Olenick House Rules

A Little Epicurean Travelling

This week at The Olenick House, we felt in the mood for some real comfort food dishes by doing a little epicurean traveling right in our own kitchen.

We started with a variation of an American southern classic. Seasoned, grilled chicken thighs over sour cream mashed potatoes with homemade sausage gravy.

A Little Epicurean Travelling - Relijen

Boy, did that hit the spot.

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Next, we tried an easy lunch dish with a bit of a Mexicano flair. Homemade wheat and herb tortilla chips smothered in jalapeno laced chili, a sprinkling of southwestern queso and topped with a dollop of chilled sour cream to cool the palate.

Next, we tried an easy lunch dish with a bit of a Mexicano flair. Homemade wheat and herb tortilla chips smothered in jalapeno laced chili, a sprinkling of southwestern queso and topped with a dollop of chilled sour cream to cool the pallet.


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Then, we traveled to the land of cuisine Francaise, with herb and butter roasted duck over noodles in a light cream sauce.

Next we traveled to the land of French cuisine, with herb and butter roasted duck over noodles in a light cream sauce. Oh la la...

Oh la la…

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Our final port of call was in search of a little Austrian jagerschnitzel. Breaded veal cutlets bathed in a thick and creamy mushroom sauce. All which cozied up with roasted red and golden potatoes and green and yellow string beans.

Our final port of call was in search of a little Austrian jagerschnitzel. Breaded veal cutlets bathed in a thick and creamy mushroom sauce. All which cozied up with roasted red and golden, roasted potatoes and green and yellow string beans. Wow! After all this travelling, I think I need a nap. :)

Wow! After all this travelling, I think I need a nap.

“…no one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.”
Julia Child, My Life in France



Olenick House Rules

Bonne Bouche Blueberry Muffins with a Streusel Crown

These muffins are perfect for a Sunday brunch with family and or to share with co-workers as a Monday morning treat.

Prepare your ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup splenda or stevia
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2″ piece of vanilla bean, scraped
  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp splenda brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine, chilled
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Now, let’s do this…

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 375F/190C.

Step 2: Spray  your muffins tins with cooking spray or line them with muffin liners.

Step 3: Either in a large bowl or in a mixer, cream together the margarine or butter and the splenda or stevia until the mixer is light and fluffy in consistency.

Step 4: Now add the eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture well after the addition of each egg, until fully incorporated.

Step 5: Next the vanilla extract or vanilla bean scrapings get added to the mixture. Blend together well.

Step 6: In a separate bowl, whisk together the wheat flour, baking soda and salt.

Step 7: With your 1/2 cup of milk handy, blend the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, a little at a time and alternating with the milk. This will result in a muffin batter with a nice, smooth consistency.

Step 8: Now its time to add your blueberries. Gently fold them into the batter. (You want them to stay whole and not have them get crushed up in the batter.)

Step 9: In a small, separate bowl, whisk together all of the above topping ingredients to create a crumbly filling and coating for your muffins.

Step 10: Fill your muffin cups 1/3 of the way up with batter. Then with a clean spoon, add a bit of the cinnamon/pecan mixture to each cup, nicely covering the batter.

Step 11: Fill each cup with another 1/3 portion, then add another layer of the cinnamon/pecan mixture on top. (You do not want to fill your cups up all the way because if they rise too much while baking, they will not hold their shape and end up all over your oven.)

Step 12: Bake these for approx. 25 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick, inserted into the center of one muffin, comes out clean.

Step 13: Let these cool for about 5 minutes and then here’s the best step. Enjoying them!

Olenick House Rules

Ambrosia Creme Cranberry Scones

These delicious treats are perfect for an afternoon tea on Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or any day.

Prepare your ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed or bottled lemon juice
  • 1 cup cream or half and half
  • 2 3/4 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup splenda or stevia
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, chilled
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup milk for brushing
  • Granulated sugar for sprinkling

Now, the process…

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 425F/220C.

Step 2: Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. (These will keep your scones from over-browning on the bottom.)

Step 3: In a medium-size bowl, mix the lemon juice into the cream or half and half with a fork, then set it aside.

Step 4: In a larger bowl, combine your flour, splenda or stevia, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Step 5: Then cut your butter or margerine into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly. To do this efficiently, you can either use a pastry cutter or just two knives. (I actually do this part in my mixer with the wire whip attachment because I’m lazy. Lol…)

Step 6: Stir the cream/lemon juice mixture into the dry ingredients bowl until a soft dough forms that is a bit sticky to the touch. (If you do this in your mixer, switch to the dough attachment before you add the cream/lemon juice mixture.)

Step 7: Flour your work surface and hands. Then turn out the dough onto your work surface.

Step 8: Gently fold in the dried cranberries by flattening the dough with the palms of your hands. Add some of the cranberries to one side then fold the dough in half over the cranberries. Repeat this process until all the cranberries have been incorporated. (Add a little more flour to your work surface if the dough becomes too sticky.)

Step 9: Roll the dough out into a rectangle shape. (Approx: 9 x 7 inches)

Step 10: With a sharp, slightly wet knife, cut the dough in half length wise. Cut the two halves into smaller rectangles. Then cut each rectangle in half on the diagonal. (You should end up with quite a few triangle shaped pieces ready for the oven.)

Step 11: Place your doughy triangles on the baking sheets, at least one inch apart.

Step 12: Brush the top of each one with a bit of milk and a sprinkle of crystallized sugar for a beautiful finish.

Step 13: Bake these for 15 – 20 minutes or until they are just golden on top and they begin to puff up. (To make sure they are done, stick a toothpick through the center of one and make sure that it comes out clean.)

Step 14: Let them cool a bit before serving but just warm enough to perhaps cut them in half length-wise and spread some warm butter on them. Absolutely heavenly!!







Olenick House Rules

Fengli Chicken with Arborio Rice

Are you ready to make a simple 12-step, Chinese inspired recipe that will wow your family’s taste buds?

Here we go…

Prepare your ingredients:

  • 1 lb of boneless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup splenda brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 cup chicken stock/broth
  • 1 cup water
  • Fresh scallions
  • Sesame seeds

Now the magic starts:

Step 1: Heat olive oil in large pan on medium heat.

Step 2: Chop chicken thighs into 1 inch cubes.

Step 3: Add chicken to heated oil then sprinkle with salt. Stir occasionally until all pieces have lightly browned.

Step 4: Moved browned chicken pieces to a bowl and set aside.

Step 5: In the same pan, saute’ the chopped bell pepper until soft.

Step 6: While the bell pepper is cooking, in another bowl, combine the pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, splenda brown sugar, and corn starch. Whisk until fully integrated.

Step 7: Remember to stir your bell pepper around in the pan so as not to burn. When these pieces are soft, pour the pineapple juice mixture into the pan and raise the heat to medium high. Continue whisking every so often as the sauce thickens.

Step 8: Pour the arborio rice into a medium sized pot. Add the chicken stock/broth and water. Stir to combine then turn the heat on to medium.

Step 9: There is no need to stir the rice as its cooking otherwise it will take on a glue-like consistency. Simply leave it alone, checking on it every so often until the rice has completely absorbed the liquid. Then turn off the heat.

Step 10: Once your sauce has thickened, add the chicken back into the pan then turn the heat down to medium-low to allow everything to simmer together while the rice is finishing. About 7 minutes.

Step 11: Check your rice. Once all the liquid has been absorbed, , you can fluff the rice with a fork. Turn off the heat and let it sit with the lid on until your chicken mixture is ready.

Step 12: Once everything is ready, its time to plate it up. Add the rice to your plates, then spoon the chicken and sauce over the rice. Sprinkle the dish with the chopped scallions and sesame seeds and you are ready to serve!

Fengli Sweet and Sour Chicken

Great job! Please enjoy….

If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people. – Chinese Proverb

Olenick House Rules

Cream of Ridiculously Healthy Soup with Brie Croutons

Warm and hearty soups during the cold, winter months are some of our favorite meals to make together. Especially when they are accompanied by a loaf of fresh, crusty bread, hot out of the oven.  To balance out the caloric heaviness of this time of year, Darren and I thought the following recipe would be perfect as most of these ingredients can be found in our harvested collection of veggies from the garden. Canning or freezing your summer and fall harvest is a fantastic way of being able to continue enjoying the fruits of your labor even if the plants and trees outside are now fast asleep. Beware though, you might wake up the next morning looking like Popeye after this meal! 😀


Cream of Ridiculously Healthy Soup


3 tbsp real butter (margarine will be too oily)

2 leeks (white and light green parts only)

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

1 tsp of nutmeg

4 large red potatoes, peeled and diced (about 3 cups or so…)

3 cups of vegetable stock or chicken broth

1 pkg (or 300 g) of fresh spinach (no need to de-stem the leaves)

2 cups of water

1 1/2 cups of whipping cream (in the carton, not dessert topping)

Salt and pepper to taste

Brie Croutons


1 fresh baguette

2 oz (60 g) Canadian Brie

Butter or margarine


To Prepare…

Step 1: In a large pot, melt your butter over low heat so it doesn’t burn.

Step 2: Once the butter has melted, add your leeks, celery, carrots and nutmeg and cover the pot with a lid. Give this mixture a good stir every few minutes until all these ingredients are soft.

Step 3: Now go ahead and add your potatoes and your broth or stock. Then give it another good stir, making sure every piece in the pot is nicely bathed in the liquid. Re-cover with the pot lid.

Step 4: Raise the heat to medium-high and bring your mixture to a gentle boil. Let it roll for about 3 minutes allowing the potatoes to absorb the higher heat and begin to soften.

Step 5: Now reduce the heat to medium-low and let all your ingredients simmer for about 30 minutes or until you can tell that the potatoes are soft.

Look at that! You’re half way done already, good job. 😀


Step 6: Once the potatoes are nice and soft, go ahead and add all 300 grams of spinach to the pot. It might seem like a lot at first but as it wilts, it will not seem like so much anymore. Putting the lid on the pot for just a minute will help the spinach wilt faster. Then give the pot a few good stirs to incorporate the spinach into the other vegetables.

Step 7: Transfer your veggie mixture to a blender, in small batches at a time, and puree’ this until smooth. If need be, add a small amount of water to the blender (no more than a 1/4 cup) to aid in the puree process. Once each batch is pureed, transfer it to a large bowl.

Step 8: Once the entire vegetable mixture has been pureed, go ahead and pour the whole kit and kaboodle back into your large pot. Now, add your whipping cream and give the pot a few good stirs until the cream is fully incorporated. Heat the pot on medium-low heat just until it begins to steam.

Step 9: Now is the time to add salt and pepper to your liking. I would add just a little at first because your broth or stock usually already has salt in it, then I do a tiny taste test. I do this a few times, until its perfect.

And VOILA!! You’ve made Cream of Ridiculously Healthy Soup! How awesome is that? 😀

But we’re not quite done yet, we’ve got some easy-peasy croutons to make.


To Prepare:

Step 1: Turn your oven on to broil.

Step 2: Once you’ve determined how many servings of your soup you’ll need, go ahead and cut 2-3 slices of your baguette for each serving.

Step 3: Apply a thin layer of butter or margarine to each slice.

Step 4: Put your buttered slices on a cookie sheet on place them on the bottom rack of your oven. Keep an eye on them until they just begin to brown. Then remove them from the oven and let them rest while you prepare your brie.

Step 5: Slice the brie with a sharp knife into about 1/4 inches thick pieces. Cut each long slice of brie in half and place both halves on each piece of baguette.

Step 6: Place the cookie sheet back under the broiler on the bottom rack for just a minute or so. The cheese will melt pretty quickly and you want it to melt nicely but not brown or burn so keep an eye on it.

Step 7: Once the cheese is melted, remove the tray from the oven.

And you’re done! Excellent job! Now all you have to do is serve. 


Ladle your beautifully prepared soup into bowls of your choice and top each bowl with 2 or 3 of your ooey-gooey yet crispy croutons. Serve this ridiculously healthy meal to your family and friends and receive your well deserved applause, ooohs and aaaahhs.

Stay tuned and follow this blog for more easy and fun recipes. 😀