Avocado Salad & A Serious Case of Spring Fever

While talking about the weather can get old pretty fast and is usually relegated to small talk, Ottawa is buzzing about this glorious weather. It’s officially the first day of spring but it feels like midsummer here.  What big piles of snow were left are melting fast and except for the leafless trees, all signs of winter seem to have disappeared.  This early summer seems a little weird but no one’s complaining! I got on my bike for the first time this year and went to my yoga class with sandals on yesterday, it felt amazing. The tennis courts are open, people are talking about heading to the beach…it sure doesn’t feel like March!
I needed a sunny lunch to go with my sunny day, and was inspired (on Pinterest, where else?) by this fresh take on an avocado salad.

I didn’t have all their ingredients on hand, but I tossed mine together with a simple vinaigrette of red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic and threw some chopped Kalamata olives on top…bright, fresh and super tasty.

I’m typing outside in the sun, but I think I’d better get to the library if I’m going to get any work done… this beautiful weather isn’t conducive to school work!
Hope the sun is shining wherever you are!

“Guinness Is Good For You” (and so is chocolate cake!)

In honour of Saint Patrick’s day I jumped at the chance to throw Guinness in a recipe to make it un-authentically “Irish”.  This Saturday I might just be hopping on the bandwagon of people who claim to have more Irish ancestry then is true (I do have some though, really!), enjoying dyed green beer and sporting a shamrock, but this dessert is actually a classy (and delicious) way to celebrate the day on which everyone is Irish-ish. And really, chocolate cake + beer…I knew good things were going to come out of the oven.

This recipe certainly doesn’t need to be reserved for St-Paddy’s day only, I will definitely be making this more than once a year!  The Guinness really does do something amazing to the cake; the result is incredibly rich, moist and intensely chocolatey.

Use stabilizer in your whipped cream if you want the topping to look like the frothy head of the famous Irish beer…or your cake could look like mine!

May the luck of the Irish be with you!

Heavenly Angel Food Cake

I love this light and airy cake, but I tend to think of Angel Food Cake as a summer dessert. However, with cartons of egg whites in the fridge this dessert suddenly seemed very appropriate (even if there is still snow on the ground!).
The cake can be whipped up quickly and you certainly don’t need to get fancy to make this dessert a hit. I also discovered that this recipe works super well for a cupcake version! I added some mini chocolate chips to the cupcakes just for fun and it was a perfect little treat. Topped everything off with vanilla whipped cream and strawberries…is summer here yet?Image

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Mum’s Best Buttermilk Pancakes

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but if the meal isn’t skipped altogether we tend to just grab something we can eat on the run.  I’m not saying that we need to cook a feast every morning, but isn’t it nice to actually sit down and enjoy the first meal of the day?  These pancakes are a cinch to whip up in the morning,they’re healthier than your average pancake, and if you make extra just freeze them for later…easy!  My Mum’s Best Buttermilk Pancakes

Brussels Sprout Pesto

Even people who cringe at the thought of the little green veggie can like this pesto — you can’t tell the brussels sprouts are there, but the end result is a simple, delicious pesto (in an awesome shade of bright green!).

I like things full of garlic, so if you’d rather keep your pesto on the lower end of the garlic-breath scale, cut back on the amount of cloves you throw in… Brussels Sprout Pesto Recipe

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Gallactica.

 

Dwight Schrute would approve of this salad. Actually, it’s probably a little too high maintenance for him (but it’s really easy, I promise!). This winter salad features beets, citrus, fennel and onions — might not sound like a winning combination, but let yourself be surprised.  The contrast in textures, flavours and colours make this something special.

Blood oranges star alongside beets in this Moroccan inspired salad.

Try it out!

A Match Brewed in Dessert Heaven [Dark Chocolate Earl Grey Tart]

I am a tea drinker. It fits all occasions. Early mornings, pity parties, long talks, steamy dates, nights of insomnia, last minute cramming, cozying up on the couch...through it all there has been one man: Earl Grey. Though I certainly appreciate variety in my tea cup, I think the Earl and I have a serious and lasting relationship. What better way to show my love for the Earl than to pair him with another one of my favourite things? Cue a decadent Dark Chocolate Earl Grey Tart.

Dark Chocolate Earl Grey Tart with Earl Grey Whipped Cream

This dessert even got the nod from my mother, and she’s my (most loving) harshest critic! Even if you’re not a big tea fan, the subtle-tea (I promise to stop…) of the bergamot flavoring adds a really lovely dimension to the dessert. As long as you like chocolate, you’re good to go. Something this decadent shouldn’t be so easy to make…

Sunday Dinner [Red Lentil Soups]

After making a sufficient mess in the kitchen this weekend, some lovely gals came over for Sunday dinner. I love playing hostess, and am super lucky to have friends who act as my cooking guinea pigs! The menu was a little bit haphazard, but the outcome was a warm, hearty and healthy meal with good friends, which is the most important part!

This red lentil soup is very simple to prepare, but with a drizzle of the spiced oil on top and garnished with a sprig of coriander, it will look like you slaved over the stove.
Serve up some soup! And see the rest of the random dinner menu…