the bigger clumped pieces so they wouldn't stay stuck together.

5. Pair with your favourite yogurt for breakfast, with some fresh fruit. My current favourite right now is President's Choice Greek Yogurt.

Happy Tuesday!


P.S Some personal Alicia info - If you didn't know, breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, and the granola/yogurt combo is usually my go-to breakfast dish..and also the source of my blog name - "Birdfood Breakfasts". One night in undergrad my friend Shannel stayed over, and when she came downstairs the next morning she took one look in my bowl of rolled oats, wheat germ, flax, and seeds and said "Alicia, do you have anything other than bird food for breakfast?" :) 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Out of this world (or atmosphere at least)

Couscous and Edamame Salad ($8)
For those of you that don't know, I spend most of my time in Guelph, continuing my scholastic journey at U of G in an MSc program. One thing I absolutely love about Guelph is their restaurant variety. I live downtown and am so happy that the street are not littered with fast food chains or steakhouse's with the Montana's/Casey's/Kelsey's vibe. Most restaurants are quaint, family-owned and use local ingredients from nearby farms. On a cold and rainy night, my friend Morgan and I decided to go out for dinner and ended up at Atmosphere Cafe, a small, intimate eatery embedded in an old historical building.  The place was far from packed on a Sunday night (there may have been one or two other tables besides us), but the 'atmosphere' was perfect to say the least.  
Cranberry and Pecan Salad ($8)
We each ordered a salad to start: I had the Couscous and Edamame salad and Morgan had the Cranberry and Pecan salad (both 8$). They were both so delicious and fresh tasting! For someone who can't handle to much spice, I really enjoyed the bite from the edamame. As a salad lover, I am definitely going to try and replicate these at home. We split the Ratatouille Pizza (thin curst artisan-style, with roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomato, zucchini, mushrooms, fresh thyme, goat cheese, and mozzarella).  Unfortunately, we inhaled the whole thing before I had a chance to snap a picture, but it was amazing! (I wouldn't be surprised if there was a wood-burning oven back there..). If you are ever in the Guelph area, I highly recommend Atmosphere!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Junior's not so Junior

The place was packed from the
time we got there till we left!
One of our NY lunch's was spent at Junior's, a restaurant founded by Harry Rosen and master baker Eigel Patterson in the 1950's. The lineup was out the door when we got there but my Mom insisted that this place was worth it, so we waited it out. As usual, Mom was right.  While it's most well-known for its home-made cheesecakes, Junior's has a ton of stuff on their menu including soups, salads, seafood, pasta, meat, and a whole breakfast page (which we arrived too late for, unfortunately) so don't feel like you only need to go there for dessert.  Even though its situated in downtown Manhattan, the inside of Junior's still has a retro-50's like atmosphere, which I appreciated; I half-expected the servers to come out in roller skates.  Speaking of the servers, I truly commend them because everything came out SPEEDY fast, regardless of the constant pandemonium in there.
Matzah ball soup
Melissa and I enjoying a massive banana milkshake
Reuben Sandwhich with home cut fries and some kind of
awesome mystery dip
 By the time we got in there I was actually starving so I wanted to order the sandwich/fries combo to myself. Luckily, I ended up splitting it with my sister which I'm sure my body thanked me for later. Not sure why it's called Junior's when everything you order is massive. Even our coffee looked like it was served in a cereal bowl!
 Even though we were stuffed to the brim by the end of it, we couldn't come to a famous cheesecake place and not try out their speciality....
Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake
And yes, we all split this piece (although it was devoured pretttttty quickly). Even the icing was good and I HATE icing!

It's only 5 minutes from Times Square so if you're in New York and feel like something warm and hearty and delicious (and don't mind waiting about half an hour), head to Junior's!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New york, New yum

Over the holidays my family and I took a quick 2 day trip to New York and besides the fact that it was absolutely FREEZING we had an amazing time. Thought I'd share some of our food experiences as they were all incredible!

The cask beer is brewed right in the
back under the sign
On our first day, we had lunch at Eataly, which was definitely much more than just a supermarket with a restaurant.  The motto here is "We cook what we sell, and we sell what we cook", and that's not hard to believe when everywhere you turn is a different stand selling a different type of food. Produce, fish, meat, ice cream, even wine and homemade bread, this place literally has it all.  We didn't come to shop but I spent quite a while browsing the stands and sampling different foods throughout the market.  If that's not enough to wow you, this place has six different full-service restaurants, as well as 6 other caffe and deli-type eateries.  With that many choices it's impossible to find something you won't like here. We ate at Birreria, the rooftop patio (with a retractable roof, thank god). Specializing in brewing unfiltered, unpasteurized cask ale's just across the table where your siting, and serving Italian food with Austria and German influence, this is not something you want to miss on your New York trip.
The "Portabello" - $17: Grilled portabello mushrooms with
piquillo pepperonato and arugula
"Costolleta Di Maiale con Bomba" - $24: Bensmiller Farm (IA)
pork chop with fried fingerling potatoes, roasted onions, and
Calabrian bomba vinaigrette 
"Cotechino" - #21: Emilia Romagna inspired pork sausage with
fingering potatoes and arugula
"Insalata Cotta Crude" - $13: Romaine, artichoke, potato,
roasted onion, cauliflower, red cabbage, cucumber, olives
 Needless to say, everything tasted pretty amazing. Next time I want to come in the summer so I can fully reap the benefits of the rooftop patio!

More photos to come from the rest of the trip..



Thursday, January 5, 2012

Peachy keen french toast

Breakfast - my absolute favourite meal of the day. I'm usually a big fan of the yogurt/granola combination but on day's when I have more time (aka the holidays), I'm always down to try something a little more fun.  I found this recipe for a Peach french toast bake in the same magazine as my Baked shrimp with tomato and feta" (see below) called "Eat Smart" with Ellie Krieger, author of the best selling book "The Foods You Crave". The best thing about this dish is that it can be pre-made the night before in about 15 minutes, and just needs to be baked the next morning.
I've attached the recipe in the title but here is a basic run-down: Cut a baguette into 1/2 inch slices and arrange them in a single layer in a baking pan. Whisk together eggs, egg whites, milk and vanilla, and pour it in the pan.  Scatter peach slices over the bread and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight - SO EASY.

Next morning, bake at 350 until the bread is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Top with maple syrup, and add a side of yogurt.    
I added some blueberries I found in the fridge
You can mix it up with different fruits, I'm going to try it with apples or strawberries next time. Frozen fruit is fine for the winter but once summer rolls around, definitely switch to the fresh stuff!

Happy Thursday!

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