Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy Hallowe'en.

I love Hallowe'en. I love costumes. I love costume parties. I love adorable trick-or-treaters. I love chocolate. I love roasted pumpkin seeds. 

Toss seeds in a small amount of oil, sprinkle with salt, paprika, cinnamon, or cajun seasonings. Roast in oven at 300F for 45-60 minutes or until golden brown. Stir occassionally.

Wishing you a Hallowe'en weekend filled with all the things you love, 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Warm me up!

It's a cold, wet, windy night. 
Homemade soup was the only solution to warming me up.

This was my first time making potato leek soup - it was EASY. Who knew? 
I used a food processor but I think a blender would also do the trick!                                           

Potato Leek Soup 

1 Tbsp butter or margarine
1-2 cloves of garlic
3 leeks
3 potatoes
3-4 cups broth
Dash of thyme, salt, & pepper

1. Sauté garlic and leeks in melted butter or margarine. 
2. Throw in broth and bring to a boil.
3. Add chopped potatoes (Yukon Gold worked well for me). 
4. Cover and let cook for about 20 minutes.  Add a dash of dried thyme, salt, and pepper. 
5. Once the potatoes are soft, transfer 1/2 to 3/4 of the soup to the food processor. Process until smooth and add it back to the pot. 
6. Serve and ENJOY!!! 

Special shout out to Jenny who inspired me with her homemade potato leek soup today at lunch. 

Stay warm, 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Messy Spice

Totally inspired by a post on A Cozy Kitchen I decided to face the disaster that I like to call My Spice Box. Herbs and spices are expensive and important; they deserve more respect than what I currently give them.

You want to see it don't you? Alright, here it is: the before picture.

I'm embarrassed. Stop looking now. 

I stumbled across small mason jars at Home Hardware this past weekend (I honestly have no idea why I ventured into Home was probably the universe trying to send me a sign that it was time). Along with 12 small mason jars, I picked up a small can of Chalkboard Paint and a paint brush. The whole purchase came to under $20. The amount of chalkboard paint needed is pretty darn small - share with a friend to save money! 

Covers to mason jar  

Paint covers with chalkboard paint 

So much better.  Look! There's the Coriander! I see it! 

Wishing you a clutter-free kitchen, 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Cloudy Sunday Morning

What's better than waking up on a cloudy Sunday morning knowing that you have nowhere to be? I love it I love it I love it!  Last weekend I was feeling hungry and creative - sometimes this turns into a disaster, other times it turns into me thinking I am a genius. This time -  genius!

French toast - nut butter - cinnamon - coconut - maple syrup. Sounds good, right?

Nut Butter French Toast
Makes 4 slices

Cashews & Walnuts (any nut will do)
1/4 - 1/3 cup   
Coconut, unsweetened, shredded  
1 tsp 
1/4 tsp  
1/4 cup  
1/2 bean or 1 tsp 
Whole grain bread 
4 slices 
Maple Syrup 


1. Throw nuts, coconut, cinnamon, 
and vanilla into a food processor. Blend for a couple of minutes until it starts to turn into a butter or paste. The longer you process the smoother it will be. (FYI - this is how you make nut butter! So simple!) 

2. Add eggs and milk and process until blended (we don't want big chunks of nut butter in the batter). This should take 10 seconds or less. 

3. Pour into a dish and soak bread on both sides until saturated. 

4. Add some butter/margarine/oil on a heated pan and cook over medium heat until golden brown. 

5. Drizzle with maple syrup and top with banana slices. 

Note: If you prefer a sweeter french toast you can add some maple syrup, honey, or sugar into the food processor when you add the eggs and milk.

Wishing you a weekend of wonderful mornings,

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hi Pumpkin, want some Chili?

Fall is officially here! I love the fresh, crisp air and the buzz and excitement when a new season approaches.  A change of season also brings a change of recipes - see ya later juicy summer produce and a warm hello to dark leafy greens, root vegetables, and squash! This is a quick season so it's best to get cookin'! 

Pumpkins can go beyond jack-o-laterns and pies - this week I made Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili.  Chili is my favourite cold weather meal. It's easy to make, super nutritious, and leaves me with quick, warm meals all week long. Bonus: it freezes really well! 

This was the first time I've put pumpkin in my chili and I sure am glad that I did! The pumpkin spice gave the chili a deep, warm flavour, and the puree thickened it up. 

Chili is a great dish because you can literally throw in whatever veggies you have in the fridge! Feel free to play around with this recipe - add different veggies, throw in some lean meat, or change up the herbs and spices to better suit your tastes.

You'll probably want to start with the pumpkin puree first since the pumpkin takes about 45-60 minutes to bake. While the pumpkin is baking make the chili.

How to Make Pumpkin Puree: 
Wash your pumpkin
Cut it in half and scoop out all the guts and seeds 
Put about 1/2" of water in a baking dish and then place each half of the pumpkin face down in the dish. 
Place in the oven at 350°F for about 45-60 minutes (or until the pumpkin is soft and can be easily pierced with a fork) 

Carefully remove the pumpkin from the oven. 
Scoop out the flesh and place in a food processor. 
Add Pumpkin Pie Spice (1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground allspice). 
I also had a clove of roasted garlic on hand so I popped that into the mix. 
Pulse until pureed - don't let it get too thin!

Fall Pumpkin Chili 
Step1: In a large pot heat 1 tbsp of olive oil, minced garlic (1-2 cloves), and diced onion (about 1 onion)
Step 2: Chop your favourite vegetables and add them to the pot. 
I used:
  • 1 med zucchini
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 6 mushrooms
  • 1 jalapeño + 1 habanero pepper (I like it HOT!) 
Step 3: Add 2 cups of beans (I used black beans)
Step 4: Once all the veggies are cooked, pour in a can of tomato sauce. I used a tomato sauce that had italian seasonings in it. I could really taste the basil and oregano so I didn't need to add any more herbs. Add the pumpkin puree (see below for recipe). Mix together and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. 

Serve and sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese. Yum!

This recipe was inspired by Recipe ReDux, a group of bloggers who take on the challenge of making healthy, delicious recipes each month. Check out these other bloggers that have taken on this month's challenge: fresh pumpkin! 
Recipe ReDux

  • Cherie Schetselaar - Grain Crazy - Fresh Pumpkin Risotto
  • Alexandra Caspero- Delicious Knowledge - Pumpkin Enchiladas
  • Katie Hamm - Healthy & Happy Hour - Pumpkin-Bacon Ravioli
  • Alysa Bajenaru - Inspired RD - Sweet & Spicy Pumpkin Fries
  • Everyday Tastiness - Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
  • Dr Barb, Nutriton Budgeteer - Pumpkin Chili Chicken Pizza
  • Elizabeth Jarrard- Don't (White) Sugar Coat It - Vegan Pumpkin Soup
  • Kristen Bourque- Swanky Dietitian - baked pumpkin oatmeal
  • Marie Spano - Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins
  • Regan @ The Professional Palate - Pumpkin Ravioli in a Walnut-Sage Cider Sauce
  • Danielle Omar - Food Confidence RD - Pumpkin Goulash
  • Emma @ The Hearty Heart - (Vegan) Cocoa Pumpkin (Whiskey) Mousse
  • gretchen - kumquat - baked mini pumpkins
  • Emma Stirling - The Scoop on Nutrition - Recipe Redux Chermoula Chickpea & Pumpkin Sliders
  • Janel Funk: Eat Well with Janel - Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
  • Nicole @ Whole Health RD - Kaddo Bourani - Candied Pumpkin with Yogurt and Meat Sauce
  • Yuri - Chef Pandita - Pumpkin Apple Soup
  • Lisa @ Healthful Sense - Pumpkin Cream Pie Filling & Pudding
  • Jessica Fishman Levinson - Nutritioulicious - Recipe Redux: Pumpkin Pancakes
  • Jane Schwartz, RD -
  • Kat Lynch - Eating The Week - Pumpkin yogurt dip for waffle sticks
  • Katie Caputo- East Meats West - Pumpkin Stuffing
  • Serena @ Teaspoon of Spice - Whole Pumpkin Cheddar Gratin
  • Kristina @ Love and Zest - Pumpkin Mash
  • Carrie Miller - Nutrition Know How - Baked Stuffed Pumpkin & Pumpkin Orange Muffins
  • Ann Dunaway Teh - Eat to Nourish, Energize & Flourish - Pumpkin, Squash and Apple Soup
  • Kara Lydon - Peace, Love, and Food - Pumpkin Yogurt Dip
  • Stephanie Howard - Give Them Something Better - Fall Harvest Chili
  • Karman Meyer-Nutrition Adventures - Pumpkin-Potato Breakfast Hash
  • Ayla Withee- Eat Simply - Salt and Vinegar Pumpkin Seeds
  • Heather Calcote - Dietitian on the Run - Pumpkin Rosemary & Mushroom Quinoa
  • Jill Melton-The Relish Dish - Ham and Cheese Stuffed Pumpkin
  • EA-The Spicy RD - Pumpkin Pesto Bruschetta
  • Liz Weiss & Janice Newell Bissex - Meal Makeover Moms' Kitchen - Ghoulishly Good Stuffed Sugar Pumpkin
  • Diane Welland - Eat Well, Eat Clean - Pumpkin Cranberry Scones

  • Wishing you fun in the pumpkin patch, 

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Friends, wine, cheese

    Isn't it wonderful how a night in with friends and a room full of laughter can remind you that you just might be the luckiest girl in the world?

    Wishing you the exact same feeling,

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    Roasted Garlic

    Since stocking up on garlic at the Garlic Festival I have been curious to try roasted garlic. I expected it to be super pungent and garlicy but to my surprise it had a subtle flavour with a hint of sweetness. Once cooked the garlic cloves turned a soft, butter-like consistency; perfect to spread over a slice of bread.

    The best thing about roasted garlic is how incredibly easy it is to make! Plus it can be used in so many ways. Here is my short brainstorm of great ways to use roasted garlic:

    • eat on its own 
    • spread on bread, crackers, or pizza crust
    • mashed potatoes
    • soups and stews
    • pasta sauce
    • anything and everything! 

    Making Roasted Garlic: 

    1. Peel away the out layers of skin off a bulb. Leave the skin of the cloves intact (see photo above)
    2. Cut the top off the bulb so that you can see the top of each clove. 
    3. Rub with a small amount of oil. 
    4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes at 400F or until the garlic is soft when pierced. 
    5. When finished scoop the garlic out of the skin and use as desired!


    Thursday, October 13, 2011


    I spent Thanksgiving this year in the beautiful Rocky Mountains in Banff, Alberta.
    When I first heard about this business trip I was a little bummed to be flying solo over the holiday weekend. With the expectation of swapping turkey dinner for over-priced, under-flavoured airport food I was delighted when a friend of mine offered for me to spend thanksgiving with her family in Calgary. Her family was more than generous, providing me with a delicious meal, a place to lay my head, great company and a guided tour of the beautiful Lake Louise and Banff. It is beyond easy for me to list the things I am thankful for and they certainly make the list!

    The Rocky Mountains were breathtaking. I love when nature makes me feel small.

    The view from my hotel in room in Banff, Alberta

    Of course, one cannot show up to turkey dinner empty handed. With that in mind I extended my packing procrastination time by baking some delicious muffins to trek across the country. These are the healthiest muffins I have ever made.


    Whole wheat flour
    1/2 cup  
    Oat Bran 
    2 cups 
    Wheat Germ 
    1 cup  
    Flaxseed, ground
    1 cup 
    Baking Soda
    2 tsp 
    Baking Powder
    4 tsp  
    Applesauce, unsweetended
    1 cup
    Egg whites
    Agave Nectar
    1/2 cup 
    Skim milk
    1/2 cup 
    1.5 cups
    1 cup 

    Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffin tin with muffin cups.
    Mix all ingredients together. Don’t over mix as this will prevent the muffins from rising. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Easy!

    Wishing you an attitude of gratitude all year round :) 

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Almond Honey Chickpea Flour Cookies

    Baking is just so darn therapeutic.... 

    I don't know about you but whenever I make delicious, sweet treats they might as well be jumping, dancing, and screaming my name as they sit there, staring at me through the cookie jar. In times of strength I fight back and toss those tempting buggers into a freezer bag and pop them into the freezer. This technique is win-win -win:
    Win1: Out of sight, out of mind - you're less likely to mindlessly snack on  cookies
    Win 2: When you are ready to have a sweet snack - voila! There they are! 

    Win 3: Domestic goddess points when unexpected guests pop by and you have home-baked goodies!

    Raw, unsalted almonds
    1 cup  
    Whole wheat flour
    1 cup 
    Chickpea flour 
    1 1/4 cup  
    Baking Powder 
    1 tsp
    1/2 tsp 
    2/3 cup 
    Agave Nectar
    1/4 cup
    Coconut butter
    1/3 cup 
    Applesauce, unsweetened
    1/4 cup 
    Ground flaxseed
    1/4 cup 
    1 tsp or beans from 1 husk

    Preheat oven to 325˚F. Lightly toast almonds in oven (about 10 - 15 minutes, stirring once). 
    Pulse almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer ground almonds into a large bowl. Add flours, baking powder and salt. Mix. 

    In a medium-sized bowl combine honey, agave nectar, coconut butter, applesauce, flaxseed, egg and vanilla. Mix well with mixer. 

    Combine wet and dry ingredients. 

    Cover and place in refrigerator for one hour to allow the dough to set. 
    When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350˚F and lightly grease the baking sheet. 
    Scoop 1 Tbsp of dough and roll into a ball. Press the centre of the ball down with your thumb.  Continue this until all dough is used. 

    Bake for 12-15 minutes. 
    Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack before storing. 

    Wishing you the willpower to just have 1 (or 2), 

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    Playing with Fresh Vanilla

    A few weeks ago I was at a Farmer's Market and purchased some vanilla beans. I use vanilla extract on a regular basis but have never worked with the actual bean before.

    The first thing I had to do was get my Google on and figure out how the heck I was supposed to get the vanilla out of the bean.

    The process is pretty easy: slice open the husk and scoop out the beans. I photo-documented the process for your viewing pleasure:

    Vanilla Beans 
    Wash the bean before cutting 
    Cut each end off the bean

    Cut each end of the bean

    Slice lengthwise down the centre of the husk 

    Using a knife scrape the small vanilla beans out of the inside of the husk

    Voila: Fresh Vanilla! 

    Use the beans in any recipe that calls for vanilla. 


    The husk is full of incredible fragrance and oils that should be put to good use! The internet tells me that the husk can be stored in sugar or vodka and after a couple of days it will impart a delicious vanilla flavour. Vanilla sugar and vanilla vodka don't really appeal to me, so after a quick search of my kitchen I decided to store my husk in homemade granola. BEST DECISION EVER. After a couple of days my granola had a wonderful warm vanilla scent and flavour. Success!

    Wishing you a warm and fragrant week,