Week 3 - January 8 to 14

This week was amazing. By now I really thought I would be sick of doing something like this, but nope… I want to keep going and I want to finish this! Since this was the week of hell I was happy that the first couple days I made cookies and then got into the harder recipes. I made a Minestrone Soup, which I think still needs improving and my family would say the same. The remainder of the week was a lot of fun, made some Garlic Chicken, which needs to be infused with garlic next time, some Apple Curry Pitas, which were delicious. To finish the week I made Slow Cooker Pulled Pork and Buttermilk Pancakes, yummy, no better way to end the week but with pancakes. 


January 8 - Vanilla Cookies

This recipe called for Vanilla everything, which was very nice, this recipe is relatively simple, it just takes a while to complete. I opted to make the dough the night before since it is a slice and bake cookie, I would strongly recommend you doing the same if you would like to try this recipe. 

It makes it so much easier when it comes to slicing the cookies that the dough is firm enough to withstand a serrated knife going through. This recipe called for a bunch of Vanilla Sugar, now if you don’t have vanilla sugar do not worry, replace with regular white sugar and add 2-3 tsp of vanilla extract and you will get the same effect.

After they came out of the oven, I tried a couple and realized that these cookies are very similar to sugar cookies, so I think I would just use these as a sugar cookie recipe. I would probably add a little more vanilla extract next time so you can taste the vanilla. If you want them to really taste like vanilla, up the extract to 4-5 tsp, if you like a subtle hint, keep it at the 2-3 tsp.

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/3 cup vanilla sugar
  • 1 egg
  1. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add 1 cup of the Vanilla sugar. Add the egg and beat until light and fluffy. On low speed, add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.
  2. For the dough into a rough log. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for 4 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  4. Unwrap the dough, cut into 1/4 inch thick cookies. Space 1 inch apart on cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 12 minutes.


January 9 - Oatmeal/ Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I love this recipe, I have finally perfected it and I almost know it off by heart. I often change the size of the cookies depending on what or who the cookies are going to. This time I just decided to make 12 Oatmeal and 12 Oatmeal Raisin so I made these with the big scoop rather the little scoop.

Whenever I make this recipe it is easier to do half Oatmeal Cookies and half Oatmeal Raisin cookies. It doesn't mean that I have to double the recipe either, I just make the 12 cookies in one flavour and then the last 12 in the other flavour. So easy.

This base can be used for any kind of cookie. I have used this base for chocolate chip cookies too. These cookies are always gooey and delicious. If you want then a little more gooey cook them for 10 minutes, if you want them more solid then cook them for 12 minutes. 

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup raisins
  1. In a medium bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Flatten each cookie with a large fork dipped in sugar.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


January 10 - Minestrone Soup

This is a very hearty soup, it has a lot of veggies, so it is very healthy. The only sad thing is that this soup had no flavour, I don’t know what happened. 

If you were to try this recipe I would suggest to double the seasonings and pre-make the macaroni noodles. I think they may have soaked up some of the flavour that was in the broth.

I personally didn’t like the soup, by my parents and my brother seemed to like it even though it was lacking flavour. I wish it would have tasted a little better.

  • 3 to 4 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cups yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups zucchini, diced small
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup celery, sliced thin
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups small macaroni shells
  • 2 cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can white beans
  • 1 can cut green beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp pepper, or to taste
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
  1. To a very large Dutch oven or stockpot, add the oil and heat over medium-high heat to warm.
  2. Add the onion, zucchini, carrots, celery, and sauté for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften. Stir intermittently.
  3. Add the garlic and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the vegetable broth, macaroni, tomatoes and juice, kidney beans, white beans, green beans, bay leaves, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, pepper, and bring to a boil. Allow mixture to boil gently for about 15 minutes or until macaroni is cooked through. At any time while making the soup, if the overall liquid level is lower than you like and you prefer more broth, adding a cup or two of water or additional vegetable broth is okay. At the end you will adjust the salt level.
  5. Add the spinach, parsley, optional lemon juice (brightens up the flavor), and boil 1 to 2 minutes, or until spinach and parsley are wilted and vibrant. Taste soup and add salt to taste. I added about 1 tablespoon but this will vary based on how salty the brand of vegetable broth, tomatoes, and the various beans are, and upon personal preference. Make any necessary seasoning adjustments (i.e. more salt, pepper, herbs, etc.), remove the bay leaves, optionally garnish with parmesan, and serve immediately. Soup will keep airtight in the fridge for 5 to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.


January 11 - Apple Curry Turkey Pitas

I have never worked with curry before so this was a new area for me. It was an easy recipe to make overall which was really nice since I needed something simple to make for this weeks lunch. All I did was saute the onions with lemon juice and add turkey. Add turkey and the curry powder and that was pretty much it.

Then after removing from heat you add in the apples. I thought the apples would wilt and go gross but they didn’t, they actually were amazing and still crispy. The house smelt so good once they were all made.

They tasted so amazing, but the pitas ended up falling apart when we were eating them. I can see making these again, but maybe finding stronger pitas so that they don’t fall apart.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced onion
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 pound cooked turkey, cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 medium apple, cored and thinly sliced
  • 3 pita bread rounds
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in onion and lemon juice. Cook until onion is tender. Mix in turkey, season with curry powder and continue cooking until heated through.
  2. Remove from heat. Stir in apple. Stuff pitas with the mixture. Drizzle with yogurt to serve.


January 12 - Garlic Chicken, Pasta, and Salad

Love this meal so much. Minus the fact that the chicken didn’t take on the garlic flavour as much as I thought it should have. You soak the chicken in oil infused with fresh garlic and it still didn’t taste anything like garlic. 

The noodles that I decided to make took so long but they were delicious. It was also very difficult to make since the package was all in Italian and I didn’t understand a single word.

Overall my family really liked this meal so much that everyone wants me to make this again. Extreme success that my overall rating from my family was 9.89/10

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Heat olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan over low heat until warmed, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer garlic and oil to a shallow bowl.
  3. Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in a separate shallow bowl.
  4. Dip chicken breasts in the olive oil-garlic mixture using tongs; transfer to bread crumb mixture and turn to evenly coat. Transfer coated chicken to a shallow baking dish.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink and juices run clear, 30 to 35 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F.


January 13 - Pulled Pork

The nice thing about this recipe is that it is made in the slow cookers. You put everything in and leave it all day. Love this recipe. 

Today I didn’t make the coleslaw form scratch, but next time I would make it from scratch because I really think it would add something so much better. Overall the recipe was a complete success again.

When I decide to make the coleslaw from scratch it would taste better. I also would like to try a different kind of barbecue sauce, maybe try a sweet next time. The nice thing about this recipe is that I can add any kind of barbecue sauce you would like. It is completely up to you.

Overall the family really like it and gave me a rating of 9.25/10

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 pork roast
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce 
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 extra large onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 8 hamburger buns, split
  • 2 tablespoons butter, or as needed
  1. Pour the vegetable oil into the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the pork roast into the slow cooker; pour in the barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, and chicken broth. Stir in the brown sugar, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, onion, garlic, and thyme. Cover and cook on High until the roast shreds easily with a fork, 5 to 6 hours.
  2. Remove the roast from the slow cooker, and shred the meat using two forks. Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker, and stir the meat into the juices.
  3. Spread the inside of both halves of hamburger buns with butter. Toast the buns, butter side down, in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown. Spoon pork into the toasted buns.


January 14 - Buttermilk Pancakes

If you are looking for a quick pancake recipe this is the best simple recipe that you could ever look for. I would only change the amount of vanilla, I would add an extra teaspoon or two so that you can have more of a vanilla flavour. 

Overall these pancakes were very good and with all the added fruit and whip and syrup made it even better. If you are feeding more than three people then I would recommend doubling this recipe. We had a couple pancakes left over so it depends on how many pancakes you want to have and how many extra. 

This is definitely a recipe that I would make again because of how quick and easy it is to make these pancakes.

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1-2 tbsp canola oil
  • toppings of choice
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, salt, buttermilk, butter, and almond extract. Continue to beat until mixture is smooth.
  3. Heat a large pan, lightly grease. Pour 1/3 cup of batter. Cook until batter is set and bubbles show. Flip and cook 2 minutes longer.
  4. Repeat until all batter is gone. Serve.