Very Berry Virgin Mojito

I hate summer – really, I do!  But, that’s no excuse not to partake in a refreshing and delightful summery drink like this Very Berry Virgin Mojito.  Before you get your knickers in a knot, yes, you can most certainly undo the virgin part by adding a good splash of rum! WANT AN ALCOHOLIC VERSION? JUST ADD A SPLASH OF RUM! As for me, John.e, and of course, McKenna, we like our drinks to be virgin.  John.e and I never consume alcohol. He doesn’t like the taste at all. And, I tend to be very picky with what I like and dislike. No matter the type of alcohol though, I will immediately break out in sweat. I get so overheated on just a sip or two. For those reasons, we tend to make virgin drinks only. Because I am not very well versed in the amount of alcohol to add to a drink such as this, I had to research it. From what I can tell, most people add just one shot of their favourite rum to one cup of the mix. Does that sound right to you? It sounds like a lot to me, but then again, I have…

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Homemade Mozzarella Sticks

Last weekend, while John.e and McKenna went into town to pick up pizza for dinner, I decided to make some appetizers. One of those was 3 Cheese Jalapeno Poppers. With quite a few jalapenos and lots of cheese on hand, I knew they would go great with pizza! The other appetizer I prepared were these Homemade Mozzarella Sticks. We are cheese lovers, so we could handle three food items with lots of cheese. You have live a little once in a while, right!? Besides, we have been staying at our house since the lock down started, so we can indulge a little. EATING IS WHAT I DO BEST LATELY! Everyone on social media seems to be talking about the fact that they are eating more now that things are at a standstill. The same applies to me. There are a few reasons for this. First, I blog about food, so I’m always baking or cooking something. Seriously, Dear Reader, I prepare recipes every single day. When we were told that we could start working from home, we packed up our computers and the cats and all three of us headed to the house. After all, there was really no reason to…

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Classic Ermine Frosting

When I was younger, my mom would often make a cake on the weekends. She loved to bake and would make many cakes from scratch. I have fashioned my Tomato Soup Cake after her version. And she would make Gumdrop Cake quite often too. But when it comes to regular, everyday baking, she would just break out a boxed cake mix. It was very rarely chocolate or vanilla though. Nope, she preferred the flavoured cakes. Should loved the yellow cake, and she would make the cherry chip cake often enough. Whatever flavour she picked, it was topped with one of two things. The first was Dream Whip. There was always a box of that in the cupboard. If it wasn’t that, it was Ermine Frosting. Of course, she never used the word frosting in her life. She called everything icing. I remember mom using the flour-based frosting, but it took me years to track down the recipe. Finally, here it is in all it’s glory! WHAT IS CLASSIC ERMINE FROSTING? I’ve tried to put into words – to describe – what this frosting is, but I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. I found this description on the Wilton website…

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Sweet Jalapeno Pork

It seems that I cannot get enough of jalapenos lately. I’ve been experimenting with them a lot. If you’re a Lord Byron’s Kitchen fan, you might have noticed that I have been posting jalapeno inspired recipes lately. I swear, I’m almost over it! What happens to me quite often. I will find a new ingredient and I’ll run with it until I grow tired of it. I’m doing it with jalapenos now, but I’ve done it before with shallots, butternut squash, and even Brussels sprouts! But, I think jalapenos have been winning in terms of recipe popularity. It seems that everyone loves jalapenos! Once you’ve finished with this recipe, I encourage you to consider my 3 Cheese Jalapeno Poppers, these Jalapeno Corn Muffins, and also, my Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad. If you’ve never grilled jalapenos before, you must try it! FRYING JALAPENOS In this recipe, the pork and the sliced jalapenos are tossed in the same batter and fried in the same manner. I sliced the jalapenos about 1/4 inch thick and left the seeds in. As you know, Dear Reader, it’s the seeds that make the jalapenos spicy. If you remove them, the jalapeno is mild and sweet. Because I wanted the spiciness, I left…

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Chicken and Asparagus Teriyaki

This is one of those recipes that I threw together for myself one night and loved it. Sometimes, I swear, I put more thought into what I’m going to prepare for John.e than I do myself. Being that he’s a vegetarian, it requires more thought and more planning. One particular night I had dinner all planned. But I forgot about what I was going to have. I had chicken and asparagus in the fridge. There was also a jar of my homemade 10 Minute Teriyaki Sauce. That’s pretty much all I needed to make this delicious stir fry. Let’s talk a little bit about the ingredients, and then I’ll tell you all about my homemade teriyaki sauce. You should have a jar of it in your fridge at all times. It’s so versatile! CHICKEN BREASTS AND OTHER CONSIDERATIONS Our fridge is never without boneless and skinless chicken breasts. Yes, I know they can be quite boring. But, they’re also quite fast to cook. Chicken breasts have a bad reputation for being dry. But, that’s only because they were not prepared properly. Chicken breast meat is very lean, healthy, and high in protien. That leanness is exactly why the cook up very…

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Red Berry Swirl Tartlets

In the world of food blogging, Canada Day is one particular celebration that’s almost completely void of food that mimics the colours and/or patriotic symbolism of this beautiful country. Here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen, I have a few recipes that celebrate America’s Fourth of July. So, this year, I decided to up my Canada Day recipe game as well. ARE CANADIANS AS PATRIOTIC AS AMERICANS? Using the word patriotic to describe Canada is not something I feel really comfortable with doing. It’s not that Canucks aren’t a proud people; I think it’s the fact that Canadians are modest and humble. Of course, I’m not stating that in contrast, Americans aren’t those things as well. But, it seems that America loves a good excuse to host a party! You must admit, my Dear American Reader, the Fourth of July is a huge deal for you. Just a few years ago, while writing up a recipe, I found some facts about America’s Independence Day. I stumbled upon a fact sheet which I found extremely interesting. The website had compiled a list of Fourth of July food consumption. THE TRUTH IS IN THE NUMBERS Americans consume around 155 million hot dogs on the Fourth…

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Puff Pastry Cream Cheese Fruit Tarts

If you’re a loyal reader, you will mostly like know already that home for me is Canada. To be more precise, we call Toronto home. There’s a positive side to living in a metropolis. Everything is readily available and pretty much at your finger tips. But, I long for a quiet life in the country. But, just because I live in Canada, that does not mean that I cannot celebrate and prepare a recipe for Independence Day. I love living in Canada, but I’m very much drawn to the United States. You know, Dear Reader, that I have a weakness for shopping and for country decor, and I find those things in the US. I have a full on love affair with Trader Joe’s (which we don’t have here in Canada) and I love Target and Barnes & Noble. In addition to my attraction to obviously materialistic things, a large portion of subscribers and readers of Lord Byron’s Kitchen resides in the United States. So, for those readers, I prepared these delicious and super easy Puff Pastry Cream Cheese Fruit Tarts. (Don’t worry, my Canadian readers, there’s a special Canada Day-based treat coming for you in a few days!) STORE BOUGHT PUFF…

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Guacamole with Charred Corn and Tomatoes
Guacamole with Charred Corn and Tomatoes

Guacamole with Charred Corn and Tomatoes

I have spent most of my life avoiding guacamole as much as possible. Prior to me preparing dishes on my own, every guacamole I had found was loaded with cilantro. I hate cilantro. I’m one of those people who will argue that cilantro tastes like soap. Now, I’m not sure if you’ve ever had a mouthful of soap, but if you did, you would understand why guacamole was avoided. A few years ago, I discovered dried cilantro. I took a chance and tried it in the guacamole I was preparing. And, guess what!? It didn’t taste like soap! It was so good, in fact, I made it again for this blog. I called it Guacamole for Cilantro Haters just so that my readers knew where I stood on the issue! So, there we were. I had found a way to make guacamole that both the cilantro hater and the cilantro lover could agree on. I thought that was it, but there was so much more to guacamole that I had yet to discover. GUACAMOLE – WHAT A WEIRD NAME FOR AVOCADO SAUCE! Guacamole has been around for since the sixteenth century. Can you believe that? Apparently, the Aztec’s were the first to…

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Tomato Tortellini Soup

As a food blogger, I sometimes feel guilty about using prepared food items. I think I should be preparing things from scratch. But, I remind myself that Lord Byron’s Kitchen is all about recipes that can be made easily by anyone. There’s no shame in buying frozen tortellini, but if you’d like to make your own pasta, you can do that too! I’m reminded of a conversation I had with McKenna a few months back about school lunches. I’ve always struggled with what to send with her. She’s a picky eater when it comes to school lunches. So, I asked her to give me some ideas; tell me what her friends bring. She proceeds to tell me that one of her friends asked her why she brought a sandwich so often when her dad was practically a chef. Well, thanks for the partial compliment! But, I’m sure this friend wasn’t aware of the fact that I ask McKenna every single day what she wants for lunch. Her response is always the same – I don’t know. Well, kid, if you don’t know at your age what it is you want, you’re getting a sandwich! The thing is, I’m not a…

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Almond and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta

Okay, dear Reader, I don’t officially have a top ten list of pesto recipes. Not one that I carry around with me in my wallet. And, certainly, not one that I’m going to admit to at this particular time.  But, if I did, then this pesto would be on that list, and most likely, very close to the top. This is one of those pasta dishes that make you feel better about yourself and make you happy to be alive.  Am I the only one that can feel such powerful emotions from eating good food?  If I’m not alone, please come forward.  We can start a club! COOKING AND BAKING IS PERSONAL! I’ve shared this with John.e before, but I’m not sure I’ve talked about it at Lord Byron’s Kitchen.  My recipes – my creations – are extremely personal.  I try my best to not take negativity to heart. But, it’s really hard to hear the words, “I didn’t like it.”  Everyone has their own personal tastes, but when it comes to sharing food you’ve prepared, it’s very personal. When someone loves to cook and bake, and likes to share it with the world, yet that same person is an introvert…

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Chocolate-Mayonnaise Bundt Cake

Mayonnaise in a cake? Yes, Dear Reader, you read that correctly.  Your eyes did not deceive you.  This cake is most certainly made with mayonnaise, and as weird as it seems, it’s absolute perfection!  This cake gives you the best of both worlds. Not only is the cake light and fluffy on the outside, but the center is very moist and fudge-like. I like to think of this cake as a chocolate lava cake without the lava! Does that make sense? The first time I made this cake was in 2016. That was when this cake first appeared on the blog. Today, I’m updating the photographs and re-publishing this recipe, because this cake is just too delicious to be forgotten about! MAYONNAISE AS A BAKING INGREDIENT Believe it or not, mayonnaise is a very common ingredient in baking. And, if you think about it, why shouldn’t it be? Mayonnaise is made with common ingredients used in baking anyway. Let’s take a closer look. Mayonnaise has three main ingredients. They are oil, egg yolks, and lemon juice. (The lemon juice is sometimes substituted for vinegar.) Almost every baking recipe, whether it be a cake or a cookie, has eggs and some…

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Jalapeno Corn Muffins

Not all recipes can be found by searching online or leafing through a cookbook or magazine. The best recipes are those that have been passed down from generation to generation. Or better yet, the recipes that your friends make and share with you! That’s exactly how I was introduced to this corn muffin recipe. CAN I TELL YOU A STORY? We have these amazing friends whom we never get to see as much as I’d like. That’s the thing about being an adult, isn’t it? There’s just never enough time to hang out with friends and have a good time. It seems that we only see Gloria and Micheal two or three times a year. But each and every time, I enjoy it more than I did the last time we all sat down together! I met Gloria first. She has been a friend of John.e’s for a long time, but I first met her in 2013. She was spending the weekend at their cottage alone and invited us to visit. I was so nervous to meet her, because John.e had told me so much about her, including the fact that she is a psychotherapist. You know how we all…

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30 Minute Ginger Beef

This particular beef recipe has been one of the most popular recipes here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen since it was originally published in early 2017. No matter how popular though, there were many readers who struggled to get it just right. Today, I’m updated the recipe with new photos and better cooking instructions. I’m hoping that this will help you to achieve the best possible 30 Minute Ginger Beef at home. No more takeout orders needed! THE BEST CUTS OF BEEF FOR THIS RECIPE Before John.e and I started living together, I used to make Ginger Beef nearly once a week. It was such a great weeknight meal – easy to prepare and is very forgiving of cheaper cuts of beef.  If you ever have one of those days at the grocery store when you’re craving steak, but the price is outrageous or the cuts are just not worth it, grab some cheaper steak and you’ll easily satisfy your beef cravings. Personally, I think skirt steak of flank steak work best for this recipe. Both of these cuts are often used interchangeably, because they are both tough cuts of beef. But, sliced thinly against the grain, they are tender and delicious. If…

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

We love peanut butter cookies! There’s just something really comforting about sinking your teeth into a soft, homemade peanut butter cookie, isn’t there? I have a few recipes at Lord Byron’s Kitchen for cookies that use peanut butter, and this one is a variation on one of those. When it comes to cookies, I tend to lean more toward a chewier cookie experience rather than a crispy cookie. I love cookies like ginger snaps too, but the chewier the cookie, the more delicious it is! Adding the raisins certainly helps to achieve a chewier cookie! LIGHT VS DARK RAISINS – WHICH WILL YOU USE IN YOUR PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES? My mom used to refer to raisins in two basic terms – light and dark. But, there’s more to raisins than just the color difference. Not only are different grapes used in the making of raisins, but there are different processes that can be applied too. In most baking recipes, you’ll see just the word raisins. The most common raisins that can be found in North America and either light in color or dark in color. Sometimes, they might be called Golden Raisins or Sultana Raisins. Brown raisins are sun-dried by laying them out…

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Tofu and Sugar Snap Pea Stir Fry

I was never a fan of tofu. But living with a vegetarian certainly changed that. The tofu I was used to eating came from a random take-out Chinese dish. It was bland and I thought it to be slimy. How was I to know that I would one day enjoy eating and cooking with tofu? If you’re much like me and tend to screw up your nose at something before you try it, then I get you! You’ve often heard it said that we eat with our eyes first, right? Well, based on that, would anyone ever eat tofu? It’s certainly not appealing to look at! I’m going to share with you a few things I learned about tofu over the past few years. Maybe you’ll change your mind about tofu and give it another try. Maybe you already love it and don’t need convincing. Either way, when all is said and done, this is my Tofu and Sugar Snap Pea Stir Fry recipe. And, I think you’ll really enjoy it. The Truth about Tofu To start with, there are different levels of texture (softness versus firmness) in tofu. From least firm to most firm, the most common types of…

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