Chickpea Salad
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Canned beans are a staple in my pantry. I can throw together all the bits and pieces I have in my fridge and create an amazing quick salad.
I was going over to my parents this past weekend for lunch, and they needed some free labour cleaning up some [like the entire yard’s worth] of the branches they trimmed as part of their spring clean up. I offered to bring a salad for a side dish, and this is what came together.
It was a super fun day, of bundling wood, using a chain saw, getting scratches all over my legs and arms from the branches, and enjoying an awesome late steak lunch with this yummy salad.

This is the contraption my dad built to make it easier for us to bundle the branches…Genius!

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Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 small jar of artichokes in oil, drained

20 or so cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1/2 a cucumber, chopped

handfull of chives, finely chopped

a few sun dried tomatoes finely chopped

goats cheese or feta cheese for crumbling

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

squirt of agave syrup

salt and pepper

In the bottom of a medium bowl, mix together the olive oil, vinegar, agave salt and pepper.

Add all of the ingredients to the bowl, mix to combine.

Top with cheese.

Chickpea Salad

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Roasted Acorn Squash, Goat Cheese and Quinoa salad

I sometimes go on food kicks…I will keep on making different dishes with the same ingredient.
So this week the acorn squash obsession continues, but you will thank me for this awesome obsession. This recipe is beyond amazing, so put the ingredients on your shopping list and make it, I promise you will not be disappointed.

Happy Weekend Y’All!Roasted Acorn Squash, Goat Cheese and Quinoa salad Roasted Acorn Squash, Goat Cheese and Quinoa salad

Roasted Acorn Squash, Goat Cheese and Quinoa salad

1 cup quinoa

1 acorn squash, cut into wedges

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, cut into wedges

1 tsp harissa paste

1 tsp brown sugar

¼ cup (60ml) white balsamic vinegar

2 tspsugar

⅓ cup chopped cilantro

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

goat cheese, crumbled, to serve

Cook quinoa according to package directions. ***I like cooking quinoa in chicken or vegetable stock or broth instead of water, it adds so much flavour.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place the squash, harissa, brown sugar and half the oil on a baking tray and toss to coat.

Roast for 10 minutes. Add the onion and roast for a further 10–15 minutes or until acorn squash is tender.

Mix to combine the vinegar, sugar, cilantro, chickpeas and quinoa.

Top with acorn squash, onion and goat cheese to serve.

Inspired by Donna Hay

Roasted Acorn Squash, Goat Cheese and Quinoa salad Quinoa salad

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting

On a dreary April day like today, I think we all need a bit of a pick me up…so here is a super easy ONE BOWL!!! recipe for chocolate espresso cupcakes [if you are worried about the caffeine, just omit the espresso powder], they are perfectly delicious on their own, but if you feel like they do need a bit of something extra this icing is easy and versatile. Honestly, I could eat it with a spoon out of the bowl. ;o)Chocolate Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting Chocolate Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting

One-Bowl Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 tsp instant espresso powder

2 eggs

3/4 cup warm water

3/4 cup buttermilk

3 tbsp canola oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Line muffin tin with paper liners.

With a whisk [by hand], mix together the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and espresso powder.

Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and whisk until smooth.

Divide batter among muffin tins, approx 2/3 full.

Bake until tops spring back when touched, approx 20 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack.

Inspired by Martha Stewart

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Icing

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 pure vanilla extract or coffee liqueur

To make frosting, add ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.

Mix around 5 minutes, until smooth and fluffy.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Brown Sugar FrostingChocolate Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting Chocolate Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting

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Roasted Parmesan Mushrooms

SInce it is that time of year…BBQ season…I am always in search of a few go to recipes for quick easy side dishes, something I can pop in the oven, set the timer and not worry about it, but rather enjoy a cocktail outside. I know, I’m so practical.
Roasted Acorn Squash Roasted Acorn Squash

Harissa Roasted Acorn Squash

4 cloves garlic, grated

1 tbsp harissa paste or sriracha sauce

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp maple syrup

salt + pepper

1 medium acorn squash, skin on and cut into wedges

maple syrup for drizzling

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Place garlic, harissa, olive oil and maple syrup in a large bowl, stir with a spoon, add acorn squash wedges, salt & pepper, toss to coat.

Roast for 20 min, or until golden and tender.

Drizzle with maple syrup to serve.

Inspired by Donna Hay

Parmesan Roasted Mushrooms

2 8oz [225g] containers of mushrooms, sliced, crimini or white button

good glug of olive oil

freshly squeezed lemon juice

lemon zest

2 garlic cloves, grated

a few springs of dried thyme

1/4 cup grated permesan

salt + pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl toss mushrooms with olive oil, lemon juice, zest, garlic, parmesan, thyme and salt + pepper.

Place mushrooms in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Roast in oven for approx 12-15 mins.

Drizzle with a touch more lemon juice to serve.

Inspired by Damn DeliciousSimple Provisions

Roasted Parmesan Mushrooms Roasted Parmesan Mushrooms

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Banana Sour Cream Pancakes

I love pancakes, if we have an easy going weekend morning, where we are not working or don’t have any set plans, pancakes or waffles are definitely on the lazy weekend morning menu. Usually we have leftovers and they refrigerate well for a few days or even freeze for a quick snack or if you are craving delicious banana-y yumminess on a weekday.
These are awesome! The sour cream & lemon zest make the batter incredible, and once those bananas hit the pan, the sugars in them caramelize creating another layer of goodness.Banana Sour Cream Pancakes

Banana Sour Cream Pancakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 cup sour cream

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk

2  eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 tbsp unsalted butter, plus extra for serving

2 ripe bananas, sliced

Pure maple syrup

Instructions:
In a medium bowl, using a whisk, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

In a measuring cup, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla and lemon zest.

Add the sour cream mixture to the dry ingredients, mix until combined.

Add chopped banana, mix.

Melt some butter in a skillet over medium heat.

Ladle batter into pan.

Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles form, flip cook another minute or so.

Serve with maple syrup and/or some powdered sugar.

Adapted from Ina Garten from Food Network

Banana Sour Cream Pancakes

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Hands down my favourite Indian restaurant  is Curry Twist in the Junction. I’m completely addicted to their dishes, one of them being the Saag Paneer. Creamy, almost melty cubes of cheese in a velvety spinach sauce, so aromatic. Mmmmm.
If I could I would be at Curry Twist at least a few times a week…I so would.
So I thought I’d try my own hand at making Saag Paneer at home. And although it is definitely not as good as theirs, it definitely hits the spot.

What’s your favourite Indian restaurant in the city…I’d love some new places to try.Saag Paneer Saag Paneer

Saag Paneer

1 Large bag of fresh spinach

paneer [approx 250gms]

1 medium onion chopped

1 tsp ginger, grated

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 tomato, chopped

1 1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp chili powder or 1 small red chilli finely chopped

sour cream or yogurt or heavy cream to finish

oil

salt

Instructions:

Blanch the spinach in boiling water for three minutes, drain, and run under cold water.

Cube the paneer, set aside [if you’d like you can sautee the cheese in some oil before adding it to the sauce]

Heat oil in a pot or dutch oven, add the coriander, cumin, garam masala and turmeric, sautee for 1 minute.

Add onion, sautee for 5 minutes, add garlic and ginger, sautee for 1 minute, add the chopped tomato, cook for 3 minutes.

Add the spinach, and puree with a hand blender [alternatively puree the spinach before adding].

Add paneer, cook until warm. [Add water if too thick]

Serve topped with sour cream, yogurt or heavy cream, along with naan and/or rice.

Saag Paneer IMG_2104

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Pork Chops in White Wine and Herb Sauce

As as sit at the computer writing this post, thinking about what I’m going to have for lunch, and reminiscing [maybe slightly drooling] over this yummy pork chop meal I made a couple of days ago. It’s super easy and beyond flavourful…and most of all saucy! It’s incredible how a few handfuls of chopped herbs elevate any meal, and really take it to the next level. When searing the pork chops, make sure you get some beautiful colour on that meat, it’s where some amazing flavour gets developed. This meal takes 15-20 minutes, from start to finish, and is perfect! [put on your potatoes or boil your water for your beans before you start with the pork chops]
** Tip – I hate throwing away food, and sometimes when you purchase a container or bunch of herbs, majority of it will go to waste. So I wash them dry them and put them in a ziplock bag, and stick them in the freezer. They’re not as good as fresh, but there on hand if you need them. Ones that freeze well: sage, rosemary, thyme.Pork Chops in  White Wine and Herb Sauce Pork Chops in  White Wine and Herb Sauce

Pork Chops in a White Wine and Herb Sauce

4 bone in pork chops

3 garlic cloves, grated

1 spring rosemary leaves, chopped

8 sage leaves, chopped

3/4 cup dry white wine

1/3 cup chicken broth or stock

1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half

olive oil

salt and pepper

Instructions:

Heat oil in a pan with high sides on medium high heat.

Add pork chops, sear one side for approx. 2 minutes, flip sear the other side, salt and pepper both sides as you are searing.

Remove pork chops to plate.

Lower heat to medium, add a touch more oil if needed, add garlic, rosemary and sage, cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add wine, cook for 1-2 minutes, scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan.

Add stock, bring to a simmer, add pork chops, cook until desired doneness.

Turn of heat, add cream or half.

Serve with mashed potatoes and/or green beans.

Pork Chops in  White Wine and Herb Sauce

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White Bean Salad with Tomatoes & Bocconcini

I think bean salads are a super versatile way to use leftovers, clean out the fridge and really to enjoy an amazing meal. They are super easy to make, and can handle any flavours, from Italian, to Tex-Mex and everything in between.
To me a great bean salad has tons of flavours, textures and colours. Here is a recipe put together on the fly, it’s super fresh!! I had some ripe avocados, as well as some fresh bocconcini cheese I wanted to use, and a few handfuls of fresh spinach, it came together so well. The secret is in the dressing…Maple Syrup…yumm!
White Bean Salad with Tomatoes & Bocconcini White Bean Salad with Tomatoes & Bocconcini White Bean Salad with Tomatoes & Bocconcini White Bean Salad with Tomatoes & Bocconcini

White Bean Salad with Tomatoes & Bocconcini

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, larger ones cut in half

1 avocado sliced

1 cup bocconcini cheese, torn

2 handfuls fresh spinach or arugula

small handful of chives and or basil, thinly sliced

custy bread to serve

Dressing:

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp maple syrup

salt, pepper to taste

Instructions:
In a large bowl, combine all the salad ingredients.  In a jar, add the dressing ingredients and shake it.  Pour over salad and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

White Bean Salad with Tomatoes & Bocconcini

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