Snow Pea Slaw

There is a jungle of tomatoes in our backyard. Raspberries are ripening at a rate that is hard to keep up with (though we are happy to try!). Herbs are running wild and the apples seem promising enough to look forward to. But the snow peas are done. Their tendrils climbed quickly for a short little while. I’ll be filing this recipe away for next summer’s crop. Continue reading

Fauxtography: Summer in the City

duskcanalchamplainLike all good things, my summer vacation came to an end with a return to school last week. I was funemployed for the first couple months of the summer, and for the first time in a long time had (almost) zero commitments. It felt a little weird at first: no set schedule, no job (no pay-cheque) and no classes, but I adjusted pretty quickly…it was glorious.gatineau I decided to fill some of my free time with a class (couldn’t resist some kind of organized activity, I guess.), and signed up for a beginner photography class at SPAO.national gallerymaman Ever since starting this little blah-blah-blahg of mine, I’ve wanted to set some time aside to properly figure out what I’m doing with a my camera, and this summer seemed like as good a time as any to get the basics under my belt. I’m still learning (but when aren’t we?), and I don’t think I’ll ever call myself a photographer, but hopefully the quality keeps improving around here. My favourite aspect of the class was that it set aside some time to go out into the world with the sole intention of taking pictures. This meant tinkering around with my camera of course, but it also meant that I got to enjoy even more of Ottawa’s summer beauty through my lens. backyardDSC_0891I took an awful lot of pictures of flowers. And Dunlop. Flowers and Dunlop together! And food, of course.dunlopSONY DSC Click to continue reading

Laura’s Kingston Kitchen [Chia Power Doughnuts]

kingstonkingstondwight!Knowing me as well as she does, Laura made breakfast our first order of business after I arrived in Kingston. Having taken a 6:30am train from the mess that is Union Station in Toronto, I was thrilled to get caffeinated and fed on the patio at Pan Chancho. pan chanchoI’ve been to Kingston several times, but it was my first time visiting since my friends had finished school at Queen’s and it was my first time seeing lovely nurse Laura in her ‘adult’ life– it might have also been the first time our visit didn’t involve dancing the night away at one of Kingston’s fine bars and spending the rest of our time recovering. We must be getting a little wiser.

There wasn’t a whole lot going on in town, so we picked a couple recipes from the Oh She Glows cookbook, headed out to do groceries and spent the afternoon catching up while cooking. It was so nice to just be in the kitchen chatting, accompanied by Laura’s adorable cat (named Dwight, as in Schrute Farms) and good music (or a new guilty pleasure by J. Lo). After a grey morning, Kingston gifted us with a perfect summer evening, so we took our feast down to the harbour for a picnic.picnicharbourpicnicWe made most of the next morning’s breakfast before heading out to see a movie (I think we were feeling pretty organized). After waking up around 6am with Dwight on my legs (turns out I’m a scaredy cat and was afraid to move him off me), I fell back asleep and woke up way later to see Continue reading…

Dad’s Lentil Salad

ImageI stuck my nose up at my Dad’s lentils for a long time.  When we were traveling through France, the smell of lentils cooking (along with his fishy bouillabaisse) would send us little kiddies running upstairs. ImageBut of course, now that I’m  grown up (at least a little bit), it’s one of my favourite dishes.  So healthy, so easy to make, so fresh, and the perfect simple dish to eat on your sunny balcony when things just seem so crazy in this world. Maybe it sounds silly, but making this salad made me feel close to home, and in the wake of the tragic news in America this week, it was comforting.  Dad’s Du Puy Lentil Salad

When You’re Sick: Eat Your Greens. Monochromatically.

(Whine alert!) It’s been a week of being sick, and I am not amused!  In the winter time, I expect to get a cold at some point — it always happens, so I’m ready to bundle up and slog through school and enjoy my tea.  But this summertime sickness is weird and just won’t go away. It started with a headache which led to a fever, which came back for a night or two, then seemingly disappeared only to make a brief encore appearance and leave me in peace with this lingering headache and stuffy nose.  I know it’s really nothing serious, so I’ll stop whining. But you guyyyyys, I don’t like it!

This is what I do when I’m sick: travel plan with tea (obviously), get pep talks from my cough drops, and watch my favourite guilty pleasure show (I’ll admit it…Say Yes To The Dress…)

I’ve missed out on my tennis, volleyball, yoga, and painting the town red; I might actually be turning into a sloth. In fact, Dunlop has taken over my yoga mat while I’ve been out of commission…

A real downward dog?

So hopefully my lack of activity/gain of nap time is kicking this little bug out of my body! There are some things that I crave when I’m not feeling well (tea, pho, smoothies, Say Yes To The Dress…) and although my appetite seems to take a dive when I’m sick, I like to try and make sure I still have some light, healthy meals.  This is how this salad was born, but it is definitely something I’m going to keep making even in times of 110% health (which will be most of the time for all of us, I hope!). “That’s just a bowl of green.”, you might say, “Nothing exciting!”… BUT IT IS! And so easy to make! I was tired after chopping this minor amount of food, but that is not normal so don’t you fret.

That’s all you need!

I’ll include the “recipe” of course, but this is one of those dishes where you don’t need one. Simply make it to your taste. Just make sure you have the avocados (I called it an avocado salad after all!) because they create the lovely creaminess for the rest of the veg.  Then add your favourite green vegetables (or fruits! and they don’t HAVE to be green, we’re not discriminatory), some cilantro or basil, some lime juice, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper and you’re done. That’s it! Delicious and easy, my favourite combination. (OK, please don’t take that one out of context…)

My mum is a rebel. Adding red grapes? Delish.

Green Avocado Salad

Summer Favourite: Rustic Tomato Tart


I used to really dislike tomatoes.  As a kid, unless they were in spaghetti sauce, I picked them out of pretty much everything. The only reason I liked tomatoes back in the day was because my dad says “to-mah-to” so this would lead into sing-alongs (“You say tomato, I say tomahto…“).
I think I became a tomato convert once my parents started growing them in our backyard. I loved going out to pick our little cherry tomatoes, the sweet millions, and I guess one day I decided I should probably try what I was harvesting. And that was it — ta da! A tomato lover was born.  Luckily I think I only missed out on eight years of tomato goodness, so I’ve had plenty of time to make up for those missed fruits. 
This tart from Cooking Light will beautifully showcase your tomato summer harvest — not only is the classic pairing of tomato and basil delicious, the brightly coloured tomatoes practically scream summer. Along with your rainbow of tomatoes, the crust gets it’s golden hue from corn and cornmeal — and is surprisingly easy to make! So you see, it’s pretty enough to impress but easy enough for a lazy summer dinner…perfect, right?It’s a long weekend over here and I’m getting ready for some time at the beach, kicking around town and sleeping in as much as I can! Can’t believe it’s August already — got to make the most of these summer days. Have a great weekend!

Happy Father’s Day! [Dr. Tom’s Oatmeal Bread]

Dad with us twins almost twenty years ago.

Since it’s Father’s Day I thought it would be fun to share a recipe with you that is a delicious creation of my Dad’s.  As a  physician, my Dad definitely practices what he preaches; exercise every day and healthy eating. His discipline is quite impressive.
When my parents bought a bread machine several years ago, my Dad started making his own recipe for a bread that would meet both his health requirements and taste good.  Years later, he’s finalized a recipe for his favourite bread and he makes it all the time, he’ll often make a few loaves in one go to slice and keep in the freezer.
A typical lunch for my Dad combines his bread with hummus and sliced tomatoes; no fuss, and of course, it’s fresh and healthy goodness. So, I told my Dad I wanted to make his bread for the blog, and he was very enthusiastic (he even came up with calling it “Dr. Tom’s Oatmeal Bread”).  We made it together and when I took it out of the bread machine I was pretty disappointed to see that the loaf and risen too high and collapsed in on itself.   Ever the supportive father, Dad assured me that since you can really play around with the quantities of each ingredient without it making a huge difference it would still taste great, it just looked bad. Excellent. Oh well, he was right! It was still delicious.  I guess he just has the magic touch for his bread…I’ll have to keep practicing.  Thanks, Dad!
Dr. Tom’s Oatmeal Bread

GMOs and Baked Polenta Fries

Polenta is enjoying a sort of resurgence in my household. I remember eating it when I was young, but until last year I feel like we had sort of forgotten about it. I’m so glad it’s back in action in our kitchen.

I feel like I often talk about how much I love a certain ingredient featured in a recipe because of it’s versatility  and polenta fits in exceptionally well in the versatile-club. (Polenta vegetable pie is a favourite at home, and I’ve been wanting to try this cake for a while…see how versatile? Yay polenta!) Seriously, I think I like these better than potato fries (but then, I don’t really like potatoes). Either way, they were a big hit.

Cripsy and crunchy on the outside with a little cheesy goodness…you won’t have leftovers.

These “fries” are so easy to adapt to different preferences in taste and texture; I’ve made them three times already but I’m excited to experiment some more. Also — cut these up into smaller pieces before you bake them, and you can have polenta croutons!! Perfect on soups, salads… I get way too excited about food…

I found the recipe on Kitchen Vignettes by Aube, and not only did I love the sound of the recipe and the beautiful photographs, but the way she fit a little bit of activism into her post about Monsanto and GMOs made my heart beat a little faster. At the time I had read the post, I was actually working on a group project for a class at school about the environmental impacts of genetically modified organisms, so it really struck a chord. If you have a couple minutes, head over to her post and watch the clip from the documentary called “The World According to Monsanto” — hopefully it gives you some food for thought.

Enough talk, make those fries!

Sprummer Simplicity [Strawberry Spinach Salad]

Is it crazy that I already feel the summer flying by? Between a summer job and trying to have as much fun as possible, I’m finding (as usual!) that there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  I just want to gallivant around town, read through the stack of novels that gets totally neglected during the school year, and play in the kitchen… meanwhile, my parents are quite concerned about my messy room (this may be a con to living at home when you’re twenty, but I love my parents.).

Ottawa has been getting some glorious weather lately, and to take advantage of this beautiful, fleeting sprummer (calendar says spring, feels like summer = sprummer. I didn’t invent this word, but I love it!) I’m a big fan of throwing together easy, fresh salads with seasonal produce.

A beautiful hike along the Luskville Falls trail in Gatineau Park. (Next time you’re making a smoothie, throw a little fresh mint in. It’s so refreshing!)

With the farmers markets that are popping up around the city, fresh produce is one of the best ways to celebrate the season.  The Locavore Artisan Food Fair that I talked about a couple weeks ago was a big hit!

Donuts from Suzy Q(spicy chocolate, raspberry white chocolate, and lemon meringue…so good!); people lined up for delicious takeaway from the Stone Soup Foodworks truck; the Flatbread Pizza Company’s exciting Locavore-day menu.

Another great thing about the sunny weather? Sunny weddings! Congrats, Josh & Maria! xo

With The Great Glebe Garage Sale, a potluck dinner, karaoke, more tennis, and sunshine on the horizon it looks like this weekend is shaping up to be another fun one. I’m such a lucky gal. Maybe I’ll even get to cleaning that messy room…
What are you up to this weekend?? Have fun!
Spinach and Strawberry Salad

Honey Bran Muffins

Before you balk at bran being thrown at you once again as a great way to get your fiber, let me say that these muffins are truly delicious.  My mum has been making these for a long time, and even as a kid they kind of seemed like a dessert to me (this might be partly because we didn’t eat dessert a lot…).  Now that I’m sure I’ve convinced you of these muffins’ yummyness (I’m just inventing words this morning), I should tell you that they are also healthy (and yes, a great way to eat your fiber). Go make them!

This recipe is a great base, too, for whatever dried fruit/nuts/berries/all of the above you want to throw in.  One of my favourite add-ins are blueberries, but I went for something a little different this time with dried cherries and walnuts. Delicious.  These babies also make very satisfying travel snacks — a good thing, since I’m taking a couple to the airport with me. Have a great weekend! Mum’s muffin recipe