Make Jujube Tea, Not War.

The health benefits of dates have been well-known in China for thousands of years, They are believed to cleanse and enrich the blood, enhance immunity, promote white cell formation, reduce cholesterol and protect the liver, among many other supposed gains. Dates are rich in vitamin C, calcium and iron and are believed to be therapeutic for the elderly as well as growing children and those with anemia. Red dates (hong zao in Chinese) are also known as jujubes. For more on China’s “cure-all” fruit, click here.


I’ve been drinking red date (or jujube) tea since I was a child. It was something my mother would make for my sister and I to keep our little bodies strong. Growing up, I thought of this as some sort of magical mommy-creation. I had no idea how easy it was to make! Continue reading

Indonesian Chicken Soup For The Mind, Body and Soul

We all have our bad days. Days where you have too many questions and not enough answers. Days when your mind feels full and empty at the same time. Days when you’re sick, tired, or both. Sometimes we need a moment to see the light; something to intervene our thoughts. A great intervention: chicken soup. Soup is an amazing answer to any question, no matter how big or small. It can be an equally good addition to a good day, cold day, lazy day or busy day all the same. Soup clears your mind, fills your insides, warms your heart and brings a smile to your face.


“Anyone who tells a lie has not a pure heart, and cannot make a good soup.”
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

It may be my Asian upbringing, but there is nothing better than a hot bowl of noodles and soup. The breakfast, lunch or dinner of champions! The best soup noodles are homemade. You take the time to make a delicious broth and the rest comes easily. The noodles take no time at all, and you can quickly add simple toppings. I make batches of broths to freeze. That way, there’s always a bowl of hot noodle soup waiting to be made in a flash. Continue reading

Soupe A L’oignon: That’s French For Delicious!

Oh gosh, where do I begin? I love French onion soup. It was love at first taste. Onions, croutons, and Swiss cheese are put into a little pot of steaming-hot goodness. I always begin by battling the mountain of bubbling cheese melted over top, trying to get a spoonful to my mouth without cheese strings hanging down my chin. (French onion cheese beard, not a good look.) Once I’ve made a path through the cheese and bread, it’s a mix of eating soup, onions, bread, and cheese until it’s all gone.


“You will find this to be a more oniony soup than the usual kind but, as the cross old lady said when a stranger told her that her slip was showing, “I like it that way.”  ~Margaret Yardley Potter

I don’t know why it took me so long to think of trying to create this at home, but I finally did. And guess what, IT’S SUPER EASY!

Onion soups have been popular since…forever. They’ve been said to have been made as far back as in ancient Roman times. Onions were readily available, and easy to grow. Today, you can buy a whole bag of onions for two bucks! I read, over and over again, that the key to an amazing onion soup is TIME. The longer you cook your onions, the sweeter and more flavourful your soup will be. I found a ton of recipes with onion cooking times ranging from 20 minutes to 2 hours. So I killed two birds with one stone: let the onions cook while I took a nice long bubble bath. 🙂 P.S. You’re going to smell onions…everywhere…but it’s going to be wonderful!

I love using recipes that can easily be made vegetarian/vegan friendly or gluten-free. Classic French onion soup is made using beef broth or a combination of both chicken broth and beef broth (each made on its own, and then combined). There is flour, bread, and cheese in this recipe. However, I’ve noted substitutions you can make for a few of the ingredients to make this soup work for you.

French Onion Soup

* I used long cooking times, which makes for a really wonderful soup. However, this can be done in less time. If you’re pressed for time, you can experiment with cooking the onions for less time, and you can cut the soup-simmering time as well. But taking the extra time is definitely worth the wait. Your soup will taste amazing!


  • 3 pounds of onions (I bought a 3lb bag at the store)
  • 6 tablespoons butter (3/4 of a stick) (Vegan version: use olive oil or vegan butter/margarine)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 cups beef broth (Vegan/vegetarian version: use veggie broth)
  • 1 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour (Gluten-free version: use potato flour or other flour of your choice)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt (or to taste)
  • French baguette (or bread of choice…I used an old baguette that had gotten kind of hard.) (Gluten-free version: use gluten-free bread)
  • Swiss or Gruyere cheese (or both) (Vegan version: skip the cheese or try using vegan cheese)
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)


1. Peel onions and thinly slice, about 1/8-inch thick.

2. Melt butter in a large stockpot. Add onions and cook on low heat, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 hours. The long cooking time make the onions mellow and sweet and give your soup more flavour.

3. Stir in pepper, paprika, and bay leaf. Saute for about 10 minutes.

4. Add flour to onions and stir until mixed well.

5. Pour the beef broth and wine into the pot. Add salt. Increase heat and bring to a boil.

6. Reduce heat and simmer slowly for about 2 hours. Have a little taste and add more salt or pepper, if needed.

The soup part is done! Have some right away or refrigerate overnight and serve tomorrow!

I ladled my soup into 1 cup servings and froze them in the freezer for a convenient way to have a bowl whenever I like. 🙂

Serving French Onion Soup:

*Warm it up before you pour into the bowls. I served my soup right after I had made it, so it was still hot. I don’t know if 5 minutes under the broiler will completely heat up the soup while the cheese is melting. This way you can be sure your soup will be steaming hot.

1. Pour your soup into ovenproof crocks or bowls. There are the classic French onion soup bowls with the little arms, but anything ovenproof will do. The only things I had that were the right size were ramekins, so I used those.

2. (Adding the parmesan is optional. I happened to have a bit in the fridge, so I sprinkled it over my soup for some extra cheesiness.)

3. Top with a slice of toasted bread or croutons. Slice some bread, brush with olive oil (can sprinkle with sea salt, maybe add some garlic) and toast in the oven. I used a baguette from two nights before that had hardened. This soup is a great way to use up old bread. 🙂

*If you’re doing a vegan version without cheese, this is where it ends… the soup is delicious on it’s own or topped with a yummy slice of toasted bread. 🙂

4. Now for the cheese. Sprinkle grated Swiss or Gruyere cheese, or a mixture of both, over your bowl of soup. Be generous! The more cheese, the yummier.

5. Stick your bowls in the oven under the broiler for about 5 minutes, until the cheese melts and starts to bubble.

Be careful taking the bowls out of the oven.

Get out your spoons, and enjoy!!! xx


Roasted Tomato, Leek, and Fennel Soup

Soup is one of the good things in life. It warms our tummies and our souls. Each hot spoonful eases our minds and comforts us, embracing us with all its deep, rich, flavours. Soup is like a loving hug from the inside out. I’ve come to love all soups, in all the flavours and textures they come in.


This a perfect day to post a soup recipe. I’m sick in bed with my sick-day crew: laptop, Puffs Plus Lotion tissues, and a cup of tea. I came across this recipe a couple weeks ago on deliciousness (re)visited and tried it out last night. It was the perfect recipe to test out while feeling under the weather because it’s simple and doesn’t require too much work (my perma-headache isn’t allowing too much brainwork). Continue reading

White Velvet Soup: Cauliflower & Lima Bean Dream


I was looking for a new and tasty soup to serve at my family Passover/Easter dinner. This recipe came from Green Kitchen Stories, a wonderful vegetarian food blog full of healthy and delicious recipes. I wanted something rich, maybe even creamy, with flavour. I came across this soup and decided it was the one. The gorgeous whiteness of all the ingredients makes things in the kitchen really pretty too. It has the yummy taste of cauliflower with the richness of the lima beans. 🙂 A hot bowl of thick hearty soup is such a comfort on a chilly night. Although the weather’s slowly warming up, I thought I’d take advantage of the last of our colder days and soup it up!

This is a really simple soup to make, and so super healthy! It’s a pureed soup of roasted white veggies and lima beans. These vegetables are full of health boosting nutrients and the lima beans are high in protein and loaded with fiber.


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 medium onions
  • 6-8 whole cloves of garlic (I used 10…I love garlic)
  • 3 cups of cooked lima beans (about 2 cans)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil
  • paprika (or cayenne powder if you’d like a bit of spice)
  • Truffle infused olive oil (optional)

This soup is extra easy because all your cooking is done by the oven.

*If you are using dry lima beans, remember to soak them in water overnight. I soaked mine overnight and then boiled them the next day for an hour or so…or until they are soft. Even though the skins get wrinkly while soaking, leave them on. All the fibre is in the skin.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line two baking trays with parchment paper.

2. Wash and cut your head of cauliflower into small pieces and transfer to first baking tray. Drizzle olive oil over top and sprinkle with salt.

3. Peel the onions and cut into chunks. Transfer cut onions to second baking tray along with whole cloves of garlic. Drizzle olive oil over top and sprinkle with salt.

4. Put both trays into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the edges have become a nice golden colour.

5. (I was about to start blending in a blender when I remembered I had my hand blender!) Transfer the veggies into a pot and add cooked/canned lima beans, water, vegetable broth, and lemon juice. Now blend until smooth using a hand blender. If you don’t have a hand blender, you can do your blending in a regular blender (doing smaller batches at a time if it doesn’t all fit).


6. The soup probably isn’t very hot, so heat it up a touch on the stove before you serve it. If you find your soup is too thick, you can add more water (or broth) until you’re satisfied with the consistency.

7. For something a little extra, mix 1 teaspoon of olive oil with 1/8 teaspoon of paprika/smoked paprika. Drizzle over the bowl of serve before serving. I drizzled truffle infused olive oil and sprinkled a little paprika over top.

Hope you love this!! xx

Middle Eastern Delight: Lentil and Split Pea Soup

Lentil soup should be in every cook’s repertoire. What’s more comforting than a steaming hot bowl of this fragrant hearty soup? It also doesn’t cost much to make and is good for you! Lentils are low in calories and high in nutrition. They are full of both protein and fibre and are said to help lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar,and improve heart and digestive health. Lentil soup is one of my Middle Eastern favourites! I used chicken broth, but this can be vegan friendly by using vegetable broth instead. 🙂


If you’re from Toronto and you like Middle Eastern food, you must have heard of Jerusalem Restaurant. Established in 1971, it was the first Middle Eastern restaurant established in the city and is said to be one of the best. I remember going there as a child with my family. I love their lentil soup, and when I came across the Jerusalem recipe in the paper I figured it was about time I made this soup for myself. (Why have only a bowl, when I can have a whole POT?) I used the recipe as a guideline, but changed a few things here and there. For starters, I decided to add split peas. I also love split pea soup, so I figured combining both would be twice as good. I also chose to do it in the slow cooker, but you can totally make this in a pot on the stove if you don’t have a slow cooker.


Middle Eastern Lentil & Split Pea Soup


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup green lentils
  • 3/4 cup yellow split peas
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 8 cups chicken broth (I made my own stock from scratch. You can substitute with chicken bouillon powder or store bought broth.) *Vegan option: use vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (I used fresh lemons)

First, saute the chopped onions and garlic in a pan with the olive oil, until lightly browned.


Rinse the lentils, split peas, and rice under cold running water in a sieve.

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Put the sauteed onions, along with the rinsed lentils, rice, and split peas into the slow cooker (or pot) and cover with 8 cups of chicken broth.

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I set the slow cooker for 8 hours on low. (If you’re going to try it in a pot on the stove, you could probably bring to a boil and then simmer for an hour or so.) You want to cook until the rice, lentils, and split peas start to kind of dissolve. The soup becomes more mushy and creamy. If its not as creamy as you want it, let it cook for longer and break apart a bit more. (You can always add a bit more broth if it becomes too thick.)


I waited to add the rest of the ingredients near the end (at around 7 hours). Add the salt, pepper, ground cumin, and chopped parsley. You can add more or less of things. Taste it and adjust to your liking! Let the soup continue cooking for the remaining time set on the cooker. I find the longer you cook it, the better it is. An extra hour doesn’t hurt. (If you’re making this on the stove, I’d say stir in the remaining ingredients and let it simmer for another 5 or 10 minutes.)

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Mix the lemon juice in just before you serve. Always serve with lemon wedges! The yummiest thing about lentil soup in squeezing in the extra lemon juice. I love how the tartness of the lemon tastes with the flavour of the soup. So delicious!


Enjoy! xx