Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas

Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas

Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas

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Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas garnished with blueberries and mint sit on a white cake tray decorated with blue flowers.

Where the heck is spring??  As I write this it is literally -15°C.  I think global warming has skipped over us here in Alberta.  But these bright and cheery Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas are sure to brighten and warm any day.  Crisp yet chewy pavlova nests are filled with lemon curd and whipped cream filling.  They are lovely topped with fresh berries such as blueberry or raspberry and perfect for Easter or Mother’s Day. 

Mini pavlova nests piped onto a baking tray lined with parchment and ready to be baked for Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas.

Sadly, with the way the world is these days, most of us may not be having much of a family gathering at Easter.  It will most likely be a modest meal with homebound family members and chats throughout the weekend with family and friends on Facetime or Skype. And this is okay because it’s what we need to do right now to keep everyone safe. As for this beautiful dessert, perhaps it will have to wait for another special occasion. Maybe Mother’s Day, bridal shower or what the heck, how about the first day of summer! There are always reasons to celebrate, so you’ll want to bookmark this recipe.

Lemon curd for Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas in a small glass bowl that is resting on a blue and white cloth.

Here are a few helpful hints for this recipe:

-make sure your mixing bowl is very clean (grease will hinder a great meringue).

-use egg whites that are at room temperature (warm egg whites incorporate more air than cold ones).

-you can grind granulated sugar for about 10 seconds using a mini grinder if castor sugar is not available.

-stick the parchment to the baking tray with a few dabs of meringue to prevent it from moving while piping.

-place the tray on a damp towel to prevent the tray from moving while piping.

-don’t open the oven door until it has completely cooled as the warm dry air inside helps to dry out the meringues without further cooking.

-baked meringues will keep several days in an airtight container at room temperature.

-add filling to the meringue nests when ready to serve or up to a couple hours in advance. Adding it more than a couple of hours ahead will cause the meringues to soften too much.

Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas sit on a white cake tray in the background while one is served on a while dessert plate and garnished with blueberries and mint.

Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    8 people 30-40 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    80 minutes 1+ hours
    Servings Prep Time
    8 people 30-40 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    80 minutes 1+ hours
    Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      8 people 30-40 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      80 minutes 1+ hours
      Servings Prep Time
      8 people 30-40 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      80 minutes 1+ hours
      Ingredients
      Mini Pavlovas
      Lemon Cream
      Servings: people
      Instructions
      Mini Pavlovas
      1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking tray with parchment and mark out 8-3" circles. Flip parchment over.
      2. Combine egg whites and cream of tartar. Whip until soft peaks are starting to form. Gradually add sugar, about a tablespoon at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl and continue to whip on high speed until stiff and glossy, about 6-7 minutes using a stand mixer.
      3. Add vanilla and whip to combine.
      4. Sift cornstarch over the meringue and fold to combine.
      5. Fit a large piping bag with your desired tip, I used a Wilton 1M.
      6. Fill the piping bag with meringue and squeeze a dab of meringue onto the corners of the parchment to stick it to the baking tray. This will help keep the parchment from moving while you pipe. Place the baking tray on a slightly damp kitchen towel to prevent the tray from moving. Fill in the traced circle, creating a base. Continue to pipe along the edge of the base for two turns, creating a basket.
      7. Place the tray in the oven on the middle rack and immediately turn oven temperature to 225°F. Bake for 80 minutes, turn off the oven and allow meringues to remain undisturbed in the oven until completely cool. Meringues will be firm and hollow sounding with a slight bit of tackiness and chew in the bottom layer.
      Lemon Cream
      1. Combine all ingredients except butter in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens, about 7-8 minutes. Whisk in butter until smooth.
      2. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before covering with plastic wrap directly on the surface. Allow to cool completely and chill until ready to use.
      3. When ready to assemble pavlovas, which should be no more than 2 hours in advance, whip heavy cream until stiff. Fold whipped cream into lemon curd and fill meringues generously. Top with fresh blueberries and serve.
      Recipe Notes

      -Using egg whites at room temperature will result in more volume.

      -If unable to use castor or superfine sugar, simply grind regular granulated sugar in a mini coffee grinder for about 10 seconds.  Even this is not true castor sugar, it breaks down the sugar enough for better absorption into the meringue.

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      I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
      Tomato Bisque

      Tomato Bisque

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      Tomato Bisque with crutons served in a shallow blue bowl resting on a wooden board draped with a striped napkin.

      Today’s post is a blog update on my Tomato Bisque. Because the weather is frightful right now in central Alberta, it seemed like the perfect time to do a little tidy up on this gorgeous soup. This Tomato Bisque is creamy and luscious, even with only a small amount of cream. It’s thickened with rice, making it a great gluten-free option.

      The creaminess and tang are the perfect marriage with crunchy cheese toast or buttery croutons. I won’t hesitate to say that when you make this soup, you will have tremendous satisfaction from your efforts because it’s so much better than store-bought soup. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing you’re feeding your family wholesome goodness.

      Traditional French bisque is made using ground crustacean shells and thickened with rice. The term is used loosely today and can refer to anything pureed such as tomatoes or squash. Most varieties are finished with cream as is this one. Enjoy!

      Tomato Bisque with crutons served in a shallow blue bowl resting on a wooden board draped with a striped napkin.

      Author: Compelled to Cook, adapted from Chef John of Food Wishes

      Tomato Bisque with crutons served in a shallow blue bowl resting on a wooden board draped with a striped napkin.
      Tomato Bisque
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        4-6 people 20 minutes
        Cook Time
        30-50 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        4-6 people 20 minutes
        Cook Time
        30-50 minutes
        Tomato Bisque with crutons served in a shallow blue bowl resting on a wooden board draped with a striped napkin.
        Tomato Bisque
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          4-6 people 20 minutes
          Cook Time
          30-50 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          4-6 people 20 minutes
          Cook Time
          30-50 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: people
          Instructions
          1. Melt butter in a large heavy pot, add onions, celery and garlic and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes until the vegetables become translucent.
          2. Add the tomatoes, stock, paprika, sugar and rice and cook until the rice is very soft, at least 30 minutes.
          3. Blend with a handheld immersion blender until smooth. Stir in heavy cream and season with salt and pepper.
          Recipe Notes

          I used homemade chicken stock and used 1 1/2 tsp of salt. The amount of salt will depend on the stock/broth used, so season to taste.

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          I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
          Herbed Quinoa Shrimp Bowls

          Herbed Quinoa Shrimp Bowls

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          Herbed Quinoa Shrimp Bowls served in a shallow bowl resting on a black kitchen towel and wooden trivet.

          Do you have a New Year’s resolution? With the new year approaching fast, I find myself thinking of my own New Year’s resolutions.   Like many of you, one of my resolutions is to eat differently.  I say different because I don’t necessarily want to eat less or lose a bunch of weight, I just want to eat less refined sugar and simple carbohydrates like white rice. I have found that by eating a little more protein and less simple carbohydrates I generally feel better and have less hunger throughout the day.  As with everything, moderation is key to my success and my goal of maintaining this small change does not mean I will pass on every cookie and slice of bread. It means certain foods will be eaten less often. This year is all about balance!

          I hope the new year brings you success and happiness in all that you do. Cheers to 2020!

          I find dishes like Herbed Quinoa Shrimp Bowls perfect for my resolution because they’re high in protein, both the shrimp and quinoa, a good source of fibre and loaded with fresh flavour from parsley, garlic and lemon. It also has arugula which I absolutely love lightly wilted. It’s simple, delicious and a great way to help refine the way you eat. 

          Raw shrimp, arugula and lemon dressing in preparation for Herbed Quinoa Shrimp Bowls.
          Herbed Quinoa Shrimp Bowls served in a shallow bowl resting on a black kitchen towel and wooden trivet.

          Herbed Quinoa Shrimp Bowls served in a shallow bowl resting on a black kitchen towel and wooden trivet.
          Herbed Quinoa Shrimp Bowls
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            2 people 15 minutes
            Cook Time Passive Time
            25 minutes 5 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            2 people 15 minutes
            Cook Time Passive Time
            25 minutes 5 minutes
            Herbed Quinoa Shrimp Bowls served in a shallow bowl resting on a black kitchen towel and wooden trivet.
            Herbed Quinoa Shrimp Bowls
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              2 people 15 minutes
              Cook Time Passive Time
              25 minutes 5 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              2 people 15 minutes
              Cook Time Passive Time
              25 minutes 5 minutes
              Ingredients
              Shrimp Bowls
              Dressing
              Servings: people
              Instructions
              1. Combine vegetable broth and quinoa in a medium pot. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook according to package directions until tender. Allow quinoa to rest for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork.
              2. While quinoa is cooking make dressing by whisking all ingredients together in a small bowl.
              3. Pat shrimp dry and season with salt and pepper.
              4. Heat 1 tbsp of olive in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes until softened. Stir in shrimp and cook for 2 minutes per side.
              5. Add warm quinoa, arugula and 1/2 of the dressing and toss to combine over low heat until arugula is slightly wilted, about 1 minute.
              6. Scoop into serving dishes and drizzle each with remaining dressing and sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired. Serve immediately.

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              I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
              Five Spice Mixed Nuts

              Five Spice Mixed Nuts

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              Five Spiced Mixed Nuts in a small bowl on a gold tray with white napkins and glasses of champagne.

              Do you have a New Year’s Eve gathering and need tasty nibbles to pass along with your bubbly? Five Spice Mixed Nuts are very snackable and rather addictive with a hint of spice and sugar. They’re the party favour that you just can’t stop grabbing at. You’ll find a pleasant mixture of Chinese five-spice, maple syrup and brown sugar. The nuts are coated just enough for a light sugary chew with a lingering spice that you can’t quite put your finger on. The added dried cherries lend a little extra sweetness and soft texture to balance the crunchy nuts.

              Five Spice Mixed Nuts is a simple recipe to toss together and will keep in an airtight container for a couple of weeks. They’re perfect to make ahead for any social gathering. Enjoy your holidays and Happy New Year to you and your family. I wish you a wonderful year ahead!

              Five Spice Mixed Nuts
              Print Recipe
                Servings Prep Time
                5 cups 10 minutes
                Cook Time Passive Time
                60 minutes 1+ hours
                Servings Prep Time
                5 cups 10 minutes
                Cook Time Passive Time
                60 minutes 1+ hours
                Five Spice Mixed Nuts
                Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  5 cups 10 minutes
                  Cook Time Passive Time
                  60 minutes 1+ hours
                  Servings Prep Time
                  5 cups 10 minutes
                  Cook Time Passive Time
                  60 minutes 1+ hours
                  Ingredients
                  Servings: cups
                  Instructions
                  1. Preheat oven to 225°F. Spray a large baking tray with non-stick spray.
                  2. In a large bowl toss together nuts.
                  3. In a medium bowl whisk together maple syrup, brown sugar, egg white, water, Chinese five spice and sea salt. Pour over nuts and stir to coat evenly.
                  4. Spread nuts evenly on a large baking tray. Bake for 60 minutes, turning every 15 minutes. If using dried cherries stir them in halfway through baking time.
                  5. Remove from oven and loosen from the baking tray. Allow nuts to cool completely before breaking apart. Will keep in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

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                  I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
                  Corn and Bacon Quiche

                  Corn and Bacon Quiche

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                  A slice of Corn and Bacon Quiche served on a small cream coloured plate with the whole quiche sitting in the background.

                  Let’s celebrate World Egg Day with some delicious food!! Friday, October 11th is World Egg Day so it seems only right to enjoy this amazing Corn and Bacon Quiche.  It has all the goodness of eggs and is stuffed with bacon, corn, peppers and onions.  Oh yes, and lots of cheddar cheese.  It also has a hash-brown crust making it gluten-free as well.  It’s a high quiche with lots of filling that envelops the potato crust making it very hearty and great for brunch, lunch or dinner.

                  Ingredients for Corn and Bacon Quiche arranged on a wooden cutting board on a yellow napkin.

                  So why does the egg get its own day?  It’s simple, eggs are extremely nutritious, high in quality protein, very economical, versatile and delicious of course. So yes, I believe the egg does deserve its own day!

                  An asssembled but unbaked Corn and Bacon quiche on a wooden cutting board resting on a yellow napkin.

                  Corn and Bacon Quiche tips:

                  -Make sure all frozen ingredients like the potatoes and corn are completely thawed and patted dry if necessary.

                  -Use a deep-dish pie plate for this recipe, one that is at least 1 1/2″ – 2” deep and comfortably holds 32 ounces of liquid. There is too much filling for a standard pie plate.

                  -Don’t over bake the quiche. It should jiggle slightly in the center when it is done and it will continue to firm up as it rests.

                  -Be sure to rest the quiche before slicing. This allows the quiche to firm up and will help with slicing and keeping all the ingredients together instead of spilling out when cut.

                   

                  Corn and Bacon Quiche
                  Print Recipe
                    Servings Prep Time
                    6-8 servings 45 minutes
                    Cook Time
                    35-40 minutes
                    Servings Prep Time
                    6-8 servings 45 minutes
                    Cook Time
                    35-40 minutes
                    Corn and Bacon Quiche
                    Print Recipe
                      Servings Prep Time
                      6-8 servings 45 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      35-40 minutes
                      Servings Prep Time
                      6-8 servings 45 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      35-40 minutes
                      Ingredients
                      Servings: servings
                      Instructions
                      1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
                      2. Brush a 9.5" deep dish (1 1/2"-2" high) pie plate with a tbsp of melted butter.
                      3. Pat potatoes dry with a paper towel if needed. Toss potatoes with remaining 2 tbsp of melted butter and 1/2 tsp kosher salt.
                      4. Press potatoes evenly into the pie plate and up the sides to form a crust. Using the back of a flat measuring cup helps to press it down.
                      5. Bake potato crust for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
                      6. Meanwhile, chop bacon into 1/2" pieces and saute in a medium skillet until crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate reserving 1 tbsp of bacon fat in the pan.
                      7. To the same skillet add diced onion and red pepper and saute until starting to soften about 3-5 minutes.
                      8. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs and sour cream until combined. Whisk in cream, basil, remaining 3/4 tsp salt, white pepper and chili flakes.
                      9. Sprinkle the bacon, onion and red pepper evenly over the cooked potato crust. Top with an even layer of corn and cheese.
                      10. Pour egg mixture evenly over everything. Shake gently to allow ingredients to settle.
                      11. Bake on the middle rack for 35-40 minutes. The center should jiggle just a little while the outer edges are firmer to the touch.
                      12. Allow the quiche to rest for 10 minutes prior to slicing. Slice into 6-8 wedges and serve immediately.
                      Recipe Notes

                      -I used white pepper to avoid having black flecks in the quiche, however black pepper is just as good.

                      -Be sure to use a deep-dish pie plate as the filling will not fit in a standard pie plate. It needs to comfortably hold 32 ounces of liquid.

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                      I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
                      Orange Yogurt Smoothie

                      Orange Yogurt Smoothie

                      Orange Yogurt Smoothie

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                      Orange Yogurt Smoothie in a tall stemmed glass garnished with orange zest and a straw.

                       

                      Creamy and delicious with a subtle orange flavour makes this Orange Yogurt Smoothie wonderful for breakfast, a quick and easy energy boost or post-workout sipper.

                       

                      Peeled and wedged oranges on a cutting board with a basket of oranges in the background.

                       

                      Using fresh oranges is key as they provide a freshness that canned oranges just can’t. It’s also important not to skip the skim milk powder too. This small addition not only adds to the creaminess but it also adds a little extra protein and nutrition without having a heavy protein powder taste.

                      Segmenting the oranges can be a bit fussy, but it’s quite simple to do. Once you do it a few times you’ll be a pro at running your knife along the flesh taking off the right amount to get all the pith.

                       

                       

                      This lovely smoothie is super quick and easy and can be ready in minutes as you rush out the door in the morning. Having the oranges peeled and segmented in advance will also help speed things up when time is tight. Enjoy!

                       

                      Orange Yogurt Smoothie in a tall stemmed glass garnished with orange zest and a straw.

                      Orange Yogurt Smoothie
                      Print Recipe
                        Servings Prep Time
                        2 people 15 minutes
                        Servings Prep Time
                        2 people 15 minutes
                        Orange Yogurt Smoothie
                        Print Recipe
                          Servings Prep Time
                          2 people 15 minutes
                          Servings Prep Time
                          2 people 15 minutes
                          Ingredients
                          Servings: people
                          Instructions
                          1. Cut the peel off the oranges by cutting off the top and bottom to the flesh. Then run your knife down the sides along the flesh removing the sides in large strips.
                          2. Segment the orange by running your knife along the membrane on both sides of each segment which will loosen it from the orange.
                          3. Place oranges and remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
                          4. Pour into desired glasses and serve immediately.
                          Recipe Notes

                          -recipe yields approximately 650ml-700ml depending on the amount of ice added.

                          -cutting the peel off instead of simply peeling it with your fingers ensures there will be no pith left on the flesh.

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                          Affiliate Disclosure

                          I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com