Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Peacekeeping Lasagna

I had a bit of a dilemma this week. I was having a few people over for dinner but it was a mix of hard-core meat lovers and vegetarians. I wanted to make something satisfying for both. I knew that the carnivores would revolt at the sight of tofu but I wasn't going to roast meat and traumatize my veggie friends.

Vegetable lasagna was the perfect answer. It is filling and satisfying for meat lovers, and vegetarians will not feel ostracized. I found a great recipe from Canadian Living that was remarkably unfussy and quick. It was extra easy because I used oven-ready lasagna noodles. I added pesto to the sauce along with a splash of red wine (one for me and one for the sauce) to take it up an extra notch.

I served it with crusty rolls and a crisp salad, along with lots of red wine and everyone was happy and united. I love it when things are easy!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Fall Cleanse?...Yep.

I don't want to alarm you with the word "winter" so I won't say it again in this post. But we do need to prep for the colder weather and it's actually important for us to cleanse not only in the Spring but in the Fall as well.

I discovered this post from Organic Authority which talks about why we should cleanse this time of year and has some easy recipes for juices and meals such as Butternut Squash Soup with Sage.

So like how we get everything else ready for the upcoming season: snow tires for our car or bike, weather stripping for the home and shoes for the dog, why don't we do it for ourselves too? I know I will...

Happy Cleansing! Keep me posted on how you are doing or if you come across and great recipes to share.


Friday, 19 October 2012

Soups On!

The cooler, damp weather makes some of us want to insulate by wrapping ourselves in a cocoon. What better way to keep warm than with a big bowl of hot soup? Pumpkins are currently so abundant and good for you too. Here is an oldie but a goodie from Simply Recipes to try out. The spiciness of curry will keep you nice and warm:


  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder (adjust to your taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3 (15 oz) cans 100 percent pumpkin or 6 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin*
  • 5 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)**
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (optional or use less)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional or use less)
*To make pumpkin purée, cut a sugar pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, lie face down on a tin-foil lined baking pan. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 min to an hour. Cool, scoop out the flesh. Freeze whatever you don't use for future use.
**If cooking gluten-free, use gluten-free broth.


1 Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spices and stir for a minute more.
2 Add pumpkin and 5 cups of chicken broth; blend well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
3 Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.
4 With the soup on low heat, add brown sugar and mix. Slowly add milk while stirring to incorporate. Add cream. Adjust seasonings to taste. If a little too spicy, add more cream to cool it down. You might want to add a teaspoon of salt.
Serve in individual bowls. Sprinkle the top of each with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Serves 8.

Happy Cocooning!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Shoe Lovers Rejoice!

Edmonton Shop

In my past life I was fortunate enough to travel a lot across Canada. One of my favourite shops to check out while I was in West was Gravity Pope. They always carried the shoe brands I loved, and more that I would come to love.

The original store in Edmonton on Whyte Ave. is the best. It's a fortress of shoes that you should be so lucky to be locked in for an afternoon trying on the latest and greatest in footwear.

So fast forward to now, and I'm riding on the streetcar and see this huge shoe sign that says Gravity Pope is coming to Toronto! They will be opening in early November in the Queen and Ossington area.

I can't wait!

It's wonderful that all these successful businesses from the West are coming East and giving us a little taste of their style.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Cooking as Alchemy

I am addicted to watching TED talks. I love the sharing of innovative and interesting ideas.

I came across this video of Homaro Cantu and  Ben Roche. They are trained chefs who have taken cooking and eating to a place in which we have no reference. It's amazing that they have been able to take ingredients and turn them into something that our eyes, brains, and palette may not be able to comprehend.

For instance, the plate of nachos seen above is actually a dessert! They have also been able to take everyday plants growing freely such as weeds and crab apples and make them into something we all recognize as food. It's an inspiring concept.

Enjoy the video!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

More Than a Turkey Sandwich

So the festivities and food fest that is Thanksgiving is over and you are left with a big clean up and more turkey than you know what to do with. If you are not up to turkey sandwiches everyday, try out these 2 healthy and unique ways to use your left over turkey.

The first is Turkey Congee from Roti n Rice. Congee is Chinese rice porridge that is light and tasty as you can add your fave ingredients to make it your own. This recipe uses up your left over turkey and other healthy stuff and is a great introduction to congee if you have never tried it before.

The other is a Quinoa Casserole with Creamy Curry Sauce from Kalyn's Kitchen. Just swap out the chicken for turkey and voila! This recipe is adapted from Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner - Chinese Style

Thanksgiving is coming this weekend and for many of us it's the time to see family we may only see once or twice a year. I come from a really big Chinese family and the gatherings are always crowded, loud and a super good time!

And of course there is TONS of food. It is a tradition for us to have "two meals" at every holiday. We would have your typical turkey, stuffing and potato side dish. But then we would also have a big assortment of Chinese food. It may seem like an odd match to have turkey and potato salad on the same plate as fried rice and baby bok choy. But it always seemed to make total sense to us.

I don't think we are alone, I'm sure there are many Canadian families who are combining the past with the present or trying out many different types of cuisines. Food has a way of bringing people together and is a wonderful cultural symbol.

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday, add something different and try out this vegetarian friendly recipe from Kopali via Gourmet Sleuth.  It's an Asian style Wild Rice Stuffing to go with your turkey (or tofurkey). It's a great way to put a little twist on your usual Thanksgiving dinner!

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, 1 October 2012

Incredible Food Carvings

For some of us, #Halloween is the favourite holiday. It's a chance to get dress up and be anyone or anything you want to be. There will be themed parties, graveyards on front lawns, jack-o-lanterns and lots of candy to give away as excited, sugar-rushed kids run from house to house.

To get you in the mood, I found this great site called The Invisible Underground  which showcases the work of Shawn Feeney (check out the videos), a stellar artist who reveals the secret life of plants through fruit carving, vegetable sculpture and edible alchemy.

This takes the jack-o-lantern to another level!