Tuesday, December 14, 2010

healthy breakfast ideas

bowl of apple and cheese

Ever tell yourself that you're going to stop eating those muffins every morning but just never get around to finding new and more importantly, healthy things to eat? Well I came across this website that had some pretty good ideas for different breakfast food.

One of my favourite ones in this list is the very first one, apples and cheese. I always love fruit and cheese but never think to eat this for breakfast. There are 8 other ideas so have a look at the link below. Bon appetite!

9 Fast, Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

nutrition facts label redesign

Interesting redesign of the food nutrition facts label. The portion control is much clearer and I like the separation of good and bad nutrients, showing daily maximums.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

aussie-style soft & chewy licorice from president's choice

I'm not a fan of traditional licorice but when a friend recently introduced me to aussie-style licorice I seriously couldn't stop eating it! Everything about it from the texture to the flavour is so much better than traditional American-style artificial licorice. A few days ago I ttried the President's Choice Aussie-Style Soft & Chewy Licorice and highly recommend it to all candy lovers. It's now a definite favourite to tame my sweet tooth!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

roasted red pepper and potato soup

The flavours from the roasted red pepper, garlic and onion make this soup extremely tasty. The blended potato gives it its creamy texture without all the fat of a traditional cream-based soup while the cayenne pepper gives it a little kick. Enjoy.

Here's what you'll need (about 6 servings):
  • 900 mL organic free range chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 medium white potatoes
  • 1 package roasted red pepper anti-pasto
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • cayenne pepper
Prep work (about 10 minutes):
  1. Wash and chop the potatoes into quarters.
  2. Mince the garlic and dice the onion.
Here's what to do (about 35 minutes):
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until onions are soft (about 10 minutes)
  2. Add chicken broth and increase heat to medium-high.
  3. When the broth begins to boil add the potatoes and roasted red pepper.
  4. Boil potatoes until soft (about 20 minutes).
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
  6. Add contents of pot into a blender and blend until smooth. Ensure your blender can tolerate the heat otherwise you will need to wait for the soup to cool completely. If the soup doesn't all fit in the blender then blend multiple cycles, storing blended soup in a separate pot.
  7. Combine all blended soup and add salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.
  8. Allow soup to simmer over low heat for one hour.
  9. Ten minutes before serving add the cream and stir thoroughly.
  10. Serve and garnish with fresh ground pepper, more cayenne pepper or parsley.
  11. Unused portions can be refrigerated up to 24 hours or frozen for future consumption.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

the dirty dozen cheat sheet

Buying organic all the time can be expensive. To optimize your spending and control your budget, use this cheat sheet to decide what fruits and vegetables you'll spend extra money on for organic.

I got this off one of my favourite sites/blogs Take Part, a social action network. See the complete blog post.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

vanilla poached pears with mascarpone cheese

If you need a fancy-looking dessert that's easy to make, this is it! The great thing is that you can prepare this up to 24 hours ahead of time. The pear is fantastic at both room temperature and cold. Impress your guests with this dessert. It will look like you put a lot of effort into it!

Here's what you'll need:
  • 4 ripe medium-sized barlett pears
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 275g mascarpone cheese (small tub)
  • cinnamon
Prep work (about 20 minutes):
  1. Heat water in a small pot and and lower the temperature to medium heat just before it starts boiling.
  2. Add granulated sugar and vanilla. For a slightly different flavour, add a few pieces of ginger to the water.
  3. Peel skin from pears, leaving the stem intact. Cut the bottom of the pear so that its bottom is flat. That way it can sit on the plate without falling over.
  4. Submerge pears in water, rotating regularly for 15-20 minutes and then remove from heat. Allow pears to cool. Pears can be refrigerated and stored up to 24 hours.
  5. Combine cheese and icing sugar into a bowl and mix until well blended. Refrigerate.
Here's what to do (about 5 minutes):
  1. Just before serving, place pear on plate. Allow pear to sit for a couple minutes. Use paper towel to absorb some of the water on the plate around the pear.
  2. Place 1-2 tablespoons of cheese next to pear.
  3. Dust with cinnamon and enjoy.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


This bruschetta is a bit more involved than my bruschetta spaghetti recipe. Instead of vine-ripened tomatoes, I use Roma tomatoes because they're firmer and keep their shape. It's also easier to remove the skin from Roma tomatoes because it's thicker. The preparation time for this recipe may be long because of the process of peeling, de-seeding, and dicing the tomatoes but your guests will love it.

Here's what you'll need (serves 8-10 people):
  • 9 ripe roma tomatoes
  • 1 bunch fresh basil (about 1 tbsp minced)
  • 1 bunch fresh italian (about 1 tbsp minced)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
Here's what to do (about 45 minutes):
  1. Heat a large pot of water and remove from heat just before it begins to boil. Add tomatoes then strain water from pot after 2-3 minutes.
  2. With a soft-skin peeling tool or a sharp knife, remove the skin from the tomatoes.
  3. Cut tomatoes in half to remove seeds then dice.
  4. Mince the garlic and herbs. If you don't have a mincing board, a knife will do, it will just take a bit longer.
  5. Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir well.
  6. Allow bruschetta to sit for at least an hour before serving.
  7. Serve with olive oil and basil toasted bread

    Sunday, April 25, 2010

    mincing garlic with a mincing board

    If you hate mincing then you absolutely need this tool in your kitchen! This cutting board is typically used to mince fresh herbs but I've found it especially useful for mincing garlic too. A special thanks to my co-worker who gave this to me as a gift!

    As a side note, remember to let your garlic sit for 5-10 minutes before using it to reap its health benefits.

    More Information:

    broccoli and cheese sauce

    Put away the Cheese Whiz and make the real stuff! I'll admit that making this sauce is sometimes a challenge. The key is constant stirring, especially when adding the flour. Make sure you steam the broccoli rather than boiling it. Studies show that steaming does not reduce the anti-cancer compounds found in broccoli like boiling does.

    Here's what you'll need for 4 servings:
    • 3 cups broccoli florets, chopped
    • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
    • 1 tbsp flour
    • 1/2 cup 2% milk (or skim)
    • 1 1/2 cup medium cheddar cheese, grated
    • 1/4 tsp mustard powder
    • sea salt
    • white pepper or fresh ground pepper
    Prep work (about 5 minutes):
    1. Chop the broccoli.
    2. Grate the cheese.
    Here's what to do (about 10 minutes):
    1. In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.
    2. Slowly add flour while stirring.
    3. After all flour has been added and blended, add milk.
    4. Stir until heated and then add cheese, mustard powder, salt and pepper
    5. Keep the cheese sauce warm at medium-low heat while the broccoli is steaming.
    6. Serve as a side dish.

    Saturday, April 10, 2010

    italian sausage lasagna with baby spinach and mushrooms

    This recipe is a bit more involved than other recipes I've posted but it definitely takes a few shortcuts from the traditional method of making lasagna. For example, I've simplified the ricotta cheese layer which typically requires mixing eggs and herbs into it. I've also used only sausage instead of both sausage and ground beef. Since the sausage is already quite salty, you can reduce the amount of salt you might normally add. There are lots of fatty ingredients in lasagna so use light or reduced fat cheese wherever possible - you won't even notice the difference.

    One of the great things about lasagna is that you can make it hours ahead of time allowing you to spend more time with your guests instead of in the kitchen. Enjoy!

    Here's what you'll need for 6 servings:
    • 500 g mild or spicy italian sausage
    • 3 tbsp grape seed oil
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 package fresh lasagna sheets
    • 1 tub light ricotta cheese
    • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
    • 1/2 cup parmesan or asiago cheese, shredded
    • 500 ml tomato sauce, plain
    • 1 cup white mushrooms, sliced
    • 2 cups baby spinach
    • 5 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 large white onion, diced
    • sea salt
    • fresh ground pepper
    Prep work (about 25 minutes):
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
    2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the grape seed oil. When heated, grill the sausage, turning frequently to prevent burning.
    3. While the sausage is cooking, mince the garlic, dice the onion, slice the mushrooms, and wash the spinach.
    4. Grate the mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
    5. Grease a large casserole dish with olive oil.
    6. When the sausage is nicely browned on all sides (about 15-20 minutes), remove from pot, slice and place into a food processor. Set ground sausage aside.
    7. Wash the pot to remove grease
    Here's what to do (about 40 minutes):
    1. In the same large pot used to cook the sausage over medium heat, saute the garlic and onions in olive oil until the onions are soft. Add tomato sauce and ground sausage.
    2. When the sauce is heated add mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Lower heat to medium-low. Stir occasionally and allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes. If you have more time then allow to simmer for an hour.
    3. When sauce has simmered, put a very small scoop of the sauce in the casserole dish and spread to a thin layer (prevents the bottom of the lasagna from getting dry).
    4. Place first lasagna sheet into casserole dish (you will likely need to cut the lasagna sheets to fit your casserole dish).
    5. Spread ricotta cheese and add half of grated mozzarella on top.
    6. Add another lasagna sheet.
    7. Spread half of the sauce on top and then all of the spinach.
    8. Add the last lasagna sheet.
    9. Spread the remaining sauce on top and then top with the remaining mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
    10. Tent the top of the casserole dish with a sheet of tin foil.
    11. Bake for 25 minutes, remove tin foil, then bake for another 25 minutes.
    12. When finished, allow lasagna to set and cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

        Monday, March 22, 2010

        top sirloin medallions with creamy peppercorn sauce

        Unfortunately, the urban condo lifestyle doesn't allow me to enjoy steak very often but when I have a craving my grill pan does the job. When I made this, I didn't have any red wine but definitely add a shot to the peppercorn sauce if you have some. Enjoy.

        Here's what you'll need for 2 servings:
        • two 150g top sirloin medallions
        • 2 tbsp grape seed oil
        • 1 small white onion, sliced in rings
        • 1/2 cup white mushrooms, sliced
        • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
        • 1/4 cup of cream
        • 1 clove garlic, chopped
        • 1 tsp corn starch
        • 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
        • 1/2 cup beef broth
        • 1 tsp dijon mustard
        • sea salt
        • fresh ground pepper
        Prep work (about 5 minutes):
        1. Chop the garlic, onions, and mushrooms.
        2. Mix 1/4 cup of cold water with the corn starch in a small cup or bowl.
        3. Season the steaks with salt and pepper on both sides.
        Here's what to do (about 10 minutes):
        1. In a grill pan on high heat (close to maximum), heat the grape seed oil.
        2. When the oil is hot, cook the steaks for about 4-5 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the meat and how you like your steak. (5 minutes on each side for a steak that's about 1 inch thick will be cooked medium.)
        3. While the steak is cooking, add the butter and garlic to a small skillet over medium heat. Heat until the garlic begins to burn.
        4. Add the beef broth, mustard, cream, salt, pepper, and peppercorns and then stir.
        5. Add the corn starch slowly while stirring, using the corn starch prepared earlier. Add only a bit of corn starch at a time and gage the thickness before adding more.
        6. Two minutes before the steak is done, add the mushrooms and onions.
        7. Stir until the onions and mushrooms are slightly soft.