Vegetarian Cannelloni – skip the meat today!

Canneloni2

Ok, lets just cut to the chase here: Cannelloni just don’t photograph well. They are definitely not the prettiest of the pastas. They are also not the easiest. All in all they are pretty much the nerdy and sort of uninteresting best friend of the Lasagne. You know, the one you wouldn’t date because he is too high maintenance. But I promise, what’s on the inside will be totally worth it.

Where was I? Right, talking pasta. – This recipe does require some patience so I prefer to make it on a Saturday because the mid-weekend is the best time to try out something more complicated with longer prep time or dough rising or else. Also gives me an opportunity to clean over the kitchen while food is in the oven. Yes I know, I am so industrious!

Canneloni1

Vegetarian Cannelloni
(serves 4)

  • 1 Onion
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 small Zucchini
  • 1 small Eggplant
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 4 – 5 Button Mushrooms
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup grated cheese (a mix of gouda, mozzarella and parmesan works well)
  • 2 1/2 cups of tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon each: Rosemary, Thyme, Sage and Oregano (or italian seasoning)
  • salt, pepper, olive oil for frying

Directions:

  1. If you have a food processor, now would be a good time to take it off the shelf! If you don’t, finely dice or shred all your vegetables. You want to cut them as small as possible so that you can pipe the filling into the cannelloni.
  2. Fry your vegetables in 2 tablespoons olive oil for about 5 minutes, season with salt, pepper and the italian spices, let cool completely.
  3. Mix the vegetable filling with the sour cream, cottage cheese and grated cheese. If you were impatient during step 2 the filling will still be warm and you will now have a goo of half melted cheese, ask me how I know!
  4. Transfer a portion of the veggie filling into a pastry bag or freezer bag with one corner cut off. Repeat until all Cannelloni are filled.
  5. Mix the remaining filling with the tomato sauce and spread evenly on top of the Cannelloni. The pasta should be completely covered.
  6. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes on 180C/360F. Poke a steak knife in to see if the pasta has softened.
  7. Enjoy!

ZIP IT!

Source: adapted from chefkoch.de

Pizza Crust – baking instead of buying!

Pizza1

I am not a big fan of the store-bought, ready-to-roll Pizza dough. For some reason it has a weird flavour to me, I don’t know? Preservatives? I can’t quite pinpoint it, but every time I am looking forward to Pizza and we were lazy and bought dough at the store I am disappointed, I’d rather pimp up a frozen Pizza with fresh ingredients to be honest.

This Pizza Crust is perfect – I will elaborate if you don’t mind because I know lots of people claim to have found the perfect dough and you feel most of them are lying, because they just like their Pizza different then you do. This crust is fluffy and airy but crunchy on the bottom, it holds up to extra sauce, extra cheese and extra pepperoni without getting soggy. If you love your Pizza thin and crispy feel free to move on now. If you are intrigued, read on and get your supplies ready!

Pizza2

If you have a stand mixer it is most convenient to make the dough with the hook attachment. It will look quite oily but I promise this will reduce after the dough has risen and it will not be oily at all after baking. You will need to plan ahead to make this but it is also possible to freeze it and make your own ready-to-roll crust. Simply spread the dough on a sheet of baking paper after the first rise, then cover with foil wrap and roll up. Fold up the edges and place in freezer bag. There you go! :)

Pizza3

Pizza Crust
(serves 4)

  • 500 grams flour
  • 2 teaspoons yeast or 1/2 cube fresh yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 250 ml milk
  • 1 tablespoon Italian spice or 1 pinch each: Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano and Sage

Instructions:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in a little bit of lukewarm milk.
  2. Mix all Ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  3. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover with foil wrap and let rise for about 2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
  4. Knead and divide the dough into 4 equal pieces for individual Pizza or spread on a baking sheet, you will not need additional oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise for another 30 minutes. Preheat the oven with your Pizza stone or turn a cookie sheet upside down instead.
  5. Add toppings of your choosing – I used pizza sauce, grated mozzarella, pepperoni, ham, button mushrooms, red bell pepper, onion rings and green olives.
  6. Bake at 200°C/390°F for 15 minutes.

ZIP IT!
Source: chefkoch.de

March Challenge: Project update!

Long time no see! :) I don’t know if you knew but it turns out that sewing is a very expensive and time-consuming hobby! I started out with visiting my local quilt shop to look out for some cute fabric. If you are ever in the area, Virka is a great place with an amazing selection of fabrics. I am always totally overwhelmed when I look around.

I figured it would be good for me to sew something small and rewarding. These baby bibs are also curved so a great opportunity to learn something besides straight stitching. I used the Tutorial from Sew-Funky and it was really easy to understand and well described.

Baby bibs

Afterwards I found a piece of curtain and designed my own apron :) Yes, I am very proud of that. I added pleats and pockets and everything. And an apron is only half a skirt anyways so I am halfway there! The pockets were also made of some fabric I found at Virka. I used it last christmas to sew little bags for gifts from the kitchen and had some scraps left.

Apron

I might have gotten a little ahead of myself in the Euphoria about my first “original design” and purchased a Burda easy dress sewing pattern… I opened the envelope and was so intimidated that I closed it right away. But I have another week for this challenge so I will take another look at it tomorrow in the fresh light of day.

So far I have learned that french braiding is a lot easier than sewing. :) Sewing needs more preparation and takes a lot longer than I expected. – Hey, I knit, it takes longer to knit a sweater than to sew but still: instant gratification needed! Stay tuned for more sewing updates, I have also prepped 2 new recipes for you -> coming soon!

Butterscotch Brownies – baking instead of buying!

Butterscotch

So we all know impulse buys, right? It is not only me? You should never go and shop while you’re hungry and you should especially never visit the baking aisle without having a vague idea of what you want to bake and what you need for it. If you ignore all the good advice you end up like me, with a bag of butterscotch chips and no idea what to make of it.

In my search for the perfect and deserving butterscotch “something” I ended up on one of my favorite blogs: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. Over time I have tried a lot of her recipes and they were almost always excellent so I went for it.

On a sidenote: These Brownie Bars were made for the man in my life to take to work last Saturday because I firmly believe that when you have to work on a Saturday you should at least get cake, or cookies, or brownies, or cupcakes – or all of the above. The remainder was then taken to my workplace, so these bars have been taste-tested by roughly 30 people and all of them asked for more :)

I will probably adapt the frosting next time, I did not follow the instructions completely so I can’t blame Mel, but my frosting did not harden as well as expected. I waited a couple of hours and then decided to spread it on the cake and let it rest overnight in the fridge.

Bad idea, don’t do that. Do what Mel tells you to. My frosting ran off the cake and left me with a thin layer on top and a pool of frosting on the bottom of my pan. But as you can see in the picture: Made it work and it was well received!

Please also take a look at my adorable Easter decorations! I will tell you all about these in a separate post :)

Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe – Butterscotch Brownie Bars

Button Originals: Greek Style Salad with Couscous

So I do like Couscous. What I like most about Couscous is that it is done quickly and doesn’t require lots of preparation. My friend Nina who worked with me some 5 years ago would just make some couscous as a quick dinner for herself – using just her electric kettle. I was so impressed that I have stored the information in the back of my brain and still remember today.

1 part couscous + 2 parts boiling water + 1/2 bouillon cube

There you go, this is even easier as cake! :) I usually just take my measuring cup and eyeball it. The Couscous will double in volume and is very filling so I use roughly 1/2 cup for 4 portions as a side dish, where I would use 1 cup of rice. Please also read your package instructions and make sure you wait the proper amount of time for the Couscous to rest.

Greek1

If you have never had Couscous before, try this sort of european style recipe. I once had instant Moroccan Couscous and it was just plain gross. I promise, this is nothing like it! When we have fish at buttonsprouts’ I like to serve this greek style salad with couscous. Very quick and yum and wholesome. What more do you need?

Greek Style Salad with Couscous
(serves 4)

  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 small glass of green Olives stuffed with paprika paste
  • 1 small glass Feta cubes in herb or garlic oil
  • 1 handful baby spinach (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of couscous
  • 1/2 bouillon cube or 1 cup fresh vegetable bouillon
  • freshly ground salt and pepper

Directions:

    1. Finely dice your vegetables while boiling 1 cup of water in the electric kettle or on the stove. Wash your spinach thoroughly.
    2. Prepare couscous and the 1/2 bouillon cube in a heat-resistant bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Stir well so the cube dissolves completely. Set aside.
    3. Spice salad with freshly ground salt and pepper. Drain Olives and mix in.
    4. Drain Feta, keeping a small amount of the oil aside as salad dressing.
    5. Fluff up the couscous and mix all ingredients well. Serve with fried fish or fresh baguette!

ZIP IT!

Naan Bread – baking instead of buying!

Naan1

I am a little bit of a cheapskate when it comes to buying Naan, we actually haven’t bought any in over a year because I can make better at home and not pay an arm and a leg! It is actually super easy, even if you do not have much experience with yeast dough. Just beware! After trying these babies store-bought Naan bread will taste like spiced cardboard to you!

If you have a stand mixer it is most convenient to make the dough with the hook attachment. I make it with the Kitchenaid. Funny anecdote: While the Kitchenaid Artisan Stand Mixer is present on most wedding registries, my family was surprised that I wanted one for my 30th Birthday. I mean, why would you wait with baking until you’re married? That is just crazy talk! – So I got the Kitchenaid for my birthday, my BFF and the dearest BF had collected money from everyone who seemed like they wanted to buy me something for this occasion and I ended up with the beautiful Ferrari Red limited edition. First time my dad came to visit he did this dad thing: “Na?? Are you using it often?” – Yes, I am. :)

Naan2

Naan Bread
(yield 15 breads)

  • 500 grams flour
  • 4 teaspoons yeast or 1 cube fresh yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 250 grams plain yogurt
  • sesame seeds
  • garlic powder
  • cilantro

Instructions:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in a little bit of lukewarm milk.
  2. Mix all Ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add more milk if the dough looks too dry, it should be smooth and elastic.
  3. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover with foil wrap and let rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
  4. Knead and divide the dough into about 15 small flatbreads. Preheat the oven.
  5. Mix a small amount of Olive Oil with sesame seeds and garlic powder. Lightly brush the breads with the seasoning – you can add some dried cilantro if you like.
  6. Bake at 200°C/390°F for 15 minutes.

ZIP IT!
Source: chefkoch.de

Button Originals: 5-a-day Smoothie

Smoothie1

To be clear: Smoothies are for the lazy! Yes, you heard me. If you have blender it should really take you a total of 2 – 5 minutes to make a Smoothie and clean up after yourself. If you are not convinced about this, ask Anna and you will find a quick and easy way to clean your blender!

So back on track: Smoothies are for the lazy. You can basically throw in all the fruit and vegetables you are supposed to eat, mix them with some liquid and you are good to go! I mainly make them in the afternoon because I need something savoury in the mornings but it would also give you a great start in the day! This is a recipe I just invented and will definitely make more often in the near future.

Smoothie2

5 a day Smoothie
(makes 1 large glass)

  • 1 cup of frozen fruit (I used strawberry, apple, berry mix)
  • 1 handful of baby spinach
  • 3 tablespoons granola or müsli (I used my homemade Granola from the BBC GoodFood website)
  • 1 cup of Vanilla soy milk
  • 1/3 cup apple juice

Directions:

    1. Blend all ingredients together smoothly, add some more apple juice when the mixture is too thick and your blender does not rotate properly.
    2. Serve in a large glass with a straw :)

ZIP IT!

Prepping for Easter! (free printable)

Yay!

2 more printables here for you to use for Easter!

I adore the little bunny place cards for your Easter brunch, you can also use them as labels but I arranged them upside down so that you can use them as tiny place cards and write names on both sides.

EastergreenroundBunnycards

Bunnycards

Eastergreenroundlabel

The green ones totally bring me into the mood to plant something and clean my house, don’t they? We started March with a blizzard and I sincerely hope I will be able to finish the month sitting on the balcony in my jammies! :)

If you like the printable please leave me a comment and let me know what you will use it for!

March Challenge: Learn to sew!

Another Challenge for myself on the path to becoming a better me and keeping up with my resolutions!

In case you have wondered:

  • Kitchen is still clean!
  • I have mastered the art of French Braiding!

For March I will improve my sewing skills!

image by Craftsy.com

I have pinned a lot of inspiration on my Pinterest sewing board and I will get started next week. (since I will also use up my vacation then – very convenient!)

One of the goals is to wet my toes with Quilting small things, Mugrugs seem to be the new thing! (not entirely sure what I would use them for but who doesn’t start crafting for Christmas gifts in March, right? – call this a head start.)

Second goal is to make something wearable, I am thinking a skirt or failing this probably something for babies to wear. I have tried this with knitting and it is a lot easier to practise things on a smaller scale. I for example learned how to add pockets to any kind of garment by practising on a baby cardigan. Yes, Babies do not actually need pockets since their motor skills still lack, but tiny pockets are cute!

Anyone is welcome to join me!