Merry Christmas!

Last year here on Vancouver Island we had a snowy Christmas and went sledding. this was the view from the top of the huge hill! It was so beautiful and so much fun.

I just wanted wish you all the best this holiday season and thank you for all of your support this year. The 29th of December will be my 1st anniversary and I am so excited!

Thank you!

Profiteroles filled with Chocolate Mousse

I don't make a lot of desserts but it was my gentleman friends birthday on Friday so I decided to make a special sweet something. What is great about this recipe is that it would also be a great make ahead for Christmas. I made a big bowl of these and then took them up with us to the local ski mountain for a week end getaway. Lucky Birthday Boy! and they traveled quite well.
First I began with Profiteroles, I used this recipe from Joy of Baking. Just the Choux part of the recipe. I was surprised at how easy it was. These have a great wow factor, look like they took a million years to make but are actually reminded me of making Yorkshire puddings, except with a little bit of Elbow grease! Here is what the profiteroles will look like:

This is kind of a lazy post because I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen to make the Chocolate Mousse. Ever since I saw it I have wanted to make it. I had some in a glass with Raspberries, and it was amazing!

How is that for a close up? It was airy and rich all at the same time. As there is no sugar except what is in the chocolate it wasn' t very sweet, just pure creamy chocolate flavour!
Deb used pics just after making it and it will look goopy like that but it will look like this after it has set overnight, or really just a few hours.

I also piped some into the afore mentioned profiteroles, Drum roll please....
Here they are:


I also whipped 1 cup of cream with splash of Kahlua and filled some just to add
a difference is flavor and texture. Both were extreme hits!

Simple Sesame Salmon

I bet you thought I wasn't going to post a recipe this week?
Ha! Tricked You!
I thought I would post something simple and delicious.
As I made note of I try to eat alot of fish, and because I catch my own it is very inexpensive.
I am a pretty lucky girl to have such fresh fish available! This is a recipe, well more of a method as I won't be including any specific measurements, that I go back to again and again, which isn't something I do very often. So here it is:

I like to take a portion of Salmon and crust the skin with Sesame Seeds, this time I used mostly black. I just sprinkle them onto the moist skin and then place in a buttered medium hot skillet. Somewhere in between the middle and high and put a loose lid on it, this will allow the skin to crisp which is the main goal, and the top to steam a bit. Once it is almost done I give it a flip and add a splash of sesame oil and soy sauce and let the other side brown until it is at the done-ness of your liking. I like mine a little rare in the middle. Then I topped with some chopped green onion and ate it with stir fry of mushrooms and Bok Choy. Simple and Delicious!

Another great thing about eating this is the crispy skin. You can do this with almost any type of fish available to you, and its so great because there are a lot of Omega Oils in the skin and if we bake fish we don't often get to enjoy it.

My food feelings

I have been writing this blog for almost 1 year now and I feel that its time to be honest with you. When it comes to me I am basically an open book, but there is something that we have not yet discussed. Eating. Yes we've talked about eating what I have shown you, but not the essence of it, nor the principal. So here we are.

For quite a long while I have been reading food blogs, of course this led to an 'I can do that" moment which led to the blog and which led to this post and so on, but long before reading food blogs I began eating and then cooking. I grew up in a home where we ate Chicken Rice and Corn every night for at least 4 years, then we began to see variations including Chicken Rice and Salad, Salmon Rice and Salad, and the occasional pasta dish. Always with an emphasis on a protein, a starch and a vegetable. To this day I rarely make the same dish twice and am only now realizing that it is probably in part to the monotony that I was once a part of, before I had control of what I eat.

Well now I have control, and I am always searching for ideas to create food that is both healthy and tasty. I have a few different views on eating and here they are:

#1 Meat:
Honestly, I try to stay away from meat. Its not always easy, and I don't beat my self up if I do, I just try not to. I eat a lot of fish; however only fish that I have caught - YES I am an excellent fisher-woman and the majority of what little meat that I eat is wild game; from my father in law. I don't like how I feel when I eat commercial meat, physically and energetically. I don't know what those animals have eaten, what kind of life they have had, what hormones or chemicals have been fed to them. I just don't want to put that in my body. In the name of honesty I will admit sometimes I give in due to convenience but I try to stay away as much as I can. This is not to say that I eat any sort of Soy. Soy scares me, not because of the taste but it too is so far processed that you just can't try and tell me that its good for me.

#2 Vegetables
I eat as many of these as I can! I love them and there are so many varieties, and so many ways to prepare them I rarely get bored.

#3 Moderation
I love sweet treats.
I love french fries.
I love rich creamy pasta.
And I figure that if I eat healthy the majority of the time, I may as well go all out when I prepare something rich. If I am going to make a creamy pasta I will use full fat cream and butter, if I have some pie; I will enjoy it with full fat ice cream or whipped cream. I am not going to settle for a less good version of something indulgent.

#4 Convienience Foods
I hate them. Some of them might taste alright, but I have already expressed how I feel about not knowing what is in my meat, well if I don't know what might be in the whole thing forget it! I would rather make a big old pile of food at once and eat the left overs for lunch, or freeze it for later then eat one of those microwavable meals. Yuck!! I will go as far as buying canned whole tomatoes, or marinated artichoke hearts but that is as far processed as I go.

#5 Questions, Questions
I do have several food related questions. Here is what I have been stuck on lately, what is the best way to eat? I have read on Veganism, Vegetarianism, even raw food appeals to me, and while they all seem to have great points I think I would have a hard time committing as I love food. All kinds.

Here is my other burning question: Do other food bloggers eat what they blog about all of the time? Or do they make really great things once or twice a week, just enough to blog about?

Cozy Cabbage Rolls

Here we are in the heart of fall; this time of year I always crave comfort food and what is more comforting then a warm meal that comes out of the oven? Mmmmm.... Cabbage Rolls. The epitomy of Ukrainian comfort food.

Often I find that people use too much ground meat and make them very large. So I went about an experiment. I made two different kinds of Cabbage Rolls, 1 that was made of ground meat and the other that was made of sauteed mushrooms. The both have the same ingredients other then the meat/ mushroom can you tell which is which:

They look very similar and oddly enough they didn't taste all that different either. I suggest mixing them up in a casserole dish if you are trying to cut down on red meat. I had to make both because of my meat eating partner. I enjoy meat too, but often opt to not partake and am always looking for ways to reduce meat with out having to substitute with a freaky soy product. These were both really good, even my meat eating partner had a hard time figuring out which was which! Here is the recipe:

1 large heat of cabbage
1/4 lb ground beef (the small package) or 1 lb mushrooms finely chopped and sauteed
1 carrot finely chopped
2 stalks of celery finely chopped
2 onions finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic
3 cups of cooked rice (whatever floats your boat)
2 eggs
medium pinch of rosemary
large pinch of salt & pep

1 jumbo or 2 - 3 regular cans of whole tomatoes

First pop a whole head of cabbage into a huge pot of boiling water. Martha says not to use an aluminum pot... I think that my pot is aluminum and they worked, but it could be something else. Feel free to take the risk if you must. Other people remove each leaf first and then boiled them separately. I just threw the whole thing in, accidentally forgot about it and them took it out. It was cooked through and the outer leaves weren't very pretty but the rest was great. Let it cool and then remove each leaf and set aside.

Then begin making rice. Just follow the package directions. Then move on to chopping the mushrooms (actually I ran them through a food pro until they were fairly finely chopped - you do need a little texture) and begin sauteing them with some Olive Oil and pepper (leave the salt out). In the meantime finely chop the celery, carrots, garlic and onions, again I used the food pro, if you choose to do this make sure that you do it in small batches, or else you will get a puree and you want more like pieces that are the size of rice grains, or a little bigger. Divide the chopped veggies into two bowls. Make sure the mushrooms are sauteed to the point that they have given up most of the water, then add them to one bowl and add the beef to another. Add one egg to each bowl and 1 cup of rice, mix it in and then decide if you want to add more rice. I went for it, but you might not want to and in the end you will be eating it so go ahead and do what you must!
This is how each looks, bad light I know but you get the idea!

Now you will want to empty your cans of tomatoes into a juice jug or bowl and whiz with a hand blender. I added a small handful of salt pepper, and a little less rosemary. Whiz until it is a smooth sauce.

Now assemble! Pour a little sauce into a casserole dish, take one cabbage leaf. If it is a big leaf, remove the bottom v shape of the stem, just the hard part so you end up with a small v out of your leaf. You can leave it in but it is trickier to roll. Just do whatever works for you. Add some filling to one side of the leaf and roll it up. Add to the dish and repeat until you are done. Top with a bit more of the sauce, cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour.
I serve mine with sour cream. Yum!!

The Main Event: Thanksgiving!!

Thanksgiving is something that I look forward to every year. It has become one of my favorite holidays because it is so simple. All you have to do is prepare a delicious meal for your friends and family and enjoy it! You don't have to find a costume or the perfect gift. Just cook, eat and enjoy the company of loved ones.

Yes it is easier said then done, but with a little prep the day before and the instructions that someone else bring dessert it can achieved fairly easily. This year I made as much ahead of time as possible. I spent the whole Saturday making stuffing, brining turkey, making cranberry sauce, chopping Brussels sprouts, chopping veggies and prepping appies. Lets start with my favourite thanksgiving side.

Cheesy Brussel Sprouts

The real secret to making these Brussels sprouts delicious and what has made my friend Jamie say 'I don't even like Brussels Sprouts, but I went back for seconds!' One of my best compliments. is simple onions, caramelized before roasting. For six cups of trimmed and halved Brussels sprouts I used one and 1/2 large soft ball sized yellow onion. I caramelized it in a pan with a little butter and then tossed with the Brussels spouts in a casserole dish. Top off with a few handfuls of shredded aged cheddar cheese and bake until the sprouts are golden brown. In a 350 degree oven this will take about 45 minutes. I like to make sure to give them plenty of time, even if I have to wrap them in foil and let them sit because I put them in early. If you do a bigger batch they can take up to an hour and a half and it is critical that they get to that golden brown stage or they will be bitter not melt in your mouth delicious!

I also prep the stuffing the day before, then when it comes to getting the turkey in the oven I can just stuff it and get it in!

My stuffing is basic and goes as follows:

8 cups of toasted bread chunks
8 links of maple breakfast sausages
3 heads of roasted garlic
2 stalks of celery
1 large onion
2 tbsp each parsley & sage
1 tbsp each rosemary & thyme
1 tsp salt & pepper
1 - 2 cups chicken stock

Normally I would used just a basic sausage but this year I brined my Turkey with an apple cider brine so I decided to go with the maple breakfast sausage, just to create some interest and to really showcase some autumn flavors. I begin by toasting bread. I used a basic whole wheat, mostly because I don't really eat white bread and I didn't want to complicate it with grains or seeds. This is stuffing for us humans, not chipmunks! I chop the celery and onion in a small dice, chop the herbs and add the seasonings and then add a splash of stock. I work the stuffing with my hands until the sausage is evenly distributed and add stock as is necessary until it all combines into one big for lack of a better word glop. I always make enough so that I can stuff the turkey and bake some in an extra dish for a friend of mine who doesn't like it in the bird. Also lets be honest: There just isn't enough room in the bird for as much stuffing as you need to feed hungry stuffing lovers.

This is how it looks before it is cooked aka glop stage:

Of course you must have mashed potatoes on any decent thanksgiving table and since I love garlic I always add roasted garlic. Lots of it. I like to add 1 head of garlic per 2 large potatoes. Feel free to use this ratio for making your current favourite mashed potato recipe. Its always hard to know how much butter and cream you will need to add to get the right consistency but the garlic will make them even dreamier - it will blow the regular garlic mashed potatoes that most people make right out of the water. I don't know how someone could add garlic powder to potatoes and still sleep at night!

And of course the turkey. I used a brine this year and it was amazing!! Since I haven't used one before I used a recipe for Apple Cider Brine that I found on Tasty Kitchen. It made the meat so juicy that it blew me away. The breast meat was by far the most flavorful, tender and succulent that I have ever tasted. And let me tell you when all 30 people had walked away there wasn't even enough turkey left to make soup! I seasoned the turkey inside and out with salt and pepper, stuffed it with the recipe above, rubbed it with butter above and underneath the skin, wrapped it in thick cut double smoked bacon and rested in on top of a 'rack' that I made with some carrots, celery, onions garlic, added a little chicken stock for moisture and then let them all get acquainted in a 350 degree oven until the skin is crispy and brown and the juices run clear. Oh yeah, put a lid on all of that! Since I was so busy enjoying the meal I didn't take a picture of it but I did make a smaller breast for blogging purposes and here it is:

Other recipes that I served were:

Honey and Lime Glazed Yams and Beets
Brussels Slaw
Orange Glazed Carrots
(Steam with some orange juice, then thicken like gravy with four, add salt, pepper and fresh thyme)
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
(I'll have to share another time)
Gravy - thicken the pan juices with flour and season as necessary.
And Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos as an appy.

Happy Cooking!!

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Mushrooms

Yesterday I was craving something cheesy but knew that with the holiday season coming up I should try to be good. I generally try to be good during the month of November (Here in Canada the holidays don't start until Dec) because I know that pretty much the whole month of December is going to be a write off. It always is, and I could fight it but I figure if I put in a little good behavior this month I can cut myself some slack later on.

These mushroom caps are perfect because they are luxurious yet very healthy. I was inspired by a spanikopita but was also enticed by the meaty-ness of a mushroom. Have you ever noticed how many food bloggers make up words. I am convinced that anything can be a word if hyphenated with a -ness at the end!

Here is the recipe:

A bunch of mushrooms, stems removed.
1 12 oz package of frozen spinach
1 small tub of feta cheese
2 cloves garlic
pinch of nutmeg
salt & pepper

Give the mushrooms a little rub down - they do grow in poo after all. Remove the stems with a pairing knife or by snapping them off whatever works best for you. My mushrooms weren't all that big so I used a knife. Arrange them alphabetically by name on a baking sheet. What you don't name your food? Well.. I guess you can arrange them any old way that you like.

In a food processor add the garlic and whiz, then add the spinach (make sure it is thawed and that you squeezed all of the water out. Whiz that up then add the rest of the ingredients, taste and season. Stuff the little mushroomies with the emerald green mixture and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until the mushrooms have browned a bit and they look like you want to devour them all!

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

There is something so comforting about anything that is left to slow roast in the oven. Even if it is tomatoes and red peppers. Just allowing them to hang out and soften in caramelized goodness; it seems so luxurious. Even decadent.

Who knew throwing some veggies in the oven and forgetting about them could seem like so much effort?

Speaking of effortless, this soup actually came from a tomato sauce that I had already prepared.
It began with 4 - 5 cups of Cherry Tomatoes. Basically I had enough to cover my entire baking sheet. I added a head of garlic and drizzled the works with Extra Virgin, salt and pepper. Pop this into a 300 degree oven for about an hour or until they pop open and look like the tasty little gems below:

Have a peek at them from time to time and once you notice that they are almost there toss 1 fairly finely diced onion into a pot with a nice splash of Extra Virgin. Once the onion is soft add the tomatoes and garlic and puree with a hand mixer or in a food processor. I did mine like a country job and left the skins and seeds in but if you prefer something a little more smooth feel free to put it all through a sieve. Have a final taste to see if you need to adjust the seasoning. It all depends on your tomatoes, your taste and how much you added when roasting. That was it for the sauce, simple and basic but really nice with a sweet, homey tomato flavor.

For the Soup I just roasted up about 3 red peppers. You can do this a few different ways, you can put the whole peppers onto the gas flame of a stove, you can toss them under a broiler, or roast them slowly. Should you choose one of the first two methods, which are the fastest you will want to leave the peppers until the skin is charred. I mean black people! Don't take them out to soon. In order to keep with the quick time frame you can them put the peppers into a bowl and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. This gives them a little steam and makes it really easy to remove the skins. Should you slow roast it you will still want them to be quite well done, although they don't need to be charred, you will see them begin to wrinkle and soften, you can remove them then and give them the same covered bowl treatment mentioned above.
Once they have chilled out in the bowl the skin will be easy to remove, I added the peppers and the tomato sauce into a food processor and blitzted until it was smooth. Feel free to use what you have here, a hand blender, regular blender or food pro.
Something tells me a potato masher just isn't going to cut it!!
Add to a pot, heat, taste, season and enjoy!

Honey Lime Glazed Yams and Beets

I made this recipe for Thanksgiving and it was so delicious. Often people get carried away with really sweet sides when making a turkey dinner ie. Candied Yams, Maple Glazed Squash so on and so forth. I actually had a turkey dinner this year that felt like I was eating dessert. Don't get me wrong; I love those sides, I love sweet stuff; but I think that when you are hosting a big dinner you need to be mindful of creating a balance. So I took a cue from that dinner and made sure to keep my dinner in check. Just enough sweet and just enough savory; especially with a rich meal like this where people often go back for seconds and generally eat way more then a regular meal.

And really isn't that when you know you've done a good job? When you look around and see all of those full faces, you know the ones, not really comfortable anymore because you had to eat that last bite - and then a little more.

This side I loved because it was so balanced. Yams and Beets are quite sweet on their own and with a couple of brushes of a Honey Lime vinaigrette they were transformed from regular vegetables to 'super hero' veggies out to add color and taste to your holiday table!

Alright before I get carried away here is the recipe:

2 large yams
4 medium beets

Juice of 2 limes
1 good squeeze of honey - about 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper

Begin with the Veggies, ideally you will want to boil the yams until tender in salted water and boil the beets until tender in unsalted water. I did do this when I made the recipe for a crowd because I needed to do two big pots of each, and because I did a lot of the prep the day before. Which is a great tip when making a large dinner: Do as much as you can the day or days before, this means that there will be less stress the day of and you will be able to socialize with your gusts. When I made them at home though for just the two of us I just threw then all in regular water and boiled until tender. Set aside to cool. Whenever you feel like it; you can mix up the glaze, which really is just a regular old vinaigrette, juice the lime, add the honey and mustard, a little salt & pep and drizzle in the olive oil. Taste and season to your liking.
This is so easy, and makes a great salad dressing. It would probably even be good on chicken, or fish. I'll have to try that.
I like to make this as long before I use it as I can. If that's only a few minutes, good, if I do it while the veggies are boiling and it ends up being more like 20 - 30 minutes, even better. The longer that it gets to hang out the more the flavors mingle and become one.
Once the veggies have cooled; you can peel the skins off; I left them on because I'm just that kind of girl. Then slice them into 1 - 2 cm rounds and arrange them on a baking sheet. I like to arrange them in stripes, purple - orange, purple - orange and so one. Brush them with the glaze and pop the whole thing into a 350 degree oven until they have soaked in the glaze and get a little caramelized. I like to glaze them once or twice before taking them out.
That's it. The great thing to is that they truly are beautiful and colorful. The contrasting colors; taste and texture are sure to liven up any table.

Bacon Jalepeno Poppers

These tasty little buggers are pretty much the best thing goin' Not only did they melt in my mouth but they burnt in my eye! P.S. Wear gloves when dealing with hot peppers!

You only need 3 ingredients:

Clean out the Jalapenos, remember that by removing the seeds and ribs you remove a lot of the heat. And they certainly are pretty!

After that, use a spoon to fill them in with cream cheese, this is easiest if you let the cheese come to room temperature. Then Wrap them up with bacon and secure with a toothpick. I recommend the thick ones as it can be hard to get through the jalapeno. Arrange evenly on a backing sheet and pop them into a 350 degree oven.

Let them roast until the bacon is crisp and the peppers are soft. If you do this more slowly the peppers will get sweeter, if you choose to roast at a higher temperature they will cook faster and be spicier. Remove the toothpicks and enjoy!

And honestly PLEASE remember to use gloves, I made up a whole bunch of these and my hands were burning for 24 hours. I rubbed my eye accidentally several times, and a guy friend who was helping went to the bathroom right after. Trust me neither of us were happy campers!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful to be able to make dinner for 35 people who are all very important to me. I'm thankful that we were able to save the gravy - a certain someone will not be in charge of gravy again, no names mentioned, I'm thankful that this year I didn't have to carve the turkey - that just seems like it should be left to a man, and I'm thankful that this isn't my house because you should have seen the mess afterward!

This year was our 5th year anniversary of having a 'family' thanksgiving with all of my close friends. I am really lucky to have such great friendships, having grown up in a small town the people around me became more like family then just a friend.

Every year I make an amazing dinner - not to toot my own horn or anything - toot toot!! But I do this at someone else's house, that way I don't have to clean up the aftermath. Two full days of cooking can look amazing but you let a bunch of hungry people near it and within 1/2 an hour it looks like a bomb went off. I always end up helping with the clean up the next day but at least I don't have to deal with it being at my house. Making dinner somewhere else does present some challenges, I was often jumping in the car to borrow this and that from another friend, but it is always so worth it. It is so rare to have so many people that I love in one place. And to be able to cook and share a great meal with those people is even better.

In front of me there is stuffing, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots and gravy, behind me is the amazing apple cider brined turkey, lime and honey glazed yams and beets, my cheesy brussel sprouts, brussel slaw and home made cranberry sauce. Over the next while I will be sharing these recipes on a smaller scale but for today. Tomorrow I will show you the jalapeno popper appy that was off the platter faster then a prom dress!

Day 3

Well Day 3 is over. I am actually on day 4 and haven't eaten solids yet; I am enjoying a big green smoothie so there is fibre but no solids. Anyways back to Day 3. Day 3 was hard. I would say Day 1 and 3 were harder and Day 2 was easy peasy. Day 1 was just getting used of it, and Day 3 was hard knowing that all I had was one more day. I struggled with the thoughts of 'well there is only one day, does it really matter' Its so funny how we do that to ourselves; self sabotage. I really had to realise that I was doing this for my own good and that really only you guys know so I would only be letting myself down. I felt good though, energetic, clear headed. I was more prepared knowing how much juice I would need to keep me going at work and I have a busy evening so I was extra thankful that I didn't have to make dinner.
Over the next few days I am going to be careful introducing new foods back to my body. I encourage you to do the same if you've been following any kind of cleanse or detox. Be aware of how your body reacts to some foods, and which ones make you feel good and which ones bring about a more negative affect. When your body is clean it is more sensitive and your body knows what is the best for it; often we become numb to what our body is telling us so this is a good time to take advantage of its sensitivity.
In general I try to eat quite healthfully so my symptoms of cleansing were quite mild; I would like to do this again on a longer term. Maybe a week of Juice and then a longer period of a healthy eating plan. I'll have to look into it. Last year I did a great cleanse that was actually through Martha Stewarts Body & Soul magazine and it was so thorough; lasting a month and beginning with a eating plan then going on a media cleanse, developing time to yourself, regular exercise habits and journaling as you go along.
I believe heavily in journaling. Especially when doing a cleanse or any sort of healing. It really helps to clear out your mind and brings clarity and focus. Sometimes when I start writing it is about one thing and by the end I realize where the root of the issue is. A journal is also a great tool because you can look back on it and see not only patterns but also how far you've come. It really helps to show personal growth on every level of your being. And its great to take that time to actually reconnect with yourself. That is probably the greatest benefit, is taking a few minutes a day to focus on yourself.

Green Juice and the completion of Day 2

I think I am back to the empty feeling. It is actually becoming very normal and I don't mind it. Today when I got home from work I had so much energy that I could hardly sit down. Normally I look forward to sitting on the couch for as long as possible but today I was just go go go because I wanted to be. Yeah that's right, because I wanted to be not because I had to. I even re composted my plants. Who does that after work? Crazy Juicers I tell you!

Here is my green juice:

2 bunches of celery
2 cucumbers
1 head of lettuce
1 finer ginger
1/2 lemon
1 bag of apples

Juice and enjoy! Again this will make roughly 1/2 a big jug of juice. If you can make fresh smaller amounts on a more frequent basis that will be good but I am juicing in bulk and storing in an airtight container in the fridge and seem to be reaping major benefits so don't beat yourself up if you have to go this route too. Juicing is so beneficial because of its direct surge of nutrients as well as giving your digestive system a break.

At this time it is also worth mentioning that it is also really great to dry brush your skin in the morning before showering. You can buy a brush at most health food stores. Begin brushing the feet in short upward strokes moving up each leg. Then brush the arms beginning at the hands in the same way. The idea is to make short brush stokes towards the heart. So upward on the arms and legs, but then be sure to brush downward on the torso. This helps to enliven the lymphatic system and exfoliate because not only is our skin our largest organ but it also takes care of a lot of elimination so we must make sure to slough off all of the dead skin and the waste that excretes along with it. I know not very pleasant sounding but we're adults so big whoop!

Half way through Day 2

Today has been a whole different ball game. Today I went to work, actually I'm there right now; and its strange how different it has been from spending the day at home. Yesterday I kept myself busy with chores and as I like to do when taking a personal day the food network. And watching cooking shows didn't really alter my hunger; however reading blogs today has really made me hungry. Also knowing that this is my lunch break and I'm not having any lunch is hard to wrap my head around. My body doesn't feel hungry but my brain wants to munch. It could also be that it is Day 2 and no food has entered my stomach, my teeth haven't chewed, nothing. That small rant being said; I am wide awake and oddly clear headed. Generally when I haven't eaten I am cranky and can't think very clearly but because of the juice that has not happened. It really has me feeling very stable.

When doing a cleanse it is very common to feel crappy. It is a time when toxins are releasing from your body, you might get a headache, you might smell funky symptoms really vary a lot but I have found that with the juice cleanse I am feeling pretty good. There was one small headache but being aware of your body and tuning in to yourself will really help you to feel if that negative side affect is leading to beneficial health results or if you should end the cleanse. For example I knew that it was just the release of toxins so I drank a big glass of water and let it ease away.

Remember that if you have any health concerns you should consult a doctor. Also always do what feels right for you; keeping in mind that sometimes the road to good health is not the easiest path; however once you are on course it is much easier to stay focused. I think that that is why a cleanse is so great. Its an excellent head start down the path of healthful-ness.

Carrot Ginger Juice and the completion of Day 1

I have noticed that my stomach feels very empty. Its not a bad empty, its just a different feeling. A feeling of lightness is the best way to describe it, its strange and different; and I haven't figured out if it is bad or good yet. I have had a moment where I was overwhelmed with hunger, but it was really my own fault and it wasn't a stomach hunger, it was that low blood sugar jittery feeling and with only a few sips of fresh pressed carrot and ginger juice, I was back to normal. The value of the juice really affects you instantly and fills you with an energy that is so light.

Below is the recipe for my Carrot Ginger Juice

1 whole big bag of Carrots
1/2 whole lemon
1 Finger sized piece of Ginger

Just throw this all through a juicer. You can add more or less ginger depending on what you like, the lemon really helps to bring this together and add a well rounded flavour, almost like you would add salt to a dish, you can add lemon when juicing. This will make quite a bit of juice so you will want to store some. I know that the benefits of juicing are the greatest when the juice is drank right after pressing; but in reality if you are busy and trying to do a juice cleanse it is important to have juice to drink. So that it is there when you need it, just like any other plan you must be prepared in order to be successful.

Juice Cleanse Day 1

I have decided to do a 3 day juice cleanse to give my body a quick break after many BBQ and Beer afternoon of the summer and before the holiday season arrives. I am half way through Day 1 of my 3 day juice cleanse and to be honest it really has been quite easy. I made a big jug of juice this morning so that I would have it for work and I feel quite energetic. I imagine that I would have more energy due to the quick delivery or nutrients in the juice but also because I am not taxing my body with foods that it needs to digest. Digestion really is a lot of work for your body. I know that for example right now it is almost 3 pm and normally at this time I would have eaten lunch and would be getting tired after eating. Most of us experience the 3 pm weariness and I think that most of us believe that it is because of the day but today I don't have that. I don't think that it is the day. I think that that tired-ness comes from digestion. I guess we will have to wait for tomorrow to see if it continues.

I have posted a few juice recipes on here and will update it with some new ones soon:
For now try these:

Refreshing Cucumber Melon Juice
Carrot Apple Juice

A new twist on Brussel Slaw

This has become a staple of my diet. It is so tasty and full of crunchy, chewy textures. It is sweet and savoury, creamy and fresh. All at once! I swear!

For the Salad I use my food processor to shred the vegetables, go ahead and throw in 1 good size beet, 1 large carrot, 1/4 - 1/2 a medium sized red onion (to your personal onion-liking), process these on a big shred so you end up with match stick type pieces, you could also use a mandolin, but I don't have one of those - yet. Now you have a lot of crunch, and even a spice, now comes the other texture, the chewy - The Brussel Sprout!
Change the blade to the slice blade, I suppose you could do this some other way, but really brussel sprouts are small and the food processor will be the best way to shred them and keep all of your fingers. Then add a big handful of chopped cilantro; toss with the dressing and you have yourself one dreamy side dish. Bring this to a potluck and you can trick all of your non-brussel sprout loving friends, or maybe you could try this recipe and trick yourself!

The flavour and texture are very different when a brussel sprout is raw, and being one of the best things nutrient-wise that you can buy in the grocery store, I say we should all incorporate them into our diet, especially raw as that way you get the full impact of all of their goodness.


1 large beet
1 large carrot
1/4 - 1/2 red onion
About 24 Brussel Sprouts
Handful of Cilantro

1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 Cup Yogurt
1/8 Cup Lemon Juice
1 tbsp honey
salt & pepper

Some end of Season beauties

My weakness when at farmers markets are heirloom tomatoes and the various fresh varieties of garlic. Here is a sample of what I got this time around:

A variety of 'Cherry' tomatoes, baby red onions and garlic. When you have ingredients this fresh and wonderful simple really is best. So I mad a simple tomato, avocado salad with a balsamic glaze.

I've been really into glazes lately, I made an awesome bison burger with a red wine glaze mixed in that I will share later, but following up a 'Vegan 100' post I thought I should stick to a theme!

Just look at this cute little pear tomato, don't you just want to dress it in pretty little dresses like a baby girl?

On second thought... maybe he's a little to masculine for a dress..

For the glaze:

1/2 c balsamic vinegar
3 tbs honey

Put the two ingredients in a small sauce pot and bring to a simmer, let it reduce until it is a thick syrup. Some people like to make a bunch for use later, but I've been making just a bit when I need it, and it reduced so much faster in a small amount.

For the salad:

A handful or more cherry tomato's
1/2 an Avocado

Really this is just a chop and go, so make more if you want more, I slice the cherries in half and then dice the avocado. Tumble them in a bowl and top with coarse sea or Himalayan salt, drizzle with the glaze (careful its intense!) and enjoy!

The Vegan 100

Alright, alright....
It may not appear that I am Vegan; probably because I'm not. But! I do eat a mostly plant based diet, and am even delving into Raw food; which I plan on sharing very soon. I could never actually be a Vegan or a raw foodist fully because I love to eat fish; all other meat I do enjoy from time to time, but could do without. Anyways as I was saying I do eat a mostly plant based diet and the stricter I am with myself, the better I feel so I wanted to participate in this. Hopefully I don't offend any Vegans - I just wanted to support the idea!

Here is what she wants me to do:

Copy this list into your blog or social networking site profile, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out or italicize any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment on this post linking to your results.

The HHL Vegan Hundred:

1. Molasses
2. Cactus/Nopales
3. Scrambled Tofu - I'm off of Tofu, too processed for me!
4. Grilled Portobella Caps - Yum!
5. Fresh Ground Horseradish
6. Sweet Potato Biscuits
7. Arepa
8. Vegan Cole Slaw
9. Ginger Carrot Soup
10. Fiddlehead Ferns
11. Roasted Elephant Garlic
12. Umeboshi
13. Almond Butter Toast - Kind of, I usually eat it on Rice Cakes
14. Aloe Vera
15. H and H Bagel NYC
16. Slow Roasted Butternut Squash
17. White truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes - I've enjoyed my share of home-made wine!
19. Freshly ground wasabi
20. Coconut Milk Ice Cream (not store bought)
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Orchard-fresh pressed apple cider
23. Organic California Mango (in season Sept-Oct only) - What about Mangos off a tree in Costa Rica? I think they are probably better!
24. Quinoa
25. Papaya Smoothie
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet (habanero) pepper (just a bite!!
27. Goji Berry Tea
28. Fennel
29. Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie
30. Radishes and Vegan Buttery Spread
31. Starfruit
32. Oven fresh Sourdough bread
33. Sangria made with premium fruit and juices
34. Sauerkraut
35. Acai Smoothie
36. Blue Foot Mushrooms
37. Vegan Cupcake from Babycakes nyc
38. Sweet Potatoes and Tempeh combo
39. Falafel
40. Spelt Crust Pizza
41. Salt and Pepper Oyster Mushrooms
42. Jicama Slaw
43. Pumpkin Edamame Ginger Dumplings
44. Hemp Milk
45. Rose Champagne
46. Fuyu
47. Raw Avocado-Coconut Soup
48. Tofu Pesto Sandwich
49. Apple-Lemon-Ginger-Cayenne fresh-pressed juice...with Extra Ginger
50. Grilled Seitan
51. Prickly pear
52. Fresh Pressed Almond Milk
53. Concord Grapes off the vine
54. Ramps
55. Coconut Water fresh from a young coconut
56. Organic Arugula
57. Vidalia Onion
58. Sampler of organic produce from Diamond Organics
59. Honeycrisp Apple - So Crisp, straight from the Okanagan
60. Poi ?? I do Poi...
61. Vegan Campfire-toasted Smores
62. Grape seed Oil
63. Farm fresh-picked Peach
64. Freshly-made pita bread with freshly-made hummus
65. Chestnut Snack Packs
66. Fresh Guava
67. Mint Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
68. Raw Mallomar from One Lucky Duck, NYC
69. Fried plantains
70. Mache
71. Golden Beets
72. Barrel-Fresh Pickles
73. Liquid Smoke
74. Meyer Lemon
75. Veggie Paella
76. Vegan Lasagna (raw optional)
77. Kombucha
78. Homemade Soy Milk
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Lychee Bellini
81. Tempeh Bacon
82. Sprouted Grain Bread
83. Lemon Pepper Tempeh
84. Vanilla Bean
85. Watercress
Carrot you pulled out of the ground yourself
87. Vegan In-Season Fruit Pie
88. Flowers
89. Corn Chowder
90. High Quality Vegan Raw Chocolate
91. Yellow fuzz-free Kiwi
92. White Flesh Grapefruit
93. harissa
94. Coconut Oil
95. Jackfruit
96. Homemade Risotto
97. Spirulina
98. Seedless 'Pixie' Tangerine
99. Gourmet Sorbet, not store bought
100. Fresh Plucked English Peas

I think I'm doing alright!

Lasanga Roll Ups

Hello All! I am back, I do have a confession. I got a new camera at the beginning of August so technically I have just been taking a lazy summer break. Oh how I wish it was a lazy break, it was full of activity, every weekend something different. Every weekend something. And you know what disappoints me the most about summer - that I don't have enough of it, I know that we were lucky to have an early start to summer - That was so great. But remember when you were a kid and summer felt like it lasted forever? I miss that. Now summer is measured in about 8 - 10, 12 weekends if your lucky.

So to make up for lost time I present you with tasty tasty lasagna rolls:

These are a pretty easy to make but do take some time. I began by making the marina sauce so that definitely added quite a bit of time. I didn't really measure when making the sauce so I am going to suggest you use your favourite recipe or jarred version if your pressed on time. And I will take a rain check and remember to write down the ingredients next time!

Begin by boiling a nice big pot of water, when it reaches a rolling boil add in a handful of salt and 8 lasagna noodles. Cook according to package directions and lay out on a baking sheet lined with a tea towel. Make sure that the noodles keep keep their hands to themselves and don't touch.

Begin making the filling aka Spinachy and Cheesy Love

1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped mixed herbs
1 pkg frozen spinach - thawed and drained very well
1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan
1 1/4 tsp each salt & pepper

Mince up the onion and garlic and saute until golden.

Add the rest of the filling ingredients except for 1/2 cup of Parmesan (save that for the top) to a bowl and give 'er a good old mix up.

Lay one of the noodles out on a dry counter and spread a little bit of the filling on it leaving a bit of space at one end. Like this:

Actually, maybe leave a little more then I did...
Also try not to make it to thick. Just about this thick:

And roll it up!

Pour a little bit of marinara into the bottom of a baking dish and add the roll. Repeat until they are all in the dish. Make sure to use a big enough dish that you can get all of the rolls as well as about 3 cups of Marinara. It is important that there is a good sauce to roll ratio as the filling is quite rich and the acid in the sauce helps to cut that so you can get perfectly balanced bit each time.

Top the rolls with the reserved Parmesan and bake in a 350 degree oven until it is warmed through and the cheese has melted into heavenly goodness.

Uh Oh!

Sorry Guys!

I have been on holidays, and right before I left, my camera broke!

I will try to dig something out while I look for a new one.

Stay Healthy Smoothie

Fresh Berries are chock-full of antioxidants. In this smoothie I added fresh raspberry and blueberries, bulked it up with a banana, ground flax and kicked it up with some mango black tea.

Here's the recipe:

1 Banana
1 cup Raspberries
1 cup Blueberries
2 tsp ground flax
1/4 - 1 Cup cold brewed mango black tea

Add the first 4 ingredients to a blender and blend. Use the tea to make it as thin or thick as you would like it. I have a smoothie like this everyday for breakfast, and it really is good to boost antioxidants. What are antioxidants you ask? The are in your body already and they attack free radicals to help keep us healthy. In other words they are the Chuck Norris' of the body; performing round house kicks to any 'bad guys'!

Skate (ahem.. cod) with Traditional flavours powdered for Daring Kitchen

My sincere apologies... I know this is outrageously late. Blame the swine flu. I have been so sick since Monday that I haven't even been able to look at a computer, a TV, even a book. I have had just enough energy to lay in bed and drift in and out of consciousness, usually arising to cough up a lung. Yum! This is exactly what you want to read on a food blog....

Anyways I did complete this months daring kitchen challenge. It was a lot easier then it looked and took a lot less time then I imagined, but to be totally honest I wasn't overly wowed with the results. This may have been due to some dulled taste buds as I was just starting to become ill (unknown to me... I thought the sore throat came from 5 days of hooting and hollering at ska fest!). My man-friend wasn't very into it either - hes a man food man, and this was definitely veering towards lady food. I'm sure the recipe is all over but due to my current condition, which has improved but not all that much so I thought I would go easy on this post. Here was my final result:

And here are some other pictures during the process:

My powders consisted of Red and Green Onion, Mango Jalapeno, Cilantro and Sun dried Tomato, which I found really helped to round out the flavours with a little sweet earthiness.

These were my green beans, which were actually my favourite part.

And last but not least, cod (which was supposed to be skate) swimming in a warm bath of butter!

Multi-Olive Tapanade

Tapanade is a really a great method of making a beautiful olive based spread.
And you all know I love my dips and spreads!

What I really love about a tapanade recipe is that there is no way to screw it up and you can make it flavoured to suit your taste buds. I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Olives used to be in my top 2 most hated foods, right beside lamp - I know! I would make a terrible Greek. But after a little taste bud persuasion I have began to like olives more and more, so much so that I now want to eat them pulverized and spread all over bread!

Its simple all you will need is olives, capers, garlic, anchovies, some olive oil and pepper.

Put these ingredients into a blender, I used 3 different types of olives: Moroccan dried black olives, green Sicilian olives stuffed with sun dried tomatoes and big black Cerigola olives.

3 cups in total of olives
1 jar of drained capers
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
3-4 anchovies
2 splashes of olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
pepper to taste.

Add the olives, capers and garlic into a food processor and pulse until chopped, add the remaining ingredients and pulse again until it reaches you desired consistency, I like it a little chunky. Also remember there is no reason to add salt as the olives are plenty salty enough. Taste and add a little more of something if it makes you happy!

Serve with bread and enjoy!

Creamy Crab Spagettini

Oh Canada! Mmm.. Mmmm...
I am lucky to live on Vancouver Island, we have some of the freshest seafood around and it doesn't get any fresher then when you catch the main ingredient yourself! The crab from this dish came from the waters of one of my favourite places: Port Renfrew. The cool waters of the harbour at Port Renfrew are prime crabbing ground; especially during the late winter but also all year round. I absolutely love the Ocean and the beach so in honour of our 142nd Canada Day I created this dish. All red and white and filled with a local Canadian delicacy; dungeness crab.

This dish was delicious and quite simple to put together, I added sun dried tomato for some depth and also so it would complement the sweet crab flavour; and then topped it off with lots of Parmesan cheese for richness. Here is the recipe:

Oh! and don't worry, you don't need to catch the crab yourself; just make sure that you do use the fresh stuff that can be bought from the seafood counter, or your local fish monger. There really isn't room here for the canned stuff!

First things first! Create a crab stock, you only really need about 2 cups.

It is important if you can to cook the crab in the water that it came in, if not have it cleaned and halved and boil it for only a few minutes until it turns a deep shade of red. Cool and shell the crab, I tried to keep a few of the claw pieces intact for a garnish, but the rest will taste great no matter how it looks! Put the shell pieces into a clean pot of fresh water, about 4 - 5 cups; bring to a simmer and reduce until you have roughly 2 cups. You can add any vegetables that you would normally add to a stock, but in all honesty what your after is a deeper crab flavour for the pasta sauce.

I box of Spagettini (or enough for 4 ppl)
1 medium onion
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
3/4 Cup sun dried tomatoes
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1-2 Cups of crab stock
1 Cup of Parmesan
Meat from 2 crabs
3 lemons
1 handful parsley

Once the stock is ready you can throw enough spagettini for 4 people in a pot and cook until al dente. In the mean time saute 1 medium onion in 2 table spoons of butter, once the onion is softened add 2 tablespoons of flour to create a roux. I actually cook onions with a little bit of water in the pan, it helps to create a more even heat for the onions and encourages them to caramelize, so I would add the flour after the water has evaporated and the onions begin to brown. Once the roux has browned add 3/4 cup of sun dried tomatoes, I used regular dried tomatoes (not in oil, but you can if you want), just slice them and throw them in as well as the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Add 1 Cup of the crab stock and 1 cup of heavy cream to create a sauce, at this time you can add both the crab meat and the pasta. Toss it all together with 1 cup of Parmesan cheese and the juice of another lemon. Feel free to add more Crab stock depending of the consistency, you want a nice rich and thick sauce that coats each and every noodle. Serve topped with extra Parmesan cheese, fresh chopped parsley, a wedge of lemon and an extra knuckle of crab right on top.

You are going to love this fun and festive meal! Make sure that you take a nice big bite with a little bit of everything so that all of those beautiful flavours dance in your mouth together.

Cheesy Potato Boats

I'm not sure what is up with me and Potatoes this month, but these little suckers are cheesy, crispy, starchy and good. Potatoes at this time of year are particularly good, I love the little new ones, so cute and sweet. I used new white potatoes for this recipe, ones that weren't too small, about medium size but you can feel free to use any size you like depending on how you choose to serve them. Smaller ones make delicious bites while a larger size would make a good man pleasing side dish.

They're just so pretty with little flecks of green and red.

For the recipe, I baked some potatoes until fork tender. After they were cooked and cooled I spooned out just a little of the middle to create a small pocket, these aren't potato skins so feel free to leave a lot of potato, you'll just want to create a boat. Line your lovely little boats up on a baking sheet and top with your favourite melting cheese, I used a combo of mozza and cheddar, kept it classic. Then for some good for you goodness I added some sliced green onions and red peppers. Bake in the oven until the bottom is crisp and the cheese is gooey and enjoy!

Smoked Trout and Corn Pot Stickers for Daring Cooks

I was so excited to see that this was the challenge. I was not part of the group last month but have signed up for both the daring cooks and daring bakers... I will post my next one on time, but as I tried to find rules on there about posting late and couldn't here are my scrumptious morsels:

To be honest I wasn't very impressed with my photography, well I wasn't impressed with the light nature had provided me. But. You know what nature did provide? A beautiful, fresh little trout on my father in laws line. So brined it with some soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger salt and pepper like this:

Then I gently smoked it in the BBQ... this is tricky but after a while of tinkering totally worth it. You just need to create a sealed tent with tin foil in the BBQ, put a sack of wood chips in and get them going, then put in the fish when it is really going. How long you leave it going will depend on how thick the cut of your fish. Mine only needed a few minutes. I charred the corn on the BBQ next, husks fully removed so that the kernels could carmalize. We haven't even gotten to the good stuff yet and it already drool-worthy.

After it cools, I put it in the food processor with a few other friends, green onions, sesame seeds, soy sauce and Chinese red pepper.

The dough came together easily enough, I used the food processor again. Ahh food processor my new best friend.. Just 2 ups of flour and slowing add 1/2 cup of water, until the dough pulls away, I used that amount the first time, but need a little more the second. It all depends on the humidity and what not. Pour it out, kneed it and let it rest. Here's a glamour shot of mine:

After some beauty rest, I just cut off little knobs and flattened them with my hand... maybe a secret fairy will drop off a roiling pin one day but for now I just used my hand, then added a little filling, just a little less then you think you should add, you need to make sure you can seal these babies up.

Which brings me to sealing, that was a little tricky, getting those pretty little crimps right, but it really only took a few to practice and then you got the hang of it.

After that I popped them into a frying pan with some oil and fried them part way, added some water and steamed them, then let them fry a little to make sure they kept their crispy little bottoms, like the picture above. And then:

So tasty!