Jan
17

The other night, we entertained which is code for: “try some new recipes”. So I spent some time on Pinterest looking for inspiration and then planned the following menu:

-Edamame Salad

entertaining - edamame

PC® Vegetarian Pot Stickers

entertaiing - potstickers

-Rice Wraps: trust me I will blogging about this one day soon

entertaining - rice wraps

-Sushi platter from Sushi on Bloor

-Avocado Egg Rolls with a sweet chilli sauce (click here for the blog post with the recipe)

entertaining - eggrolls

-General Tso’s Tofu

entertaiing - tofu

I’d like to share the General Tso’s Tofu recipe with you, as it was beyond delicious and easy to make as well. The trick is to squeeze the excess water from the tofu which is something I’ve just started to practice and it makes all the difference.

Plus I’ve never coated tofu in cornstarch before either and I believe this made a difference too.

RECIPE:  GENERAL TSO’S TOFU (original recipe can be found by visiting www.grumpyshoneybunch.com)

1 block extra firm tofu
3-4 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon canola oil

Sauce: (there’s a lot of ingredients but don’t let this scare you)
½ cup brown sugar
3 tbsp hoisin
3 Tablespoons white or rice vinegar
3 Tablespoons ketchup
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
½ cup water
1 tablespoon Sesame oil
4-6 spring green onions, sliced
3 tbsp fresh ginger finely chopped
Hot pepper flakes (optional) ps I didn’t chose to use hot pepper flakes

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Squeeze tofu of excess water! (this is an important step) I did this by placing the tofu between two plates and then placing a heavy object on top of the plate i.e….I used my water jug! Wait 30 minutes or longer.

2. Prepare the sauce: Miix together the first 6 ingredients and set aside.

3. To prepare tofu for frying: Cut into cubes and then coat lightly with cornstarch and fry in a shallow frying pan with canola oil until browned and crispy. Remove from frying pan and set aside.

tofu - fried

4. Wipe pan clean with paper towel and add sesame oil with onions and chopped ginger. Fry about 1 minute, until fragrant.

tofu - ginger

5. Then combine everything….the tofu, the ginger/scallions and the sauce. Stir till all the tofu is coated in the delicious sauce.

Happy Cooking!

 

 

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Jan
16

Getting Organized!!


I’m trying to get organized. Specifically it’s my spices that I’m trying to organize. Here’s what I posted on facebook last week.

spices - facebook

There were quite a few comments with a variety of suggestions and I loved each and every comment. It seems as if I’m not the only one with this issue, which makes me feel a little better. (a little..LOL)

One comment that was left for me, included a link to this article from the Toronto Star. This idea really hit home and its’ inspired me to do the same.  Please click on the link here to read more details.

spices - star

However I know that the first step to getting my spices organized involves actually LABELLING the containers.

Of course, my amazing brother P-touch Label Maker came in handy for this step!

spices - p-touch labeller

Within a few minutes, I was able to label my spices with the help of the brother p-touch Label Maker .  I have no idea how I lived without a Label Maker before!

Final Result:

spices - labelled

Here’s the steps that were involved to get to this point:

-took out all the spices that were hidden in my cupboard.

-dump out all the spices.

-wash the containers in the dishwasher

-run to Bulk Barn and bought a LITTLE bit of every type of spice imaginable.

-run home and take out my “brother P-touch Label Maker” and start the process of getting organized.

-repeat these steps in January 2018!!

Hope this blog post helped you as much as it helped me and my spices.

Disclosure; The label maker was provided to me, however all my opinions are my own.

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Jan
08

Over the holidays I found myself with some serious spare time on my hands which meant there was this fantastic opportunity to spend some time in the kitchen. Nothing makes me happier than spending time in the kitchen (please don’t judge me. Lol)

It also makes me happy to discover recipes that only involves 4 ingredients. Yes  – that’s right – 4 ingredients.

spinach-ingredients

This recipe intrigued me as it included an unusual ingredient which I believe made all the difference. This ingredient is: HERBED STUFFING. Believe it or not I’ve never bought a box of stuffing before but wow did it ever provide flavour (and crunch too)

Also loved the fact that you can freeze these Spinach Balls. (original recipe can be found here)

Here’s what you will need: (note: I cut the recipe in half)

INGREDIENTS

2 (10 oz.) packages frozen spinach, thawed & well-drained (very well drained)

2 small onions, very finely chopped

2 1/4 c. stuffing with herbs

6 eggs, beaten

1/2 c. butter, melted

1/2 c. Parmesan cheese

2 tsp. garlic salt

1 tsp. black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients.

spinach-stir

3. Shape into golf-sized balls and place on a baking sheet.

spinach-tray

3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until heated through and browned

FINAL RESULTS

spinach-final

Serve these delicious Spinach Balls with salmon and a salad and bingo you will have a pretty delicious meal! (in my humble opinion).

OR

Put them on an appetizer plate along with other goodies!

appetizer-plate

Happy Cooking!

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Jan
05

Newsflash: I finally tried a food delivery service. I’ve been offered many times to try a food delivery service and I always declined. But HelloFresh caught my attention at a great time seeing as I was trying to control my portions and I thought that this would help me out. #smartmove

Heres’ a few reasons why I loved HelloFresh! 

-I didn’t have to think about “what to make for dinner”.

-I didn’t have to buy the groceries involved

-I didn’t have to chop, peel or slice

-Indeed it helped me with portion control

-I didn’t forget an ingredient!

The outside of the box that was delivered to me, sums it up beautifully!

hello-fresh-outside-fo-box
HelloFresh is now delivering their healthy and convenient meal kits from coast to coast, to help all Canadians answer that age-old question: “What’s for dinner?”.  I don’t know about you but I battle this question on a regular basis!!

Inside the above box contained everything I needed in 3 convenient boxes – all labelled beautifully as well as a well designed recipe booklet. I also loved these boxes fit conveniently into my fridge!

hello-boxes

hello-meat

Inside the boxes I found EVERYTHING I needed for the recipe. I was also impressed with the meat/fish selection that was sourced locally.

hello-meat

Then came the fun part to actually cook dinner,  knowing that I didn’t have to go grocery shopping or that I forgot an item at the grocery store (story of my life).

Here’s one nights dinner – Autumnal Italian Sausage

hello-dinner

Here’s a photo of another nights dinner – Parmesan Crusted Cod with Roasted veggies.

hello-dinner-2

There’s only two aspects of the service that I didn’t like:

-the lemongrass that was involved with one recipe was pretty powerful.

-the amount of packaging involved however I’m not sure there is anyway around this.

HelloFresh is just perfect for anyone who is stretched for time or just wants to have a break from buying groceries all time and thinking about whats for dinner.

Hope you give it a try one day. I’m sure many of you are tired after cooking and entertaining over the holidays. I also think this would be a great gift for a new parents or for senior citizens who no longer drive. Yes – gift certificates are available.

For more information:

Website: Www.HelloFresh.Ca

Instagram/Twitter: HelloFreshCA

Disclosure: HelloFresh provided me with a complimentary meal delivery service however all opinions are my own

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Jan
02

Please Welcome: The Nut Bar


I stumbled upon this new cafe while working last week. Sadly they didn’t require any of the cheese I sell, but that didn’t stop me from returning!! I really liked the space they created and the menu too! #healthy

nut-bar-space

Even the art work is cool.

nutbar-art

I decided to go super healthy and ordered a tumeric latte.

nut-bar-tumeric-latte

I also ordered their savoury toast( housemade cashew spread, watermelon radish, sesame seeds). It was just what I needed. Not only was it pretty but it was super-tasty as well.

nut-bar-toast

There’s a also a range of smoothies, energy balls (supersuperfood, key lime pie, chocolate, and cookie dough) and bars (nut bars, breakfast bar, superseed). Plus there’s salad options (acai, pink acai and a golden noodle – made with kelp).

Naturally they are committed to sourcing organic and local products! In fact, the almond milk that will be offered with your coffee will be houesemade.

So if you are looking for a cute place for a healthy snack – the Nut Bar should be on your radar.

Heres to a healthy 2017!

For more information:

Nut Bar: https://www.facebook.com/nutbar.co/

Address: 1240 Yonge Street. Toronto, Ontario
Phone: (416) 519-2700

Instagram: @nutbar.co

 

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Dec
30

I’m ending 2016 with some serious splurging. Splurging is generally not a word in my vocabulary but for some reason I really needed to “splurge”.

It all started with a overnight get away to Millcroft Inn where I hung out in their heated outdoor hot tubs. What a treat. (ps there will be another blog post about my stay at the Millcroft Inn – don’t you worry!)

new-years-millcroft

When I returned to Toronto I still felt like relaxing, so I went to the Korean Family Spa. It doesn’t compare to being in Mexico but I welcomed the opportunity to enjoy their 8 different saunas and their wet steam room.

new-years-korean

Then I did some shopping at Fluevog. Can’t wait to wear these two pairs of shoes! It’s a good thing that I have a few events in January because I certainly want to wear them and not have to just look at them in my cupboard.

new-years-shoes

new-years-shoes-2

Oh ya – I treated myself to my very first Le Creuset. I have facebook to blame for this splurge as one of my facebook friends told me about a Le Creuset sale at the Bay!! Before you know it, I was doing some online shopping. I haven’t used it yet but I know I’m going to enjoy these dish. I just hope I don’t keep buying more!!

le-creuset

I didn’t splurge on a fancy dinner or fancy food because I’m perfectly content these days to cook at home plus I’m trying to eat “healthier”. Here’s my version of a healthy banana split. Basically it’s a banana, stuffed with Plain SKYR. topped with strawberries and chocolate covered quinoa puffs. If you haven’t tried SKYR yet, you should. It’s got 22 percent more protein than Greek Yogurt.

new-years-ingredients

My healthy banana split looked like this:

new-years-banana

I’m looking forward to 2017. …more travelling, more friendships, more fantastic food and more adventures. Naturally I will try to share this experiences with you via my blog, facebook and Instagram too!!

Wishing you a fabulous New Years too.

 

 

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Dec
27

In 1990, I was introduced to the Cheesecake Factory while visiting Washington. Since then, I’ve been to Cheesecake Factory in numerous other cities and I always (I mean ALWAYS) order the same thing: Crispy Avocado Egg Rolls. I just adore the combo of the crispy wrapper and the creamy avocado  inside plus the addictive sauce.

Naturally I was scrolling thru Pinterest and discovered a recipe for these delicious egg rolls. Within no time at all I was making these egg rolls!

Here’s the recipe. (original recipe can be found here – www.savorytooth.com)

Recipe: Avocado Egg Rolls with Sweet Chilli Sauce

Ingredients

10 egg roll wrappers
3 avocados, peeled and pitted
1 roma tomato, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
canola oil, for frying

For the sweet chili sauce:
4 tablespoons sriracha
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil

INSTRUCTIONS

1 Add avocados, tomato, salt, and pepper to a mixing bowl. Mash the avocados to a chunky consistency. This will become the egg roll filling. Pretty easy so far, right?

avocado-bowl
2. Lay out the egg roll wrappers and a small bowl of water. Distribute the egg roll filling among the wrappers, scooping them onto the bottom third of each wrapper. Once again, pretty easy!

avocado-stuff

3. Taking one wrapper at a time, use a finger to brush water along its four edges. Fold up a corner over the filling, then the sides, and then roll it up. Dab the last fold with more water to seal. Repeat for all other wrappers. (not hard at all)

eggrolls-wrapped-up
4.  Add canola oil to a large pot until the oil is about 2 inches deep. Turn the burner to medium heat. When the oil temperature reaches 350 F, add the egg rolls in batches. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Slice each egg roll diagonally.

FINAL RESULT:

eggrolls-final

Now don’t forget to make the sauce! I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make this sauce and how freakin’ delicious it was.

eggroll-sauce

I really need to organize a dinner party soon! These egg rolls would be a hit.

By the way – here’s what I did with the rest of the wonton wrappers. I put them in a muffin pan and baked them at 375 degrees till golden brown. They are now in a sealed container in the (stuffed) freezer and will come in handy as an appetizer. Most likely I will fill them with roasted garlic, tomatoes and basil. However you never know what other ideas I might find on Pinterest!!

eggrolls-wonton-wrapper

Happy Cooking!

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Dec
22

Its that time of year where there’s a lot of entertaining going on. So I thought it might be useful to share two recipes for you.

The first recipe is ideal for breakfast or a brunch. I discovered it while flipping through a RICARDO magazine and thought “hmm..this sounds interesting AND easy”.  I tried it and it worked!! In the event you have never heard of Ricardo before, he is a well known media personality in Quebec who launched an English version of his magazine in 2014.

Basically all you need is some cheddar cheese (I used St.-Albert cheddar of course), Wonder Bread and a waffle maker (I used my beloved Breville Waffle Maker)

ricardo-cheese

Place one piece of buttered Wonderbread onto the waffle maker (buttered side facing down), place some cheese on top, place another piece of buttered Wonderbread on top (buttered side facing up)…close the waffle maker for a few minutes and bingo you have these delicious Cheese Waffle Sandwiches (with NO MESS).

ricardo-waffle

The second recipe is ideal for an appetizer for a party.

This Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Bread Dip Ring is once again super easy to make and delicious.

The entire recipe can be found on this video. 

But here’s a recap in case you don’t want to watch the video!!

Basically you take pizza dough and make golf sized balls. Place these balls in a greased, oven-proof dish. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Mix in a bowl: sour cream, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, drained artichoke hearts, drained frozen spinach, garlic powder, salt and pepper

Place the spinach mixture into the centre of the oven-proof dish. Brush dough with an egg wash.

appetizer-ballsspinach

Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes. VOILA – delish appetizer

appetizer-final

Happy Holidays!

 

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Dec
20

Chanuka Ideas….


Chanukah is just around the corner and I’m ready. (I think). I found my Chanuka decor thanks to my beloved new Brother Label Maker, and my tummy is ready too.

chanuka-decorations

Of course I spent some time on Pinterest and found a few ideas to get me in the holiday spirit. In particular, I found this recipe for Chanuka Gelt Cookies!  The other day I made them and they were a HUGE hit. I’m sure I will be making another batch soon. It took only one bowl, a few ingredients and about 30 minutes to make (start to finish).

Chanukah Gelt Cookies (original recipe from www.bakingandmistaking.com)

Ingredients:

2/3 cup (150g) butter or margarine, softened (I used butter …of course)
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cups (220g) flour
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Unwrap the chocolate coins. (not as easy as it looks but easier than unwrapping candy canes!!)

gelt2

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until well incorporated. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until the dough comes together. I then placed the dough into the fridge for an hour. (a tip I learned from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Roll the dough into a ball and flatten into a disc. Then place the disc, well spaced apart, on an ungreased baking sheet OR  put the dough into a muffin tin sprayed with Pam. This is a new kitchen hack that I learned that will prevent the dough from spreading too thin.muffin4I then pressed the gelt (chocolate coin) into the centre of the cookie and placed it into the oven at 350 F for exactly 9 minutes. The edges were slightly brown but the centre was pale and puffy (and perfect)

Let them cool before removing them from the tin.

chanuka-gelt-2

Other cool chanuka ideas (thanks Pinterest) that I’m going to attempt include these adorable Cheese Dreidels. How cute!! Loved this idea but something tells me I’m not going to be successful. Time will tell.

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-9-25-03-pm

 

These cute napkin rings.

pinterst-chanuka

Wishing everyone who celebrates, a wonderful Chanuka. May light and peace fill these 8 days.

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Dec
18

I usually blog about recipes or restaurant suggestions, but this blog post will be dedicated to gift suggestions. Seeing as Chanuka and Christmas are both right around the corner, I think it’s a good time to share five great gift ideas for a foodie.

FIVE GREAT GIFT IDEAS FOR A FOODIE:

1. This practical (and pretty) muffin pan from Indigo. Just take your muffins directly out of the oven and place directly on the table. LOVE IT.

muffin-pan

2. A Gift Card to HelloFresh. This is the perfect gift for a) anyone who is busy b)anyone who hates grocery shopping or c) anyone who has entertained a lot over the holidays and is simply tired of thinking about what to make for dinner!!

hello-fresh-outside-fo-box

3. An electric spiralizer from Hamilton Beach. How cool? A growing trend these days is to make zucchini noodles (or sweet potato noodles) and this genius gadget will have you making healthy recipes with no effort at all. Not to mention it will grate and make ribbons too.

 

hamilton

 

4. A  subscription from Try the World. Once you subscribe, you will receive a curated selection of gourmet foods—including ingredients to cook with, drinks, and snacks—from a new country every month, plus a Culture Guide to help you create an authentic culinary experience at home. This is the perfect gift for a foodie!

try-the-world

5. In the event you know a food blogger, this portable studio from Staples would be the ideal gift. You have no idea how tough it is to take photos past sundown. Oh the problems I have when the sun starts to go down in the winter at 4 pm. #bloggerslife

studio

 

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season. Hope you find the perfect gifts and enjoy the holidays with family and friends.

Disclosure: Some products or services in this blog post were provided to me, however all opinions are my own

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