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Thursday, November 4, 2021

Lemon Ginger Noodles

I used to always keep ramen noodles in the pantry as their quick cooking time meant I could get dinner on the table in a hurry. I now use Haiku Asian Style Noodles instead. They have the same quick and easy cooking method but a much better taste and texture. They don’t come with their own seasoning, however, so I usually cook them in chicken stock. But if you’re looking for something to go under a stir fry, try this lemony, spicy trick. 1 Haiku Asian Style Noodles nest for each person (or 1 package ramen noodles if you’re on a student budget) water 1 Twinings Lemon and Ginger Herbal Tea bag Put enough water in a pot that the noodle nests will be submerged when they’re added. Bring to a boil. Add noodle nests and tea bag. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit 5 minutes. Remove tea bag, drain and serve.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Microwave Tea Cakes

Because you can’t make scones in the microwave. I’ve tried different recipes but they come out like rocks instead of flaky. While these small cakes don’t have the texture of scones, they are equally good for spreading with clotted cream and jam, and don’t require you to heat up the kitchen on a hot day.


1 cup margarine

¾ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

2 cups flour

3 ounces milk


Cream margarine and sugar. Add in vanilla and egg. Stir in flour and milk alternately. Drop by rounded tablespoons into bottom of regular-sized silicon muffin pan. Microwave on high for 2 ½ minutes, longer for a lower-powered microwave.


Makes 12 to 15

Monday, July 26, 2021

Found and Tested: Chex™ Muddy Buddies™ Bars

I found this recipe on the inside of a box of Chex™ cereal. I don’t normally print recipes that aren’t mine as I don’t want to take someone’s income away from them. In this case that seems unlikely – they want you to buy their cereal -so I’m reproducing it here. At the moment, it can also be found online.

This recipe has several things going for it. The ingredients are easy to find, it tastes of chocolate, it contains whole grain cereal so is a source of fibre, it doesn’t require use of an oven, and it’s gluten free (but check ingredient labels to make sure).

8 cups Rice Chex™ cereal
¼ cup butter or margarine
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
1 250 g bag miniature marshmallows (about 5 cups)

In large bowl, place cereal; set aside.

Spray 13 x 9-inch pan with cooking spray. In very large microwavable bowl, microwave butter, chocolate chips and peanut butter uncovered on High 1 minute. Stir; microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth.

Add marshmallows; toss until coated. Microwave uncovered on High 1 minute 15 seconds to 1 minute 45 seconds, stirring until mixture is well blended.

Immediately gently stir in cereal until evenly coated. Press cereal mixture evenly into pan using spatula sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle lightly with icing sugar. If desired, refrigerate about 20 minutes, or cool completely at room temperature until bars are set. Cut into 8 rows by 4 rows. Makes 32 bars.

Tips: For easy removal of bars, line pan with foil; grease or spray with nonstick cooking spray. When bars are set, use a spatula to lift entire recipe from pan. Cut into bars.

Store bars in refrigerator tightly covered if room temperature is warm and bars are too sticky. © General Mills

My Comments:

I followed the recipe as closely as I could given what I had on hand. There were a few differences.

I don’t keep cooking spray on hand so I greased the pan generously with margarine, using a paper towel.

I don’t own a “very large microwavable bowl” so I melted the margarine, chocolate chips, peanut butter and marshmallows in a large glass measuring cup, then added the contents to the large plastic bowl the cereal was in, rather than the other way around.

I only had regular marshmallows on hand so I quartered them with scissors and measured out 250 g with my kitchen scale.

I didn’t bother sprinkling the icing sugar on top.

The recipe was easy to make and came out fine and I would definitely make it again.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Found and Tested: Microwave Baked Cookies

The other day I wanted to bake cookies but I hate using the oven when I’ve got the air conditioner going full-blast. It just seems counterproductive. So I asked Google if it was possible to bake cookies in the microwave. Most of the sites it turned up were about baking single cookies in a mug, which is not a good option in my cookie-loving household. But there was one that dealt with half-a-dozen at a time. Check it out: here.

It’s not so much a microwave cookie recipe as a technique for making your favourite cookie recipe in the microwave. I just wanted to avoid heating up the kitchen, but this opens so many possibilities. Fresh, warm, home-baked cookies whenever you want. Well, maybe not the middle of the night. Pretty sure husband and cat would not appreciate the microwave beeping them out of a sound sleep.

I’ve tried it with both my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe and my favourite oatmeal cookie recipe. The chocolate chip ones came out perfect, if a bit pale, though I had to cook them much longer than the website suggests if I didn’t want to eat them off the pan with a spoon. Microwaves do vary, so you’ll need to experiment. The oatmeal cookies came out much thinner and chewier than usual but that could be more due to the fact that I accidentally used graham flour instead of whole wheat. They were still quite edible.

I was baking six at a time spaced around the edges of a round silicone cake pan placed on top of a microwave plate. It worked well and the cookies were easy to remove from the pan. For a shapelier cookie (important if you’re sticking two together with icing between them) you can place your cookie dough in scalloped silicone patty pans.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Oven-Baked French Toast

 4 slices white bread*

¼ cup butter

2/3 cup brown sugar, not pressed down

2 eggs

½ cup milk

4 slices cooked bacon

Pull out your bread slices and leave them to dry out about half-an-hour ahead of preparation. While it’s not necessary, it does help the bread absorb the egg mixture better.

Place the butter in the bottom of an 8-inch square glass pan+ and microwave until melted. Stir in the brown sugar. Place bread slices in the bottom of the pan over top of the butter/sugar mixture.

Beat eggs and milk together and pour over bread. Push down with a fork if necessary to make sure it all gets wet.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Place pan in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Flip bread slices over and cover with bacon slices. Bake for another 20 minutes.


Serves two.


*Villaggio’s brioche style works really well. You can use whole wheat, but the texture won’t be right.

+ You can use metal but you’ll have to find an alternative way to melt the butter and you’ll need to increase the oven temperature 25 degrees.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Found and Tested: Soft Ice Cream with Add-Ins

You know those delicious, served in a cup but eaten with a spoon ice-cream treats available at your favourite fast-food franchise? The ones with bits of candy or cookies stirred in? Turns out they’re super easy to make at home. Here’s where you can find the recipe:


All you need is milk, vanilla ice cream, and your favourite add-in. Actually, it’s good even without the add-in if you’ve just got a craving for soft ice cream. It makes two servings but can easily be multiplied.

It works best if you freeze your bowl and your mugs (the frosty variety with a layer of coolant in them work great) a couple of hours ahead. The mixture does need to be eaten immediately, as it starts to melt quickly.

My current favourite add-in is Reese Peanut Butter Oh Henry! which comes in chunks in a 180 gram bag. They’re fairly easy to chop small with a knife.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Chocolate Hay Bales

You’ve probably made those cookies that involve stirring cocoa, sugar and oatmeal on the stove and then dropping by spoonfuls onto waxed paper, whether you know them as chocolate macaroons (the name I grew up with), unbaked cookies (the name my husband grew up with) or chocolate haystacks. I think I got my recipe off a tin of Fry’s cocoa but there are lots of versions on the internet. I’ve always loved them, but found the process of forming them a sticky mess which usually ended up with several broken cookies. So I asked myself, what if I made them as squares? It works, and you save a lot of time as well, though of course there are fewer broken cookie bits to be, er, cleaned up by the cook.


3 cups sugar

9 tablespoons cocoa

¾ cup margarine

¾ cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ cups shredded coconut (if you don’t have any on hand, just add more oatmeal)

4 ½ cups INSTANT rolled oats.


Line the bottom and ends of a 9 x 13 cake pan with waxed paper, cutting or folding as needed, leaving a few inches overhanging at each end. No need to line the sides.

Combine sugar and cocoa together in a large measuring cup. Measure out coconut and oatmeal in another one. Melt margarine in a large saucepan. Stir in sugar/cocoa mixture. Stir in milk. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, coconut and rolled oats. Spoon into cake pan and spread evenly with spoon. Let cool.

Once set, you can use the ends of the waxed paper to remove the entire mass. Place on a large cutting board and cut into squares with a pizza cutter. Or you can leave them in the pan and cut with a knife, but the first method is easier.