What Katie Cooks

Repurposing

Posted by on Jan 13, 2014 in What Katie Cooks | 0 comments

I’m in the midst of repurposing this blog a bit. Before, it was called “Budgetarian”, in which I would attempt to post meals on a budget. I’ve lost a lot of interest in that and now have been developing much different recipes. I’ll keep up the old posts, and I won’t change them, but expect the posts to come to be focused a lot more on the quality of the food instead of the cost of the food. Most of these recipes will be easy, because I’m pretty lazy. In the meantime, while I’m getting my act together, feel free to check out my Instagram for my food postings! Almost all of the food I post is food that I have cooked or contributed to in some way. Follow me @thegreenefaerie. I also tweet about food fairly often, so follow me @KCooperWriting for more info. I have a few recipes and photos that I hope to post in the next few days. Let’s hope, together, that this blog will be more of an inspirational piece in the future!...

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Peanut and Cheese Loaf

Posted by on Sep 14, 2012 in What Katie Cooks | 1 comment

Peanut and Cheese Loaf

For two weeks in May, my husband and I visited England together. We visited London, Charlbury, and Stratford-Upon-Avon. During our stay in Charlbury, we were housed in a lovely little spot called the Stable. The Stable is a self-catering cottage with full amenities, including an oven and stove top. During some of the rainy days, I would take the opportunity to shut in and do a bit of cooking. The Stable’s owners had thankfully supplied the building with cook books–we didn’t have internet access, so the cook books were my only way of finding recipes. I found this one and made it once, then made a couple of alterations so it suited my purposes more! Prep time: 20 minutesServes: 4Cooking time: 40 minutesDifficulty: easyCost: About $10 Ingredients-1/3 cup chopped peanuts-1/3 cup chopped mushrooms-1/2 cup breadcrumbs-1 tbsp dried mixed herbs-1/2 onion, chopped-1 small potato, grated-1 medium carrot, grated-3/4 cup grated cheddar-2 eggs, beaten Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, then spoon into a greased loaf tin or ring mold. Cook in oven for 40 minutes. TIP: Sprinkle some extra cheddar on top for an extra cheesy taste. Garnish with salad ingredients if on its own–see picture for what I did with nasturtiums. Try substituting with cashews for a “meatier” texture. This dish is ridiculously easy and is a fantastic substitute for meat loaf. It’s very filling and one loaf will serve a large slice for 4 people. Double it up for an easy potluck offering. A quick blog-related note: I know I haven’t been updating much, but we recently moved into a house and I’ve been cooking up a storm, so more updates should be coming before...

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The growing autumn

Posted by on Aug 31, 2012 in Life in Writing, Uncategorized, What Katie Cooks | 0 comments

I had a beautiful dream this morning, just before I woke up. The dream’s setting was a spot that my friends and I used to visit when we were in high school. It would usually be three of us–me and two others–but sometimes another would join us, too. We would spend full days up there, climbing trees, talking, playing games. It was a special spot only we knew about. Years later, one of those friends is now my husband. Just this past week, he and I took a visit to this spot to see if it was still there. While a large quarry has formed nearby, disturbing some of the peace and removing a large part of the path to the spot, the spot itself remained completely in tact. A circle of stones rested perfectly at its entrance, almost undisturbed by time, save for a few fallen branches. A staff from years before was sitting by a tree, the only hint of time being the light moss that had begun to cover it. One of the biggest differences from before was a collection of multicoloured mushrooms that had popped up here and there–some of them were bright orange, though we also found a few black-purple ones. In this dream, I was alone, walking through the area and gazing up at the trees and sky. For some reason, I could see the sky a little better than I could if I were really there. It was the bright blue of a clear day, with only a few white, fluffy clouds. A large spruce tree heavy with cones towered over me. In my dream, I thought to myself that I should go there alone more often. It was cut short when I woke up, but it lasted long enough to leave me with a pleasant mental image. Maybe it was the pure blue of the sky, but something made me think of summer. When I woke up, I was met with the jarring darkness that comes from the end of August: the sunrise coming later in the morning–the orange-gold morning light that comes from a waning existence. Seeing light of that colour reminds me of a section of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead: GUIL: It’s autumnal. ROS: (examining the ground) No leaves. GUIL: Autumnal — nothing to do with leaves. It is to do with a certain brownness at the edges of the day… Brown is creeping up on us, take my word for it… Russets and tangerine shades of old gold flushing the very outside edge of the senses… deep shining ochres, burnt umber and parchments of baked earth — reflecting on itself and through itself, filtering the light. At such times, perhaps, coincidentally, the leaves might fall, somewhere, by repute. Yesterday was blue, like smoke. The last days of summer are melting away, but 21 days of September remain before the equinox hits and the summer is considered truly over.  Those 21 days still have a remaining possibility to them, as though there is still so much left to accomplish. Though it’s all but officially over, I’m still not ready to give the summer up. I didn’t always (or, really, ever) like summer as a child, but now that I’m an adult I have grown to really...

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Kale chips

Posted by on Jun 25, 2011 in What Katie Cooks | 0 comments

Kale chips

One of the most annoying things about eating healthy while on a budget has to be coming up with simultaneously delicious snacks. I’ll go into detail with that in a further post. For now, though, I have a recipe for you. Kale is a cabbage-like vegetable frequently grown for ornamental use, due to how pretty it is! It is a very healthy vegetable, however, that tastes much like broccoli. It’s high in vitamins A and C, and also is a source of manganese, calcium and iron. Kale can be used in any number of dishes, particularly salads. It does, however, make a fantastic and easy snack that only takes about twenty minutes to make. Most of that time is spent baking! Honestly, I never knew that a vegetable could melt in your mouth until I tried these. Prep time: 10 minutesServes: the same amount a large bag of chips will serve! (1 if you’re snacking like a fiend, 4 if you’re not!)Cooking time: 12-15 minutesDifficulty: super easyCost: Under $5 Ingredients-kale-1 tbsp. olive oil-a sprinkling of coarse salt TIP: You can half this recipe if you are making it for only yourself. If you’re going to eat the kale chips over the course of a few days, don’t make it all at once or you’ll risk having some soggy kale chips. The oil will seep in completely and make them quite chewy. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take a bunch of kale. You can buy kale at the grocery store for roughly $3, or you can grow your own. Make sure the kale is well washed, but let it dry. Separate kale in to small pieces and place in large mixing bowl. Pour olive oil and toss, then add a small amount of coarse salt. Toss until all kale is covered with oil and salt is evenly distributed. Take kale and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 7 minutes, then remove, turn once, and bake for another 7 minutes. If kale chips are crispy, they are done! If not, bake them for another few minutes. Do not overcook or they will taste and smell burnt and nasty. Let them cool a bit and dig in! To me, the flavor is a cross between dulse and potato chips. I hope to have more on inexpensive healthy snacks in the week to come! To add, I will also likely be doing another cooking video in the future due to… demand? That’s right. People actually enjoyed the video. The only thing is that I need stuff to cook! So… ideas, if you...

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Using your noodle

Posted by on Jun 10, 2011 in What Katie Cooks | 0 comments

Using your noodle

Being on a constant fiddlehead binge of late, I knew a couple of weeks ago that I wanted to make a pasta dish with fiddleheads next. I’d tried them as a side dish and in a soup, and it was time to mix them in with a pasta. What I produced was a light-tasting dish that was filling and satisfying, and of course beautifully cheap! If you look at the picture to the right, you’ll see that it’s also got a cute curliness to it. (Matching bowl not included!) Prep time: 30 minutesServes: 4-6 peopleCooking time: under an hourDifficulty: moderateCost: Under $10 Ingredients -spaghetti noodles-fiddleheads-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped-1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil-1 tsp. lemon juice-1 tbsp. basil-salt and pepper, to taste-1 tsp. white wine (optional) Start by chopping the garlic. Cook very slowly on low heat in 1/2 tsp. olive oil, the lemon juice, and the white wine, if you opted for white wine. Add a sprinkle of salt. Allow to cook until the garlic becomes plump and golden brown. While the garlic is cooking, prepare and cook the fiddleheads in the fashion I mentioned before. When they have finished, briefly cook them (only for about five minutes) in the garlic. Boil the spaghetti until it is cooked to your liking, then strain it. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. basil, and toss until the basil is evenly distributed. After, toss in garlic and fiddleheads as well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add some parmesan cheese if you want! And there you have it. A lovely spaghetti dish with lots of omega-3 fatty acids and tons of flavor. The secret lies in slow-cooking the garlic so it soaks up the lemon juice and wine flavors, which complement the piquant garlic perfectly. Now then, if you’re a little confused by the whole process of cooking fiddleheads, I’ve created a very handy video guide. The only downside is that you have to put up with my inane prattling for about five minutes. I put some music in to make it marginally entertaining for you. Enjoy! I will also be updating the “how to cook fiddleheads” post with this video so you can see my ugly mug every time you search for how to make fiddleheads. Do have fun. This will probably be my final fiddlehead post until next year, as fiddleheads are sadly almost out of season, and thinking up another recipe probably requires more brain power than I have...

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Fancysimplecheap Strawberry Sauce

Posted by on Jun 8, 2011 in What Katie Cooks | 0 comments

Fancysimplecheap Strawberry Sauce

How do you know I’m happy? I cook. And cook, and cook, and cook. Case in point, the other night my fiance brought home good news from work. I was so happy, I cooked his favourite meal (curry with rice), then proceeded to get creative and make a strawberry sauce to put on ice cream. The results were pretty good, so I thought I would share with all one of you who are reading this! This is a surprisingly easy to make, but still decidedly fancy, sauce. Do whatever you please with it, for it is also very versatile. Prep time: 5 minutesServes: 2-4 people (depending on what you do with it)Cooking time: 30 minutesDifficulty: SUPER easyCost: Under $5 (use whatever liquor you have in your cupboard! Ingredients -1 pint strawberries, chopped finely-1 tsp vanilla-2 tsp sugar-splash of dark rum (or champagne, vodka or fruit wine… whatever you have lying around, really! I used dark rum) Cook SLOWLY, covered on low heat. Do not boil. 30 min. When the mixture appears to be half solid and half liquid, remove from heat and leave covered to stand and thicken. Try adding raspberries or rhubarb. Pour over ice cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet, or add to strawberry shortcake! Good fresh and hot, or chilled. A quick note to add that I am doing another fiddlehead recipe before the season is over, and I’m currently editing a video to accompany that! Yes I did a cooking video. It should be up within the end of the week. The video may come before the recipe, in fact, because I’m weird like that. Keep an eye...

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Feisty Fiddlehead Soup

Posted by on May 16, 2011 in What Katie Cooks | 0 comments

The other day, I taught you a method to clean and cook fiddleheads that results in some tender, tasty little greens. Today I’m going to make use of that method to make a colourful soup with a creamy potato base. This dish takes awhile to make, so keep that in mind when you decide to cook it. You’ll want to start it early in the afternoon in order to have it ready for supper. Prep time: 1 hourServes: 2-4 peopleCooking time: 2-3 hoursDifficulty: ModerateCost: Under $20 Ingredients -3 or 4 large potatoes, chopped-1 carrot, finely chopped-1-2 cups fiddleheads-3 green onions or mild leeks-4 cloves garlic-2 cups (soy) milk-5 cups water-salt, pepper and spices to taste-1 tbsp. cooking oil of choice-1 tbsp. butter or margarine-2 bay leaves-1 stalk celery, finely chopped Start by washing the potatoes and peeling them (if you wish. I didn’t peel mine because potato skin is very nutritious and will add texture to the soup), then chopping them and boiling them. While the potatoes are boiling, prepare your fiddleheads using the method I suggested last time. Proceed to cook them as I described also. TIP: Make sure they are fully cooked but don’t over-cook, or you’ll risk losing flavor! Finely chop the garlic cloves and saute them in oil in a frying pan until they are just brown. When the potatoes have finished boiling, mash them and add some milk and butter/margarine. When the garlic has been sauteed, add it to the mashed potatoes. Transfer potatoes to a large pot. Chop the leek/green onions and add them to the mashed potatoes. Finely chop the carrots and celery as well and add them, too. Pour the water, milk, and add spices into the pot with the mashed potato mixture. Stir well. Simmer over medium heat and add fiddleheads. Cover and leave to simmer, careful not to boil. Continue to add herbs and spices to taste. This should result in a creamy and flavorful soup. TIP: If the soup is not quite as thick as you’d like, try adding some instant mashed potatoes as the soup is...

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Fantastic Fiddleheads

Posted by on May 13, 2011 in What Katie Cooks | 0 comments

Fantastic Fiddleheads

Spring time is one of the most highly-anticipated times of year for dwellers of eastern Canada. The melting of the snow and longer days give way to thoughts of summertime, and eliminate the depression of the short, cold days of winter. In addition to that, it’s also the time to harvest fiddleheads. Fiddleheads are a wild vegetable that grows, typically, in the east. New Brunswick, where I’m from, is full of them, and Quebec and the eastern United States also find the little green coils springing up come May. The fiddlehead is a vegetable that is the youngest part of various species of fern, and produces a tender yet savory flavour. Fiddleheads are considered a popular seasonal option for vegetarians, vegans and carnivores alike because they are a fitting accompaniment to any meal and go especially well with potatoes. They can become a flavourful base for soups, creating a meal on its own. They are also high in nutrients, such as vitamins A and C, potassium, folate, iron and fibre. In addition, they have antioxidant activity and are a source of Omega 3 and 6. Cooking them properly is very important, as they are wild vegetables that grow close to the ground and do tend to have dirt caught up in their coils. Cleaning them properly is also important. I’m going to go over how best to clean them and one, very basic, way to cook them, in this post. Considering I just cooked half my bag and have another half waiting, I may have another recipe surfacing over the next couple of days. For now, though, we’ll go with this. This recipe is going based on 1 lb. of fiddleheads, which should produce a fair serving for up to 4 people. I paid $4 for a pound, which is reasonable for a side dish so rich in vitamins and minerals. It seems like I will get 2 meals out of it, too, so that’s a bonus! The best thing about fiddleheads is that they are naturally grown and rarely cultivated, so you can go for a walk in the woods and may find a bunch of them. Picking them is a whole other animal, so I won’t get into it here (though here is a great site for tips on picking fiddleheads), but keep in mind that picking them will make them a FREE FEED for you. What’s better than free food when on a budget?! Prep time: 30-45 minutesServes: 2-4 peopleCooking time: 20-30 minutes (depending on whether you boil them and have that be all, or if you saute them afterward)Difficulty: ModerateCost: roughly $5/lb… free if you pick your own! Start by cleaning the fiddleheads. You should remove any yellow or brown parts and trim the stems, especially if the fronds are not freshly picked. Place them in a bowl and leave them to soak for about 10 minutes. I went the extra mile and changed the water to leave them to soak a little longer. After they are cleaned to your satisfaction, boil them on high for about 10 minutes. Change the water, then bring them to a boil once more for another 10. After this, you may strain them and serve them with some butter. Try adding hollandaise sauce if you’re in the mood for...

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Autumn Harvest Pie

Posted by on Oct 12, 2010 in What Katie Cooks | 0 comments

Autumn Harvest Pie

Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in Canada, and while most families were spending hours cooking turkeys, I opted for a Tofurky meal instead. My fiance unfortunately didn’t get the chance to have a home-cooked meal with his family this weekend, so I decided to whip up something extra special for him. I had been toying with the idea for a few weeks, and I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to try it. What resulted was a vegetarian, Thanksgiving version of a shepherd’s pie that I have dubbed Autumn Harvest Pie. This takes all of your standard Thanksgiving dinner components and puts them together in one convenient dish. Prep time: 30 minutesServes: 4-6 peopleCooking time: 2-4 hours (ingredients cook separately as well. Amount of time depends on whether or not you have more pots than I do!)Difficulty: ModerateCost: Under $20Classification: Vegetarian, easily made vegan Ingredients – 1 medium-sized squash of choice (I used buttercup)– 5 potatoes– 2 large carrots– 1 small onion– 3 cloves garlic– 5-6 slices Tofurky deli slices (if you want a thick layer of Tofurky, use a whole package)– 1 tsp. cinnamon– sprinkle nutmeg– 2 slices bread– 1/4 cup (soy) milk– butter or margarine– 1 can vegetarian-or-vegan-friendly gravy – 3 tbsp. cooking oil of choice (e.g., olive oil)– herbs and spices of choice (e.g., garlic salt, chives, oregano, basil, dill) Tools– Numerous pots and pans with lids– casserole dish Directions Begin by cooking squash. Cut and separate the flesh of the squash, and boil. Mash the squash with butter/margarine and (soy) milk. Add half the cinnamon and nutmeg, and (optional) 1/2 tsp. of brown sugar. Coat the bottom of the casserole dish with the squash, then sprinkle the remaining cinnamon and nutmeg on top. Next, chop the cloves of garlic and place in a pot with the cooking oil. Cook on low. Chop carrots while garlic is cooking, then add in. Chop onion, then add and turn up the heat a bit. Put the cover on and continue to cook until carrots are tender. While this is cooking, shred Tofurky into very small pieces and coat the layer of squash. See the picture on the right for how it should look. Do this until the layer of squash is completely covered by shredded Tofurky pieces. Now is a good time to preheat the oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit. Place potatoes in a pot with water. I left the skins on, because the skin is very nutritious, and it also adds nice colour to your dish. Bring to a boil, then cover. Cook until tender. Remove from heat, drain. Mash with butter/margarine and (soy) milk and some salt. Whip until potatoes have a uniform, creamy texture. Layer carrot, onion and garlic mixture on top of the layer of Tofurky. Now, for my favourite part: open the can of gravy and pour evenly over the carrot layer. It should look like the picture to the left. Layer mashed potato carefully over the gravy. This part can be sort of tricky so take care while spreading the potato over top. Finely crumble bread into small pieces and sprinkle on top of the potato. This is considered the “stuffing” part of your meal so feel free to add a small amount of cooked onion or celery as well, if you...

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Poppin’ some corn

Posted by on May 20, 2010 in What Katie Cooks | 1 comment

Poppin’ some corn

I was over at a friend’s house last night, and she told me she was going to make some popcorn. I got very excited, because popcorn is delicious and it’s one of my favourite snacks. To my surprise, instead of grabbing a bag of microwave popcorn, she pulled a bag of kernels from her cupboard. I didn’t think she had an air popper, and it turns out I was right. She was going to use her stove top. What followed was a fun and really easy way to make popcorn at home, without having to worry about buying an extra machine like an air popper, and without all the fat and sodium content of your average bagged popcorn. In addition, it’s ridiculously cheap! Everything but the kernels will likely be something you use in your house already, so all you’ll need to buy will be the bag of kernels, which only cost me $2.19 for 1 kg. This will make you a lot of popcorn; at least 5 pots worth. Prep time: Less than five minutesServes: 2-4 peopleCooking time: Less than five minutesDifficulty: Super easyCost: Roughly $0.50 per serving! Ingredients – popcorn kernels– cooking oil of your choice– 1 tbsp. margarine/butter (optional)– salt to taste (optional)– other seasonings (I like my popcorn with ranch dressing. Shut up, it’s good!) Tools – a medium pot with lid– a large bowl Start by adding just enough oil to the pot to coat the bottom. Add enough kernels to do the same–you shouldn’t be able to see the bottom of the pot. It may not sound like much, but trust me, this much will make a lot of popcorn. Put the pot on the stove, and the lid on the pot, with just enough of an opening for steam to escape. Turn on the heat to high, and wait by the stove to hear popping sounds. Once the corn starts popping rapidly, reduce the heat to medium. When popping has slowed considerably, remove pot from heat. Caution! When removing the lid from the pot, stray kernels could still pop. Keep the pot away from your face! Put popped corn in a large bowl. You may then melt your butter or margarine in the same pot you used to pop the corn, over low heat. Once it is melted, pour over popcorn while shaking gently to ensure it is evenly spread. Add salt, and shake to even it out as well. Add other seasonings if desired. Enjoy! If you’re a parent, this is a great way to do some bonding with your kids before a movie. If you have a glass dome on your cooking pot, you can watch the popcorn as it’s popping. Even if you don’t have kids, watching the popcorn pop is interesting (in a rather silly way, if I might) as well. Making this popcorn can give you a salty snack without spending the extra money on other junk foods. It’s very cheap, and it’s fun and easy to make. Since you can make it however you like, you don’t need to worry about whether or not the ingredients are vegetarian or vegan. As an added bonus, you have no preservatives or additives. There’s no reason to buy overpriced bagged popcorn...

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