Granny’s Soda Bread (Repost)

March 17, 2013

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

In honour of the day, I thought I’d repost my favourite Irish recipe, which I originally posted for St. Patrick’s Day back in 2009: my Granny’s Irish Soda Bread.

As a yeast-less bread, this comes together in less than an hour start to finish. Short of a pint of Guinness (with a bit of Ribena is my fave), this bread slathered with butter is the perfect way to celebrate your Irish roots!

Granny’s Soda Bread

From my Granny (Eileen Way)
Yield: 1 loaf


2 cups white flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I use the 1% buttermilk)


Preheat oven to 375F.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the centre, add the buttermilk and stir lightly until everything is combined.

Make into a flat loaf and cut an “X” in the top. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. (Note: If you are using an electric oven, place a pan of water on the lower rack to provide moist heat during cooking).


Sweet Potato, Kale and Bacon Hash

February 23, 2013

I am about to confess something that may affect your high estimation of my general level of coolness. What! You have no estimation of my coolness? It’s not something you ever devoted any thought to?  Well, prior estimations or no, they are about to be reduced once I tell you how I spent last Saturday night and how much I enjoyed how I spent last Saturday night…

I went grocery shopping.

At 9:00 p.m.

In Surrey.

It was amazing.

The aisles were empty. The shelves were stocked. There was no line up at the cashier. Parking was free. It took 20 minutes.

Anyone who has every attempted grocery shopping on the weekend, particularly Sunday, knows how insane it can be. But if you work long hours during the week like I do, it is the only time to do it.  The last few weeks I’ve been trying to alleviate this hectic grocery shopping by doing a meal plan for the week along with an organized grocery list so that I can get in and get out.

So last weekend in an effort to further avoid the hectic weekend shop and with list in hand, we decided to hit up the grocery store on our way back from Surrey after meeting my in-laws for dinner. When we mentioned this at dinner, after the in-laws asked what bar we were heading out to for the rest of the night, I think even they were disappointed in our lack of coolness. But I don’t care, it was the best grocery shopping experience I’ve had since the first time a shopped at Whole Foods.

And since your now probably wondering how this long-winded story of my lameness is leading to sweet potato, kale and bacon hash, well it is – kind of. You see this meal was on last week’s meal plan and I picked up the ingredients on my wonderful shopping trip. It is a great weeknight meal that comes together in about 30 minutes. It is a great mix of flavours and even kale-hater C polished off his whole bowl.

So the next time you find yourself grocery shopping on a wild Saturday night pick up some sweet potato, kale, bacon, etc. and whip this up.

Sweet Potato, Kale & Bacon Hash

Adapted from Style Activist
Serves 2


1 tsp oil (I used coconut oil)
1 small red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 slices of bacon, diced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2 pieces
2 cups kale, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
1 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs
Cilantro (optional)
Aardvark sauce (optional)


In a large frying pan, saute the onion, garlic and bacon in the coconut oil over medium heat until they begin to brown and crisp.

Place the sweet potato in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 3 minutes.

Add the sweet potato, pepper and dried chili flakes to the frying pan, saute for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add to the kale to the frying pan, lower heat to medium and cook covered for 3 to 5 minutes until the kale softens.

Poach the eggs using your preferred method. (I use Poach Pods – they are super easy, 4 minutes to perfectly runny eggs).

Transfer the hash mixture from the frying pan into two bowls and top each bowl with a poached egg. Top with cilantro and aardvark sauce (or any other hot sauce you like).

Green Goodness Smoothie

January 7, 2013

January is a month for fresh starts: heading back to the gym, eating healthy, spending wisely. This January I am particularly in need of all of the above. In December, there wasn’t a chocolate I met that I didn’t eat or a glass of wine that I didn’t drink. This didn’t leave much time for going to the gym. So I vowed that once January rolled around, I would ditch the Lindt balls and step on the elliptical.

As part of this renewed healthy eating, I returned to my morning smoothie. It typically involves spinach and berries. However, with a nod to switching things up and a jump onto the kale train, I decided to try to recreate my favourite smoothie from our neighbourhood Whole Foods. And here is where the spending wisely part comes in as this recipe rings in a whole lot cheaper than the WF version.

green goodness smoothie || a year in the kitchen

Green Goodness Smoothie

Based on the Green Goodness smoothie from Whole Foods Cambie
Makes 1 smoothie


3/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup water
juice of 1/2 small lemon (or about 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice)
1 small piece of fresh ginger (about the size of the tip of your thumb)
1 handful of kale (stems removed)
1/2 apple (I use a green apple)
1 banana (frozen if possible, but if not throw in a few ice cubes)


Throw all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy right away.

Tasty Nuts (Meghan’s Xmas Nuts)

January 4, 2013

You know you have a winner of a recipe on your hands when you find the following post on your Facebook: “Megs, I LOVE your nuts”.  This flattering and hilarious statement was accompanied by several recipe requests.

The nuts in question have been my Christmas treat to friends and family for the last two years.  They are also a great hostess gift for those many holiday soirees that pop up around the holiday season.  Last year I packaged the nuts in clasp lid jars with handmade clay ornaments stamped with the word “joy”. This year I put them in regular old mason jars with a square of holiday fabric finished off with a bow of baker’s twine.

Christmas Seasoned Nuts in Jars for Gifting || A Year in the Kitchen

In the recipe below, I have listed the nut combination that I used but feel free to make your own combinations. Especially if you get sticker shock at the price of pecans these days. Holy Cats! I had to ask the cashier to reswipe the bag just to make sure that the $19.99 price for a bag was correct. In which case, add more almonds – they’re much cheaper.

Tasty Nuts (Meghan's Xmas Nuts) || A Year in the Kitchen

Tasty Nuts (Meghan’s Xmas Nuts)

Adapted from eat make read


2 cups almonds
2 cups pecans
2 cups walnuts
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
2 tablespoons butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350°

Combine the nuts in a large bowl and toss to mix well.

Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (you may need to do this in several batches). Toast in the oven, stirring once or twice, until light golden brown, about 10 minutes.

In the same bowl, stir together the rosemary, brown sugar, salt, cayenne, cumin and melted butter.

Add the warm nuts and toss to coat thoroughly.

Serve or store in an airtight container.

Chewy Gingersnaps

December 18, 2012

Every year my friend B and her mum host a mother-daughter Christmas cookie exchange. My favourite Christmas cookie is shortbread, but my mum has dibs on that recipe so I had to come up with something new.  I wanted something seasonal (somehow chocolate chip cookies just don’t seem Christmasy enough) and immediately thought of the chewy ginger cookies at Starbucks that I loved in law school.  I consulted my mum for a recipe and she sent me a clipping from the local paper that seemed to be exactly what I was looking for – chewy, gingery yumminess.  These turned out great and have now been my Christmas cookie exchange go to  for the past two years.

Chewy Gingersnaps || A Year in the Kitchen

Chewy Gingersnaps

From the Vancouver Sun
Makes approximately 36 cookies.

4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (or regular salt will work just fine)
4 teaspoons baking soda
4 teaspoons (heaping) ground ginger
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup baking molasses
additional sugar for rolling the cookies

Preheat oven to 325F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (or silpats, which I use and they are fantastic).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon.

Beat the oil, sugar and eggs until the mixture is smooth and light. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the molasses, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Mix in the dry ingredients to make a firm dough. Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Spread out additional sugar on a plate. Using lightly floured fingers, roll the dough into 3/4 inch balls then roll each ball in the granulated sugar, coating it evenly. Place on the baking sheets.

Bake until the cookies are puffed, cracked and lightly golden brown, about 12 – 15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to a week. Freeze for longer storage.

Shrimp Fried Rice

December 16, 2012

This recipe is a result of two things: meal planning and farm fresh eggs.  For the past few weeks I have been making an effort to plan and grocery shop for our meals for the week every Sunday.  This is in part an attempt to make good use of food we already have on hand (and save some $$).  This week we had a carton of lovely farm fresh eggs courtesy of my mum who pick them up from a farm near her home in Maple Ridge.

The trick to this recipe is to make the rice a day or to before. Once that is done, the recipe comes together very quickly.   As you can tell from the below photo, I like to top the  bowl with a generous helping of sriracha!

Shrimp Fried Rice || A Year in the Kitchen

Shrimp Fried Rice
Serves 3-4

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, julliened
1 cup frozen peas
4 cups leftover rice
1 cup frozen shrimp (thawed)
1 tbs minced ginger
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 eggs
4 green onions finely chopped

In a nonstick skillet, cook garlic, carrot and peas for 2 minutes until just starting to brown.

Add rice, shrimp, ginger, sesame oil and soy sauce. Stir until rice is warmed through, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Make a well in middle of skillet and add eggs. Cook, stirring, until they are lightly scrambled but not too dry. Add green onion. Stir everything together. Add sriracha to taste.

The Glory Bowl

May 17, 2012
As this blog will attest, I used to cook quite a bit. As the recent lack of attention to this blog will attest, I haven’t cooked quite so much recently. So when I heard that my future in-laws were very happy that I cooked for C and made him eat his vegetables, I felt a little guilty at the undeserved accolades. Or as C put it (rather sarcastically) when he heard this, “Do you?”.
This dish was an attempt to assuage my guilt and put some vegetables in C’s gullet (particularly in advance of his parents coming over for lunch the next day). C was sceptical when I told him what was for dinner. Tofu and shredded beets are not high on his list of favourite foods. However, I explained that the dish was an internet sensation and that a recipe from the Whitewater cookbooks has rarely disappointed. Much to my surprise he agreed to eat it, even more to my surprise he licked his plate clean – tofu, beets and all. There is something magical in the sauce. It may be the nutritional yeast, but yeast doesn’t really sound all that sumptious, so let’s just be vague and stick with “something magical”. Like stand infront of the open fridge with a spoon, slurping sauce from a jar magical. C cleaning his plate full of veggies magical. Make this recipe immediately magical.
So good I was nearly finished before I remembered to take a photo.
Glory Bowl
Serves 8
From Whitewater Cooks
I made this recipe exactly as is. The full recipe can be found here.