Fresh Meals From Fresh City Farms

Last week I had the pleasure of trying Fresh City Farm’s newly launched ready-to eat Fresh Meals. If you haven’t heard of Fresh City Farms, they are a Toronto-based city farm and organic e-grocer, delivering fresh organic produce and groceries … Continue reading

Balsamic Reduction: Make It Fancy In Minutes!

Making balsamic reduction is one of the quickest ways I can think of to spruce up your cooking. A balsamic reduction is simply the process of boiling down balsamic vinegar. The result is a wonderful syrup that can be used in sweet and savoury dishes alike. Takes only minutes to make, and can be used in so many ways.  Make the transformation from regular home chef to culinary pro!

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A simple balsamic reduction adds elegance and a beautiful sweetness to leafy greens, and goes especially well with goat cheese and pistachios or other nuts. Dress up your salad with this classic dressing! It also pairs sensationally with tomato salads or strawberries in desserts. Can be used as a thicker topping for meats, fish and vegetables, or a thinner version can be used as a glaze for fish or roasts. So versatile! A simple balsamic reduction can add oomph to any dish that uses balsamic vinegar!

It adds an AMAZING touch to a simple Italian Caprese salad, which is what you will see here in my photos. I’ve also included the Caprese salad recipe in this post. 🙂 Continue reading

The Best Kale Recipe: Fritters!

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Kale is the new black. (At least I think it kind of still is…) I’ve never seen a leafy green so in-fashion! A few years ago, when I first heard rumours of this new “thing”, everyone was talking about it. “Kale is SO good!”, “Have you tried kale?”, “Superfood!”, “Nutrients!”, “Kale saves lives!”. It was all around me. Kale salad, kale smoothies, kale chips, sauteed kale…everyone in the world, it seemed, was being kale-ified. Of course I had to taste this veggie for myself!

Kale is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, a group of veggies including cabbage and brussels sprouts. I always say it looks like huge, curly spinach. It’s a little bit tougher, and some say it has a bit more of a bitter flavour. It has been called a superfood and one of the healthiest foods in the world. It is packed with nutrients and has a ton of health benefits, while also low in calories. Here’s a top 10 list of kale health benefits.

Kale can be eaten raw or cooked. I absolutely love it (although I don’t think there’s a single vegetable that I don’t love). The problem I had with kale was that I didn’t know a lot of kale recipes. I never knew what else I could do with it, other than sauteeing it with garlic or making a salad. I mean, I love kale salad, but there’s got to be other ways to eat this stuff… And I found out that there definitely are! Here is one of my new kale favourites! Delicious kale fritters! Flavourful and full of kale (and spicy if you want). They’re so hard to resist! Continue reading

Tomato Salad In A Snap!

There is no better time than tomato season to enjoy tomatoes. Everywhere I look, my friends and family are harvesting their crop and bragging about how good their tomatoes taste. My father started a vegetable garden last year and is growing all sorts of tomato varieties. He planted so many he doesn’t even know what to do with them all! And so, of course, I have a never-ending supply of sweet, ripe tomatoes coming to me. I have to say, these homegrown tomatoes are the best I’ve ever had!

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Take advantage of the delicious tomatoes in season and enjoy them in a simple salad! Tomato salads have always been a staple in my home, and I have my father to thank for it. He is the man always on a quest for the freshest, ripest, sweetest tomatoes, and was the one who first showed me this recipe. (I’m sure this is how I developed my love for balsamic vinegar.)

This is the easiest salad to make. It uses only a few ingredients, and takes minutes to make. Continue reading

Wrap & Roll! Learn To Rice-Paper-Wrap Anything And Everything.

I get a lot of requests for easy, quick and healthy recipes. Here’s a recipe that can’t get any easier or quicker, and can be super duper healthy! These were inspired by Vietnamese rice paper spring rolls and can be 100% vegan or vegetarian-friendly if you want them to be. If you’ve ever tried Vietnamese food, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

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Rice paper wraps are my best friend. They’re so quick and easy to use and they don’t cost much at all! Rice paper is like thin, steamed rice crepes that have been dried out into thin, hard, round sheets. You dampen the sheets, one by one, in warm water and you’re ready for wrapping! They get nice and sticky and adhere to themselves to make a gorgeous fresh roll in one step. They’re also much healthier than fried spring rolls. Continue reading

Seriously Delicious Homemade Pizza: Easiest Recipe Ever!

When the moon hits your eye like this homemade pizza pie, it’s gonna be some serious amore. I promise.

I use a whole wheat pita for the crust. You might think this sounds crazy, but give it a chance! These are the fastest super-yummiest thin-crust pizzas I’ve ever made! And it’ll take you less time than it takes to call for delivery…and taste better.

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I had this brilliant idea a couple years ago, and I haven’t stopped making these pizzas since. The best thing about them is that you can customize them to your own liking. Put anything on them! Get creative!  There are no limits to the yummy creations you can make. You can make them as healthy (or not healthy) as you like. You can even use gluten-free pitas/ingredients, or make them vegan. You just pile the toppings on a pita, and bake in the oven.

The result: A deliciously crispy thin crust anything-you-like-on-it pizza pie. You’ll be super impressed, along with whoever’s eating them with you. My non-pizza-eating mother has even started eating these when I make them.

Get your toppings, and hop to it!

Easy Thin Crust Pizza

*Use gluten-free or vegan-friendly ingredients to make this work for you*

Ingredients:

  • Pita bread. Large or small. Each pita makes one pizza, so use as many as you want to make. I use the thinner, drier, whole wheat pitas that can open into a pocket, as opposed to the moister, more dough-y pitas.
  • Pizza sauce. You can buy pizza sauce, or make your own, any tomato sauce will probably work fine.
  • Cheese. I usually use mozzarella, this time around I used a blend of mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan. Play around with other cheeses as toppings too!
  • Toppings!!!

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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line baking trays with parchment paper and lay your pitas down on top. If you’re using smaller pitas you can probably fit two pitas on one tray.

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3. Spread a THIN layer of sauce over your pita. I use a spoon. **Make sure you dont over do it. Just a thin layer is enough, or your pizza will be soggy.**

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4. Cheese it up! Sprinkle a layer of mozzarella (or whatever cheese you’re using) over top.

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5. Lay your toppings on.

6. Add a bit more cheese as a finishing touch if you think your pizza needs it. If I’m going to use a different cheese as a topping, like a blue cheese or brie, this is when I do it.

7. Put the pizzas in the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until you can see that it’s starting to brown and get a bit crispy around the edges. You don’t want a soggy pizza, so if it still looks wet, leave it for a bit longer. I trust you, you know what a ready pizza looks like! Sometimes I put the broiler on at the end for a couple minutes, just to get the cheese a little golden. 🙂

I made a broccoli & aged cheddar pizza, veggie pizza with zucchini, red onion, garlic, green pepper, arugula & spinach, jerk chicken pizza with mushrooms, garlic & red onion, and my meat pizza had pepperoni, hot salami, olives, garlic, mushrooms, & green peppers. (Incase you’re wondering what’s in the pictures.)

Here are some toppings I’ve used to help you get thinking:

  • zucchini
  • tomato
  • arugula
  • spinach
  • mushrooms
  • peppers
  • olives
  • garlic
  • basil
  • anchovies
  • jalapeno peppers
  • banana peppers
  • onion (red or white)
  • capers
  • broccoli
  • brie cheese
  • blue cheese
  • feta cheese
  • chicken
  • prosciutto
  • pepperoni/spicy salami
  • sausage
  • ground beef
  • You can even use leftover meat from a previous meal (roasted chicken, bbq chicken, steak). I’ve done jerk chicken pizzas a bunch of times.

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Cowabunga dudes! 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.

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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

Parsnip Puree: A Mashed Potato Alternative To Die For

I love mashed potatoes! Garlic mashed potatoes? Even better. But I have to admit that sometimes while I’m mashing I feel like maybe there’s something a little more exciting or different I could be making. Something with the same texture and the same satisfying creaminess.

Well, I found the something! The something is REALLY GOOD. The something is PUREED PARSNIPS (plus a little potato). This is most definitely worth a try! It’s a slightly sweeter play on mashed potatoes, with the same satisfying richness. I seriously love this. Continue reading

White Velvet Soup: Cauliflower & Lima Bean Dream

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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.

Ingredients:

  • 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).

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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

Cucumber Feta Boats

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While searching for things to serve at my Passover/Easter family dinner, I came across a really simple and deliciously refreshing recipe for cucumber feta boats on Pinterest. (Although it totally slipped my mind that I was trying not to serve dairy for the sake of the Passover celebrators. They had to avoid this dish.) They are quick to make and a yummy vegetarian appetizer. You could probably play around and make different variations of the filling too.

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Cucumber Feta Boats
I used a recipe from bitedelite.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 oz of crumbled feta cheese (I used about 70-80 grams of crumbled garlic & herb feta, half of a small 150 gram container I bought)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped (use parsley or a different spice if you like)
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

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1. Wash cucumbers and cut them in half lengthwise.

2. Using a spoon, scrape the seeds out of all 4 halves. You’re left with 4 canoe-like cucumber halves.

3. Cut a small strip off the bottom of two of your cucumber halves, so that they can sit on a flat surface without rocking back and forth. These are your two cucumber boats.

4. Dice the remaining two cucumber halves. Put them in a bowl and mix in feta, salt, dill, and pepper.

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5. Divide the mixture between the two boats, carefully spooning it in.

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6. Slice the boats into 1 or 1 1/2 inch pieces.

Ready to serve! xx