Thursday, August 4, 2016

Crustless Caprese Quiche

Since I can't stand baking in any form, making pastry is a painful ordeal for me (plus we are gluten-free so who needs crust, right?)  This classic flavour combination is so fresh and light that you can literally eat it for any meal or even as a snack!  The best part?  I used basil from my garden, tomatoes, garlic and eggs from Cooper's Farm and combined it with some ingredients I had on hand and adjusted a typical quiche recipe to suit our food intolerances.  Try it tonight!!!

1/4 cup diced onion (I had spring onions so I used them and skipped sauteing them)
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes; one with the seeds removed and the other thinly sliced
1/3 cup packed fresh basil, julienned
4 oz fresh mozzarella, grated (I used goat mozzarella)
4 large eggs
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup milk (I used non-dairy creamer)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray an 8" or 9" pie plate with non-stick spray.  Set aside.
  • Add a tsp oil to a large skillet (I always use coconut because it can take high heat).  Saute the onions over medium-high heat until translucent and add the garlic, salt and pepper; saute for a couple of minutes more.  Spoon into an small bowl to allow to cool
  • Slice one of the tomatoes in half and scoop or squeeze out as many seeds as you can.  Dice tomato.  Add to onion mixture.
  • Add julienned basil to the onion mixture and stir to combine.  Spoon this mixture into the bottom of the prepared pie dish and spread into an even layer.  Top with the mozzarella.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, egg whites, milk, salt and pepper.  Gently pour over top the cheese layer in the pie dish.
  • Lay the tomato slices gently on top of the egg mixture (overlapping if necessary).  Sprinkle top of quiche with black pepper and salt.
  • Place in the oven for 50 minutes, or until the quiche is set.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
  • ENJOY!

Thai Cucumber Salad

I saw this recipe on and since we received a TON of cucumbers in our CSA box from Cooper's Farm, I decided to give it a whirl!  This is not only super simple, but it's tasty and refreshing!
3 large cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1/4" slices
1 tbsp salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped peanuts

  • Toss the cucumbers with the salt in a colander, and leave in the sink to drain for 30 minutes.  Rinse with cold water, then drain and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Whisk together the sugar and vinegar in a small mixing bowl until the sugar has dissolved.  
  • Add the cucumbers, jalapeno peppers, and cilantro; toss to combine.
  • Sprinkle chopped peanuts on top before serving.
  • ENJOY!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Thai Red Curry Chicken Soup

This simple recipe came from "Men's Health" March 2016 magazine and it is a keeper!!  Not only is it fast to assemble, but requires minimal ingredients and is incredibly flavourful.  The recipe only made enough for one serving so I have provided a recipe which makes 4 servings!

4 tbsp Thai red curry paste
8 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 tsp fish sauce
1 can of coconut milk
Juice of 2 limes
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (I used a pre-cooked BBQ chicken from the grocery store)
Thinly sliced Thai red chilies (optional)
Torn mint leaves (optional)
  • In a large pot, combine the Thai red curry paste with the chicken stock, fish sauce, coconut milk and lime juice.  Stir to dissolve the curry paste.
  • Bring to a boil and reduce head to medium low.
  • Add chicken and stir.  Heat until chicken is warm (2 to 3 mins)  Taste and season if necessary, with salt,
  • Serve with sliced red chilies and mint leaves sprinkled on top - you could even garnish with a squiggle of sriracha sauce if you like it really hot!
  • ENJOY!

Curried Chickpea and Mango Salad Wraps

I love the free magazine that you can pick up in the natural foods section of Loblaws called "Sage".  It always has interesting articles and recipes that inspire me!  This recipe came from January's edition and it is fantastic - quick to assemble, tasty and a great source of protein!!!

2 tbsp plain yogurt (I used goat yogurt)
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp rice vinegar
Juice from 1 lime
1 tsp honey
2 1/2 tsp yellow curry powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup diced red onion
2 green onions, green and white parts sliced
1 cup diced mango
1-15oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 soft tortilla shells
1 cup baby spinach, washed and dried
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine: yogurt, mayonnaise, rice vinegar, lime juice, honey, curry powder, cayenne, and salt.
  • Add red onions, green onion, mango and chickpeas; stir to combine.
  • Split mixture among 4 tortillas and top each with spinach.  Fold in sides and roll up tightly; cut each in half and serve.
  • ENJOY!
*If you are planning to pack this for lunch, simply keep the chickpeas in a container with the baby spinach and take along a tortilla separately.  Assemble right before eating to avoid a soggy tortilla!!
**If you don't have chickpeas, this recipe works just as well with diced cooked chicken or firm tofu.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Lemon Sugar Scrub

Not only is this a delicious-smelling way to brighten up and hydrate dry winter skin, but it is easy and economical and contains only natural ingredients (in fact you could eat it if you wanted!!)

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 lemon
  • Place sugar into a large mixing bowl.  Set aside.
  • Measure out 1/4 cup of coconut oil and place in a microwave safe container.  Heat for 30 seconds or until liquid.  Pour over sugar and combine thoroughly.
  • Zest the rind of the lemon.  Cut lemon in 1/2 and juice, removing seeds.  Add to sugar mixture and stir well to combine.
  • Put into mason jars and store next to the bathtub or in the shower!
  • ENJOY your newly soft skin!!
*If the mixture is too wet once the lemon juice and coconut oil is added to the sugar, simply add 1/2 cup more of sugar.

Toasted Coconut Rice Pudding with Bananas

For Christmas Eve dinner everyone chose my homemade macaroni and cheese with garlic bread for dinner, but I decided to surprise them with a traditional dessert that the whole family loves, but with a tropical twist!  I found this recipe in "Alive" magazine and it is a definite keeper!!

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut chips (I bought some in the organic section of the grocery store and they were made by "Hippy Snacks")
4 cups unsweetened plain coconut milk beverage (can be found in the refrigerator section at the grocery store - mine is made by "Silk")
1/2 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup short-grain brown rice
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground allspice
2 bananas sliced, or any tropical fruit of your choosing (mango, pineapple, etc)
  • In a large pot or large high-sided skillet, stirring constantly, bring 3 cups coconut milk, arborio rice, and brown rice to a boil.  Reduce to medium and cook uncovered, stirring often, for 20 minutes.  Reduce to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes longer. 
  • Stir in remaining cup of coconut milk, 1/2 cup coconut chips, maple syrup, vanilla, salt and allspice.  Continue to cook uncovered over medium-low heat, stirring often, for 10 to 20 minutes or until mixture is thickened and rice is tender.
  • Chill pudding for at least 6 hours.
  • Serve garnished with banana slices and remaining coconut.
  • ENJOY!
*If you cannot find coconut chips, unsweetened shredded coconut that has been toasted, is a good substitute.
*If you do not like coconut, substitute the coconut milk with almond milk, and replace the coconut chips with slivered blanched almonds.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Cheese Tortellini Soup

As always, I needed a fast recipe because I arrived home late (story of my life it seems!)  Besides having to pick up the tortellini on my way home (I grabbed these gluten free tortellini from Zehrs), I had everything else on hand! Fast, easy, inexpensive and tasty - try it!!

1 package of refrigerated fresh tortellini
6 cups of chicken broth
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 handfuls of fresh spinach or arugula
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • Heat oil over medium high in a large pot.  Add onions and saute until golden brown.  Add stock and bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, add tortellini.  Reduce heat to medium and cook until al dente.
  • Add tomatoes and juice, arugula, dried basil and ground pepper.  Simmer until arugula is wilted.
  • Serve with Parmesan grated over top, if desired.
  • ENJOY!

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry

I needed something that would be quick and easy, include ingredients that I had on hand, and would make enough for a couple of dinners...Jamie Oliver to the rescue!  This recipe popped up on my Twitter feed and it completely fit the bill.  My only complaint is that it isn't hot enough for me, but my kids enjoyed it (and I just added more chili to mine!)  For someone who doesn't love leftovers; I ate this all week and enjoyed it more and more as the flavours deepened!!

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1" chunks
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 fresh red Thai chili sliced
1 bunch of fresh cilantro, leaves removed and stems finely diced
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 large can of diced tomatoes
2- 400g cans of coconut milk
2-400g cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Melt coconut oil over medium high heat in a large skillet.  Add ginger, garlic, red chili and onion.  Stir frequently until golden brown.  Add mustard seeds, curry, and cilantro stems.  Saute until crispy.
  • Add the turmeric, can of tomatoes with juice, and coconut milk.  Bring to a boil and add squash and chickpeas.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer until tender and sauce has thickened (approximately 25 to 30 mins).
  • Serve over a bed of basmati rice.
  • ENJOY!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sauteed Leeks with Cherry Tomatoes

After a summer of cooking familiar recipes, I felt inspired by the fall-like weather (my FAVOURITE season!) and the load of root veggies and produce in my kitchen.  While the chicken was baking and the root veggies roasting alongside a sweet potato that was baking, I decided to whip up a quick side dish!  The flavours work well together; sweetness of the leeks and tomatoes, saltiness of the cheese, bite of the black pepper and the mellow flavour of the coconut oil!!  Try it - you won't be disappointed! 

1 leek
10 small cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp grated Gruyere
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Trim the leek by removing the root end and topping it just where the leek changes from light green to darker (the leaves become woody in texture at that point).  Slice the leek in half lengthwise and rinse under running water; fanning the layers with your fingers to ensure all sand is washed away.
  • Slice the leeks into thin half-moons.  Set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the coconut oil. When it melts add the leeks.
  • Remove any stems from the cherry tomatoes. Add to the skillet.
  • Keep stirring the leeks and tomatoes to prevent burning.  After a minute or so, gently press on the tomatoes one at a time, with the back of the spoon.  This causes the skins to split and all the lovely juices to run out into the pan and mix with the leeks.
  • Continue stirring until the leeks are tinged golden brown and are transluscent.
  • Place in a serving dish.  Top with the grated Gruyere and ground pepper.
  • ENJOY!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Rib Dry Rub and BBQ Sauce

Pork ribs

Friends of ours hold an annual rib cook off where we all compete for first place and bragging rights!  The dry rub and BBQ sauce that we came up with this year only got us 2nd place at the rib cook off, but 1st place at our family table.  They work perfectly for both pork and beef ribs - so if you are a lover of a traditional BBQ sauce flavour with your ribs, this is for you!!!
Beef ribs

Ingredients (Dry Rub)
3 tbsp Kosher salt
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp packed, dark brown sugar
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp hot paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion salt
2 tsp ground mustard
1tsp black pepper
Ingredients (BBQ Sauce)
3 tsp oil
1 finely diced cooking onion
2 finely diced garlic cloves
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp blackstrap molasses
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 large racks of beef or pork ribs

BBQ sauce prior to pureeing

Pureed BBQ sauce - YUMMY!

  • Pat ribs dry with paper towel.  Flip rack over so back side of the ribs is facing up.  Using a butter knife, gently ease the thin silverskin from the back of the bones.  Using a paper towel, grasp the silverskin and pull off of the bones and discard.  This will ensure your ribs are more tender and cook evenly.
  • Combine all ingredients for the dry rub and rub the back, front and edges of the ribs thoroughly.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours (24 hours is recommended)
  • Remove ribs from fridge and bring to room temperature. Tightly wrap ribs in foil and place in a 250F oven on a cookie sheet, for 2 to 3 hours (pork ribs), or 3 to 4 hours (beef ribs).
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil and saute the onions for the sauce over medium low heat until golden brown.  Add garlic and stirring constantly to prevent burning, saute for approximately 5 minutes longer.
  • Add rest of ingredients, combine and simmer for 10 mins.  Let cool slightly and put into a blender.  Puree until smooth.
  • After the ribs have cooked in the oven for the desired amount of time, open the foil and brush ribs all over with the BBQ sauce.
  • Place on a BBQ grill over medium heat, or back into the oven.  As the sauce caramelizes, brush more on and remove from heat.  
  • Let the rack rest for 10 mins before cutting into either one or two bone servings.  
  • Serve with a side dish of the BBQ (in case anyone wants saucier ribs!!)
  • ENJOY!
*I have found that stating the ribs in the oven and finishing on the grill provides not only the best flavour, but fall off the bone ribs!