There’s nothing more encouraging than starting the New Year off right with some “new” resolutions. Unfortunately, most of us will give up within a month or less – I know I shouldn’t say that but you know it’s usually true. One of the resolutions we should never let go of is eating properly. Although we all have crazy-busy schedules, we should never put healthy eating on the back burner.
Thanks to global access, we can now eat almost any food from around the world. There are many “superfoods” out there that are very good for us. Today, I will focus on one which I use often in our diet and its versatility makes it very enjoyable. Quinoa – the “super grain” I like to call it.
This South American ancient grain has been consumed as far back as 4 000 years ago. It has significant nutrient and health benefits. It is an excellent source of manganese, phosphorus, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, riboflavin and folate just to name a few. It is also high in protein and a great source of fiber. This amazing grain is gluten-free and has a high level of healthy fat. The list goes on; it’s an antioxidant, helps to prevent cancer, reduces diabetes risk and much, much more.
For today’s recipe, I will show you how I make my Breakfast Quinoa Cereal with Mixed Berries. There’s nothing healthier than having your first meal with quinoa. It will provide you with great energy and you’ll feel good about yourself… well I sure do when I eat this delicious breakfast. With more added superfood ingredients such as cranberries, raisins, blueberries and goji berries, this is an awesome breakfast recipe to enjoy every morning.
This Breakfast Quinoa Cereal with Mixed Berries is the perfect healthy & flavorful breakfast to enjoy this season… Although this cereal is quite complete as it is, there’s nothing stopping you from topping it off with other fresh fruits, seeds and nuts… Bon Appétit!
When we were visiting Seattle a few years ago, I saw a bag of black beluga lentils and right away I thought about making a nice salad with them. I know that lentils are very good for us and are a great legume to add to our diet. Being the oldest cultivated crop in the world, they are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. Lentils are also high in fiber and low in calories. So after giving some thought to the dish, I came up with my Beluga Black Lentil Salad!
With a hint of spice, this is a great salad to enjoy. It has lovely fresh ingredients in it to make you feel even more “healthy”. Also another plus with lentils is that a small amount makes you feel full so you don’t need to eat much to feel satisfied… you’ve got to love that!
Here’s a quick food fact. The “beluga” name comes from the resemblance between the bead shape and the caviar it’s named after. Unlike its other dried counterparts, lentils don’t need pre-soaking plus they cook much quicker than other legumes which makes them an excellent choice for a quick and easy dish to prepare.
In my Beluga Black Lentil Salad recipe I added some more legumes; chickpeas. – “Why”, you ask? Actually David suggested it to me and it was a good idea. It brings more color to the dish. Like I always say, the recipe is just a guideline to what you can add, substitute or dismiss. Try to make recipes to fit what you and your family enjoys. I also add a key ingredient, my Pomegranate Molasses! This condiment is fabulous and everyone should have it on hand in their kitchen…
The next time you come across these spherical black lens shaped legumes, grab a bag and make this fabulous and healthy beluga black lentil salad for your family. I’m positive that this flavorful side dish will become one of your favorites! Bon Appétit
At a young age, I always liked the taste of lemon. Every time my parents were making something with lemon in it, either savory or sweet, I was looking forward to having it! The tartness from the fruit is a flavor that I’ve been enjoying since childhood…
Later in life I came across a grass that has a similar flavor… lemongrass! It has a subtle lemony taste and as its name suggests, this plant is a member of the grass family. It is a very popular ingredient used in Asian cuisine as well as in Indian, African and Mexican cuisines.
The first time I bought lemongrass I was in one of those Chinatown grocery stores on Spadina Avenue in downtown Toronto. After asking the young lady at the counter what it was and which dishes I could use it in, I bought it and took it home. I had no clue how to handle it let alone what to do with it. After a full day of thinking about it, I made a soup. What a disappointment… there was no lemon flavor in it.
I went back to the same grocery store to purchase more food items and the same girl was there again. I told her what I did and after she giggled for a little while, she told me how to prepare it. What I did was cut the ends off it and put the whole thing in my soup. I didn’t know how to prep this strange ingredient.
I’m sure there are some of you who are not sure how to handle this “grass” either. Prepping lemongrass is very easy. There are a few different ways to cut it depending on how you want to use it.
This is definitely a great ingredient to add to your shopping cart. It is very versatile and contrary to the fruit, the taste of lemon is quite subtle. After watching this video, I’m positive that prepping lemongrass will become “kiddy play” for you…
Mmm….France! Who doesn’t enjoy a nice French meal once in a while? French cuisine is very well-known and is in the top 5 of the culinary world for many delicious reasons…
At first it was influenced by Italian cuisine but it soon parted ways with its gastronomic mentor, creating its own cooking style around the 17th century. Many important culinary methods and techniques developed by the French have had a major impact on many talented chefs.
Earlier in the year, I started sharing the 5 French Mother Sauces with you and every home cook should be familiar with them. There are many other important kitchen techniques to know and one of them is knife skills. There are several ways to prepare ingredients depending on the recipe and different knife cuts are often needed.
For example, prepping a carrot for a stew by cutting it julienne style would be ridiculous! Chopping celery coarsely for a salad would also be strange. When it comes to an onion, there’s an excellent style to use; Lyonnaise cut. This knife cut is used quite often in the kitchen and is a great skill to master.
Lyonnaise an Onion is the perfect example of when to use this technique. In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing my Veal Ossobuco with you and later on this month, my Classic French Onion Soup. Both recipes require sliced onions and by using this knife cut, not only is it much easier and faster but your onions will also be perfectly cut. This is an excellent example to show you that different culinary knife skills do come in handy!
After watching the video, you’ll see how Lyonnaise an onion is easy and efficient. It is a knife cut that you should definitely add to your culinary skill set.
When I was living in Toronto, there’s a restaurant that I really enjoyed…The Keg! I would say that on average I was there about 3 times a month. It was a great place to meet with friends and the food was absolutely fabulous! Many times I just went there for the appetizers, choosing a few of them as my meal.
A friend of mine, Michael, that I nicknamed “Judge Ito” because of his incredible resemblance to the well—known judge on the O.J. Simpson case back in the 90s, and I went to The Keg quite often. It was our spot to share a few appetizers with a nice bottle of red.
Although David and I only visit the Keg once or twice a year, I still like their appetizers. So I decided to duplicate one of my favorites… Baked Goat Cheese with Almonds! I don’t think this starter is still available on the menu but it was back then.
It’s a very quick and easy appetizer to make when entertaining at home. I like to serve this dish with homemade crostini which is also quick and easy. The best bread to use to make crostini is a French Baguette. I have an easy (that’s right, yes it is…) recipe for this bread so just click on this link to get it… French Baguettes
In this video I used Italian Seasoning but I’ve also used dried oregano or Herbes de Provence so any one works pretty well but if you don’t want to use any, it’s absolutely fine! I like the way it is but David thinks it’s even better with a small amount of my Spicy Red Pepper Jelly on top…
As Canadian Thanksgiving is just around the corner and the Christmas Holidays are not too far away either, this is the kind of recipe you’ll want to have in your repertoire. This Baked Goat Cheese with Almonds is one of my favorite appetizers because it gives me time to concentrate on other dishes without compromising on the flavorful results of this recipe. It is an ideal choice when there is so much going on at once and you still want to have a great starter. Bon Appétit!
In late summer and early fall, there is a whole new group of fresh produce available to us. From the end of September throughout February there’s a fruit that I really enjoy cooking with and it is Pomegranate!
Pomegranate is a great source of fiber plus vitamin C, K and folate. Unfortunately many of you would restrain yourself from buying it because it is quite messy to handle unless you know a little trick…
Here is how to seed a pomegranate without the mess…
Carefully cut your pomegranate in half over some paper towel – if you rush, you might splash some of its juice on you. Transfer the fruit to a bowl filled with water. Break the membranes by pushing from the outside to help release the seeds and gently pull the seeds out by scraping them with your fingers.
When this step is done, the pomegranate seeds will be at the bottom of the bowl and most of the white membrane will be floating on the surface so remove and discard it. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the seeds into a bowl and proceed with your recipe.
Using this method, there’s no need to wear black clothes or a rubber apron when prepping this lovely fruit. Also you won’t have to clean your kitchen from the juice splashing all over the place.
Now you know how to seed a pomegranate without the mess. It’s fast and efficient with “clean” results! Next time you are at your supermarket and see those beautiful pomegranates, there’s no need to be afraid of buying them with this simple kitchen trick!
The fall season is so gorgeous with its beautiful vibrant colors. There’s nothing I enjoy more than walking in a park on a sunny day during the third season of the year. The air is fresh and crisp, a welcome break after the hot summer season.
Another plus about autumn is it brings us a new bunch of fresh produce that I can’t resist taking advantage of! One of my favorite ingredients of the season is eggplant… yum!
Years ago, I was introduced to an amazingly delicious and very healthy Levantine dish and the main ingredient is eggplant. It was Baba Ghanoush! I have to admit, it was love at first… bite!
What is so nice about this flavorful dip was the subtle taste of spices in the background blended with fresh ingredients. I also enjoy eating it with some pita wedges and crudités. Although great as an appetizer, I found out back then that Baba Ghanoush is also fantastic as a condiment. It is a nice spread for sandwiches and also goes well with meat.
When I decided to make my own, I used my favorite spices which are smoked paprika and cumin. Although this dish has a smoky flavor to it, I wanted the smokiness to be slightly more intense so the paprika was a good choice.
Another key ingredient that is added to this dish is tahini. As you probably know, it is sold at your supermarket BUT why buy it? Making your own is incredibly easy and also quite fast. Not only is homemade better but it’s also economical. I have a recipe to make your own tahini so just click on this link… Homemade Tahini
As much as summer is my favorite time of the year, I still really enjoy the fall season. Next time you walk by the produce aisle and see those beautiful aubergines, put a couple in your shopping cart, go home and try this recipe… you’ll be glad you did! Bon Appétit!
Everyone has a bucket list. Places to go, things to experience, foods to eat, activities to try… we all have a list. Mine and David’s list is quite extensive and I won’t elaborate on it except for one that I’d like to mention today… Oktoberfest!
As some of you may know, David’s roots are Germanic. Both his parents’ sides are German descendants. For him to one day go to Munich during Oktoberfest is quite natural. Me on the other hand, I’d be there for the party! Although I’m not really a beer drinker, I still want to see it, experience it and be a part of it… Who knows, I might start liking beer?
Besides beer – and a lot of it -, they serve many of their traditional foods during the celebration such as Brathendl (roast chicken), Käsespätzle (dumplings with cheese), Brez’n (pretzels), Weißwurst (sausage), Knödel (potato dumplings), Prinzregententorte (seven-layer sponge cake), and much more…
Another food item that can be found at this well-known event is Schnitzel. Although I like to make mine with pork, chicken or veal is also a tasty option. My version of Pork Schnitzel doesn’t differ much from the traditional recipe except I use a lot of spices in my flour, making the taste more interesting.
Pork Schnitzel is an easy recipe. After pounding the pork loin chops down, they are dredged in flour and then cooked to perfection making the meat moist and juicy.
I like to serve mine with David’s German Red Cabbage. If you’re making an Oktoberfest dinner, you might as well go German all the way, right? I’m not sure though if wearing Lederhosen or a Dirndl is a little too extreme but go ahead and wear those if you really want to get in the mood… lol!
Celebrate this world famous event by making my delicious Pork Schnitzel for dinner and who knows, maybe Germany will end up on your bucket list too! Bon Appétit and… Prost!
Aren’t Rice A Roni® and Uncle Ben’s® packaged rices great? They’re awesome until you start reading the ingredients and try to figure out what is what. It can be quite puzzling! Now when buying straight rice, any kind it doesn’t’ matter, it’s quite simple… it’s RICE!
Depending on which meal you’ll be serving along with it, rice is often the perfect choice. A meal with sauce, an Asian dish or just because you prefer rice over other carbs, this is a popular side dish.
Way back when I didn’t even bother making my own rice. I made most everything else except rice. It was more convenient to grab it from the supermarket shelves, add water, butter, the little flavor packet that comes along with it, stir and… voilà… done! It’s only when I started looking for healthier choices that I realized most of the ingredients in those “convenient boxes” were not really the right choice…
I threw all my “boxes” out and decided that from now on I would be making my own rice mix and now here it is! Please enjoy my Wild Rice Pilaf with Porcini, Cranberries & Toasted Almonds! Not only is it easy to make but the flavors are far superior to anything from a “box”.
I love making this particular wild rice pilaf recipe because the ingredients are just fantastic together. Obviously it takes longer to make than the ones from the boxes and stand up bags. The beautiful crunch from the wild rice combined with the basmati is so delicious! The added ingredients such as red onion, porcini, garlic and much more, gives this side dish a well-balanced flavor.
Don’t wait till you become a “health fanatic” before you make this tasty Wild Rice Pilaf with Porcini, Cranberries and Toasted Almonds. It’s a fabulous side dish that you’ll love serving at your next dinner party… it is so elegant! Bon Appétit!
When I was living in the Eastern part of Canada, Hawai`i was a destination I always dreamed of visiting but never thought I ever would (just like Egypt… maybe it’s an omen… lol!). The nearest “tropical” destinations from Toronto besides Florida are the Caribbean Islands. Within 7 hours I could’ve been pretty much anywhere… except Hawai`i
When I met David, within a couple of months of dating, we were planning our first trip to Hawai`i. Now remember I was living in Toronto and he was living in Vancouver. Sure enough, four months later after we started dating, we flew to Hawai`i… aloha!
Who doesn’t love Hawai`i? The scenery is breathtaking! The people are so laid back and friendly. Its traditions and culture are so interesting. Its food… oh my… its food is so delicious! If you are a traveler and a “foody”, Hawai`i is the place to go…
The recipe I’m about to share with you is not one of my creations but David’s. He was inspired by the beautiful tropical flavors of Hawai`i after our very first trip to Kauai. This is his fabulous Hawai`ian Chicken Curry!
I’m a lucky woman! I’m with a man who’s multi-talented, funny and so adorable! I have to admit, David is a great cook. He came up with so many delicious recipes on his own. He also inspired some of my creations from his input and ideas… plus did I mention he’s funny?
His Hawai`ian Chicken Curry is an incredible recipe! The ingredients combine harmoniously in a nice, rich coconut milk sauce. With just a little zip to it and topped with coconut flakes, it makes this dish a super star because everyone loves it!
If Hawai`i is too far away from where you live, don’t worry. Now you have a scrumptious meal to appreciate whenever you’re craving something “Tropical. From the West Coast of Canada, Aloha and please enjoy this Hawai`ian Chicken Curry… (hang loose!) Bon Appétit!
I enjoy making desserts but only when there’s people coming over otherwise David and I have to eat them all by ourselves. The odd time, I do make some but I’m really picky and carefully choose the one I’ll be serving except for one… my Apple Cheese Pie!
When it comes to this dessert, if guests are over or not, this is a pie I love to make. It is so yummy and it’s our treat during late summer and early fall with all the beautiful apples we buy at the local orchards.
This recipe has a unique twist to it though. I know many of you have had a slice of cheese with your apple pie before but in mine, the cheese is actually in the pie with the apples. As much as it’s unusual, this gives the pie an incredible flavor…
Think about it… The saltiness from the cheese combined with the apples, cinnamon and other ingredients complement each other. It’s like a match made in baking heaven!!! It goes together like bread and butter, peaches and cream, peanut butter and jam… I think you get the idea… lol!
Obviously when making a pie, you need dough. I have a great recipe for that too… my Foolproof Pie Dough! I tried my mother’s recipe and it was a disaster, I could’ve killed someone with it because it was so hard. Then I gave my aunts’ recipe a shot. Same thing until this one. Now this is my go-to pie crust recipe!
This delectably delicious Apple Cheese Pie is a yummy twist on an old favorite. Served with my scrumptious No Churn Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, this is a sin for every bites! Next time you want to make an awesome dessert, you know which recipe to try… Bon Appétit!