Who 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.
Preheat grill for high heat. Punch down dough, and divide in half. Form each half into an oblong shape ⅜ to ½ inch thick.
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.
This 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.
Preheat oven to 400° F. Toss potatoes with coconut oil, salt, and pepper to taste
Roast until tender and golden, about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring once through and allow potatoes to cool.
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.
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.
Layer on top the rest of the ingredients for the salad, mix and enjoy!
The 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 : )
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. That 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. Besides 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!
Who 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.
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.
Heat coconut oil in skillet over medium heat. Spoon batter 1 tablespoon at a time onto skillet
Flip pancakes when bubbles form. Sprinkle coconut chips on top with maple syrup (optional)
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.
Summer 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.
I’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.
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
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Mix together parsnips and carrots, chopped rosemary, garlic, and oil on a large rimmed baking sheet.
Season with salt and pepper and mix to coat. Spread out in a single layer.
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.
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.
For those of you who don’t know my twin sister Carly and I are going on the Birthright trip which takes us to Israel for two weeks on June 19th! We both couldn’t be more excited about this adventure together. Lately, I’ve been inspired by so many delicious Middle Eastern dishes. So this past weekend to get me in that travelling mood, I decided to whip up some of my dad’s famous red pepper baba ghanoush and naan bread. Its been about three years since I’ve been away somewhere new, so I’m truly looking forward to exploring all of Israel has to offer with my favourite person in the whole world.
Toss all of the veggies in olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper,
Place in roasting pan and roast for 375 until the veggies and nice and caramelized. About an hour or so, and toss them around midway through. When they're cool put them in a food processor and pulse to the consistency that you like. Taste and adjust the seasoning's.
For the Naan Bread
Add yeast and sugar to warm milk. Let that mixture sit for about 5 minutes.
Add in 3½ cups of flour and mix in either a mixer with a dough hook or hand mix. Sprinkle in more flour as needed to keep it from sticking to sides. Try not to exceed 4¼ flour. Dough will become smooth. If using a mixer this will take approx. 3-5 minutes. If hand mixing you will need to mix and knead for approx 8-10 minutes.
Let dough rise, covered, for 2 hours until the dough has doubled in size.
Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and make each one into a smooth ball. Let dough balls rest, covered with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel, for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 500°
Roll out each piece of dough, so they're shaped like an oval.
Place two rolled out piece of dough on cookie sheet and cook for 3-4 minutes or until top is starting to get small light brown spots (it will puff up). After about 4 minutes if there are still no light brown spots on the top, don’t worry there will be spots on the bottom!
Remove each piece, and stack on top of each other so they will go flat. Brush each side with butter, if you'd like to add some garlic powder and a few shakes of salt to the melted butter feel free to do so now!
I had this amazing pasta dish at my good friends house the other weekend and I decided to make it my own by alternating a couple different ingredients. Feel free to do the same as this dish is quite versatile. I absolutely loved the flavour of this roasted balsamic vegetable sauce, it is a fantastic dinner for you to recreate if you’re looking for a hearty dish filled with lots of vegetables. The toasted croutons are completely optional, I personally had this major craving going on while I was making it, and it really gave the pasta that crunch I was looking for.
2 toasted pieces of your favourite bread, seasoned with butter, salt & pepper and garlic powder, diced and throw on top of the salad (optional)
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil and garlic. Add in the onions and peppers; saute until softened. Add the mushroom and kale, if you feel you need to add in a bit more olive oil feel free to do so now. Cook until mushrooms are browned and kale is soft.
Turn down heat and mix in balsamic reduction, salt and pepper, and parmasan cheese.
Remove from heat and toss in quinoa pasta and then sprinkle with toasted croutons.
I’m still drooling over these chocolate cashew coconut bites. The consistency reminds me of cashew larabars, so if you enjoy that flavour you will most definitely enjoy this chocolatey treat. I find myself starting to make more of these bite sized snacks ever since I started working full-time this past month. I tend to get really sleepy around 3 PM and if I don’t have time to run out and grab a smoothie from the local area, I love having small snacks at my desk to help get me through those last two hours of work.
Mix the almonds, shredded coconut and cashews in the food processor until fine. Then add the dates, coconut oil and water and pulse until a dough forms. Form small balls with about a tablespoon of the dough. Place in freezer for 10 minutes to set then tip them in the melted chocolate and coconut oil mixture.