Breakfast MuffinsLately, I’ve been finding it a little difficult during the week to eat a proper breakfast in the morning before my usual commute into work.  It’s been awhile since I’ve stocked up on my homemade granola bars, so this week I decided to make these light, fluffy and very tasty breakfast muffins to fill that void. The great thing about this recipe is that you can really throw in any sort of fruit you like, its quite versatile that way!photo 2(2)

 

Breakfast Muffins
 
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup unflavoured greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅛ cup coconut oil melted
  • ¾ apple sauce
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp honey (I love clover)
  • 1½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup rolled oats, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 tbsp mixed seeds (pumpkin & sunflower)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with 12 large muffin cases. In a small bowl, mix the eggs, greek yogurt, oil, apple sauce, banana, honey and vanilla. In a large bowl mix the remaining ingredients, except the seeds, into a large bowl, add a pinch of salt and mix to combine.
  2. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix briefly then divide the batter up evenly in muffin tray. Sprinkle the muffins with the extra oats and the seeds. Bake for 25-30 mins until golden and well risen. You can stick a skewer into the center of a muffin and when it comes out clean you're good to go! Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. Can be stored in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or place in ziplock bag in the freezer and it can keep up to two weeks.

 

Carrot Hot Dogs & Peach Feta SaladThese carrot hot dogs are a great vegan alternative. The first time I heard about them I was up north at cottage on Manitoulin Island. There is a lady there that sells them at the local farmers market and I thought it would be a great idea to feature them on my blog before the summer officially comes to a close. Personally, I love all sorts of fresh condiments as you can probably tell from the photo below. Besides the carrot hot dogs I also wanted to share with you this great peach feta salad recipe. It is a summer time favourite of mine, there are SO many great recipes out there to incorporate fresh Ontario peaches this time of year and I look forward to sharing with you all atleast one  more.

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Carrot Hot Dogs & Peach Feta Salad
 
Ingredients
  • Carrot Hot Dogs
  • 5 large carrots, peeled try to cut yours to the size of the hot dog buns
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar and a dash of salt)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ⅛ tsp granulated onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ clove garlic, minced
  • pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • hot dog buns
  • hot dog toppings
  • Peach Feta Salad
  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3 ripe peaches, sliced into wedges
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese, for garnish
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • ½ cucumber, sliced
  • 2 cups kale
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Carrot Hot Dogs
  2. Fill a pot about half-way full of water, heat it on high until it boils. Turn down to medium heat and add the carrots. Boil for approximately 6 to 8 minutes, or until fork tender but not mushy. After removing the carrots from the boiling water, run them under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  3. While the carrots are cooking, whisk together in a bowl the water, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, onion powder and pepper.
  4. Combine the carrots and the marinade in a zipper gallon-size bag. Shake so the mixture coated the carrots. Place the carrots in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.
  5. Coat a medium skillet with 2 tbsp olive oil. Turn the heat to medium and place the carrots and about ½ cup of the marinade into the skillet. Heat the carrots for approximately 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. Peach Feta Salad
  7. Place kale, sliced peaches, chopped tomatoes, cucumber and feta into salad bowl.
  8. Beat the balsamic vinegar in a bowl with garlic, salt and pepper until sugar and salt dissolves. Then place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  9. Toss dressing with the salad and enjoy!

 

 

vodkaredpeppersauceI hope everyone enjoying the summer so far, personally I can’t believe how much time has flown by.. Before the summer comes to a close I wanted to share with you all my personal favourite vodka red pepper sauce recipe. I’ve seriously been making it for ages. Its always a toss up between this one or a vegetable pasta sauce whenever I’m craving something comforting. It was just in the last few years when I realized the importance of fresh pasta and believe me when I say it is truly essential if you’re going to do it right! If you don’t have time to make it from scratch yourself, many grocery stores tend to carry it! I really love making pasta around this time of year when the garden is just exploding with tomatoes, basil and red peppers.

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4.0 from 1 reviews
Vodka Red Pepper Sauce
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, minced
  • 1 red pepper, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 28 -ounce can tomato sauce
  • ½ cup vodka
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream (I usually used ½ & ½ or a cashew cream)
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn, plus more for topping
  • Kosher salt & pepper to taste
  • 12 ounces fresh linguine
Instructions
  1. Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the white onion and red pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in the vodka, tomato sauce and salt to taste. Return the skillet to medium heat and simmer, stirring often, until the alcohol cooks off, about 7 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in the parmesan and basil.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook as the label directs.
  3. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to combine. Season with salt. Serve topped with more parmesan and basil.

 

HomemadeBBQPizzaWho doesn’t love the taste of  crispy thin crust bbq pizza? This is probably one of the most fun meals to make with a group of people. Despite the chopping prep work, it is actually quite simple to execute over the BBQ. I especially love adding an assortment of toppings. The garden in my backyard has exploded, so I’ve been trying to use up all the tasty and fresh vegetables and herbs as possible. On the left I used my family’s home-made tomato sauce and decided to add fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms and fresh kale and basil from the garden. On the left I used my home-made pesto, mozzarella, mushrooms, kale and fresh sprouts. both were insanely delicious.    Untitled

BBQ Pizza
 
Ingredients
  • 1 piece of pizza dough
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 2 cups of tomato sauce
  • any additional ingredients youd like!
Instructions
  1. Preheat grill for high heat. Punch down dough, and divide in half. Form each half into an oblong shape ⅜ to ½ inch thick.
  2. Brush grill grate with olive oil. Carefully place one piece of dough on hot grill. The dough will begin to puff almost immediately. When the bottom crust has lightly browned, turn the dough over using two spatulas. Working quickly, brush oil over crust, and then brush with 2 tablespoons tomato sauce. Arrange whatever ingredients you desire on the pizza and place back on the grill. Close the lid, and cook until the cheese melts. Remove from grill, and set aside to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the second pizza.

 

 

California SaladThis past weekend I went up north to my girlfriends cottage with my sister for a much needed girls weekend. It had been years since I had been up there and despite the not so great weather; we ended up having a wonderful time. Pre-weekend I decided to whip together a california salad inspired by this lovely little restaurant by my work called Lola’s Kitchen. This salad is quite hearty and can quite easily be made into a meal by adding some fish, tofu, or chicken. photo 1(2)

California Salad
 
Ingredients
  • For the Salad:
  • 1 sweet potato (diced)
  • 2 beets
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1 cup quinoa (cooked)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds (toasted)
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (toasted)
  • 1 cup sprouts
  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes
  • 2½ cups kale
  • Coarse sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • For the dressing:
  • ¾ cup olive oil (good quality)
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Toss potatoes with coconut oil, salt, and pepper to taste
  2. Roast until tender and golden, about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring once through and allow potatoes to cool.
  3. Place the beets in a large saucepan and add water to cover and the lemon juice or vinegar. This will help to keep the beets from bleeding. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Place pot under running cold water and let rinse until beets can be handled. Peel the skin off the beets and slice beets.
  4. For the dressing you want to combine the olive oil, vinegar, water, honey, salt and pepper in a blender.and then massage the dressing into the kale.
  5. Layer on top the rest of the ingredients for the salad, mix and enjoy!

 

israelThe past two weeks absolutely flew by for me while on vacation in Israel.  I am in no way surprised that I’m still craving the delicious falafel and hummas salad plates, which ended up being my ultimate go-to while traveling around the country. I’m still desperately searching to find a spot in Toronto that is comparable. I’ve heard good things about Fat Pasha, but if anyone has anymore suggestions I’m completely open to it : )

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All-in-all, the trip was quite the eye-opening experience for me. The culture including the people I met and became close too combined with the fresh and flavourful dishes really made me feel like I could easily spend at least a month there exploring. I had so many amazing moments on my trip, it’s hard to pin point a favourite place. Tel Aviv was definitely up there for me, Carly and I only had a couple of days there so we spent most of our time walking around Camel market and Jaffa Flea market picking up neat nic nacs, drinking fresh smoothies, and trying out some delicious restaurants. We ended up stumbling upon this gem called Puaa. While there we ended up trying some pomegranate mimosas, cauliflower poppers and a simple yet tasty mixed green salad. At the time I wish I had a bigger stomach and more time to try everything on the menu. 10487293_10201923098833057_697476358539381136_nThat evening we ended up going to a beautiful seafood restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean called Manta Ray. I loved the tapas style plates you had to chose from, a sample of 12 different dishes ranging from vegetarian, seafood, and salads. It all came out on a big tray and between Carly and I, we ended up ordering quite few items between the both of us. The most interesting combination I had was the salmon, parsley salad, I could have eaten about five of them! The last night we ended up at this new Italian restaurant around the corner from where we stayed called Gemma Wine Bar. We sat on the patio in the middle of this beautiful quiet cobble stone street and ate an amazing beet pistachio salad, fire stone oven pizza, and spinach pasta dish. 10518979_10201933934543943_5212482783989181577_nBesides indulging in the markets and amazing food, I tried to spend as much time on the beach appreciating every moment and relaxing. Now that I’m back home I’m excited to try a lot of this dishes with my own personal touch and share with you some new and exciting dishes with a middle eastern flare!

Banana Chocolate Coconut PancakesWho doesn’t love pancakes, especially ones that contain chocolate chips? For fathers day after a great game of early morning golf with my dad, I decided to whip up some sinfully delicious banana chocolate coconut pancakes.  These pancakes are completely gluten-free and made with cashews the perfect alternative for those watching their blood sugar! This is definitely one of my favourite combinations, that is sure to satisfy my sweet cravings right away.photo 3(1)

Banana Chocolate Coconut Pancakes
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup mashed banana
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup coconut chips
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips
  • coconut oil for cooking
Instructions
  1. Soak cashews overnight in water. In the morning using a food processor, pulse cashews until finely ground. Add in the baking soda, then pulse in eggs, vanilla, and banana until combined. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in chocolate chips by hand.
  2. Heat coconut oil in skillet over medium heat. Spoon batter 1 tablespoon at a time onto skillet
  3. Flip pancakes when bubbles form. Sprinkle coconut chips on top with maple syrup (optional)

 

cacao If you’re like me and tend to enjoy a sweet snack to get you through the day, why not feel good about it? I absolutely love these coconut, cacao & almond butter balls that I made last week,  they contain tasty wholesome unrefined ingredients that will do your body good. Besides a great sweet snack alternative they can also be eaten a little bit before exercise, or right after, to sustain you until your post workout meal.photo 2

Coconut, Cacoa & Almond Butter Balls
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup gluten free oats
  • ½ unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup natural almond butter
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • ⅓ up chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Place oats, shredded coconut, almond butter, raw honey and chis seeds in food processor.
  2. Blend until smooth. Sprinkle in chocolate chips, then roll into small balls and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Place sheet in freezer for 5-10 mins

 

WatermelonraspberrysmoothieSummer is almost here, and with the humid days becoming more frequent it’s very important to stay refreshed and hydrated. The last few weekends I’ve been spending lots of time outside in the backyard working on my vegetable garden (I’m growing all sorts of things this year including red/yellow/green peppers, cucumbers, green onions, cucumber and tomatoes) These watermelon and raspberry smoothies were enjoyed by both my sister and mom, and is a perfect summertime drink to subside those sweet cravings.photo 2

Watermelon and Raspberry Smoothie
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups watermelon, cubed
  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup fresh raspberries
  • ⅓ cup almond milk
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp chia seed
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!

 

parsnipandcarrotfriesI’ve been noticing these parsnip fries popping up on various menus through out the city, and it wasn’t until the other week when I finally decided to give them a go at Woodlot restaurant. I thought it would be neat to create a similar recipe so I did this by adding carrots into the mix and changing up the seasoning a little bit.  The parsnip and carrot fries really do the trick for me, not only were they easy to make but they were a fantastic .alternative to the highly addictive and unhealthy fries I only enjoy on special occasions.photo 3

Parsnip and Carrot Fries
 
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds of parsnips and carrot mixture, peeled, cut into small strips
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1½ large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Paprika Garlic Aioli
  • ¾ cup raw cashew pieces, soaked for 4 to 8 hours
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Mix together parsnips and carrots, chopped rosemary, garlic, and oil on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and mix to coat. Spread out in a single layer.
  4. Roast for 10 minutes; turn parsnips and carrots and roast until they are tender and browned in spots, 10–15 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt, pepper.
  5. Drain and rinse the cashews. Combine the cashews, garlic, lemon juice, paprika, and ¼ cup of water in a blender and blend until smooth. If needed, add additional water 1 tablespoon at a time. Season with salt and pepper to taste.