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Stuffed Bell Peppers

5 Nov

Hello, today’s recipe is an easy delicious dinner idea. Green (or whatever colour you chose) bell peppers stuffed with a mixture of sauteed vegetables and red quinoa.
WHAT YOU NEED

1) 1 large bell pepper

2) Onion 

3) Tomato

4) Spinach

5) 1/2  cup red quinoa 

Feel free to substitute any vegetables or add some more.

WHAT TO DO

1) Chop/dice vegetables.

2) Cut the bell pepper(s) in half and remove the seeds.

3) Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and add quinoa, cook until fluffy – alternately you can microwave the quinoa to cook it.

4) In a skillet over a medium heat sautee onions then add tomato and spinach. 

5) Once the vegetables have cooked down add quinoa and spices of your choice and continue to sautee– I added cayenne pepper, black pepper and tumeric.

6) Once cooked, fill peppers with stuffing 

7) Place stuffed peppers on an oven safe sheet and bake on low heat until edges of the pepper are slightly browned.

And you’re done! You can level this up by topping the stuffed peppers with anything of your choosing.  I stopped one with sauteed haloumi and the other with sliced sauteed chicken breast.

You can choose to eat this by slicing through the entire thing getting a bit of topping,  stuffing and shell in each bite or deconstruct it eating each component separately. Any way you eat it, it’s delicious! The bell pepper is fresh and crunchy while the stuffing is succulent and wholesome. 

Try this one out and have an awesome day!

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Pack with me

24 Sep

WHAT: Girls (mostly) trip

WHERE: Vegas baby!

WHEN: Sometime in the near Future

Hello and welcome to ‘Packing with me.” I will soon be taking a trip to Las Vegas and I thought I would share a few of my must-haves.

Clockwise from bottom

Flip-flops- These cute nude tones jelly ones with bows let your feet stay comfy while looking super cute.

Crossbody– This recent acquisition (as if I needed another crossbody) is by Ann Kline, a great contemporary designer. I love the structured box shape, the (faux) alligator skin finish and (faux) antique gold hardware. This will work great for all my exciting handsfree activities!

Hair Moisturizer– Do NOT leave home without your go-to hair product. This Coconut infused Whole Blends by Garnier keeps my thick, curly, unruly tresses in order. Of course, to avoid checked baggage I will be placing some of it in a travel appropriate (less than 3 fl Oz/ 100mL) bottle.

Way-Cool shades- That’s what I’ve decided to call these trendy sunglasses. The cat eye frame and super reflective finish have been popular recently and who doesn’t want to look trendy when on vacay. This is not my regular pair of sunnies, these are a much cheaper pair so just in case things get “way-crazy” and they are destroyed/lost I’ll still have my regular pair.

Bright red Lipstick– I chose this slightly cool toned brilliant red by Loreal “Frieda’s Red “. Red is my personal favourite lip colour so of course I want to have a nice turned up red on my lips while I’m turning things up in Vegas. If red isn’t your thing go for a nice bright pink/orange/coral. 

Sunscreen– Whatever your age, ethnicity, skin type etc, do not step outside without loading up on sunscreen. UV rays don’t discriminate. This is actually a daily moisturiser by Ceruve and contains hydrating cerumide but also contains SPF 30.

Fragrance– I am a huge believer in minis, whether you buy them or make your own by transferring products into smaller containers. My mother gave me this little sampler set of Atilier fragrances for my birthday and I think they are perfect for this trip. With scents ranging from blood orange to white musk, there is no occasion where I won’t find something just right.

Blazer– You really can’t go wrong with a blazer,  particularly this oversized fit black one from H+M. A nice blazer can keep you warm on your flight, dress up a nightime outfit and add dimension to daytime dress. DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT ONE!

Statement Necklace- Or statement earrings, or statement arm cuff. Point is, a jewellery piece (or two or three) that can really pop and elevate your looks.

Thank you for letting me share some of my travel essentials. Hopefully you see some inspiration for your next trip and have an awesome day!

Tomato Tart

17 Sep

Today I bring a delicious end of summer beginning of autumn dish. A tomato tart. Note, I use the term tart rather loosely.  In this case it’s pastry with a topping, some might call that a tart like myself, others may call it a pie, crustini, pizza (without sauce), foccacia and more. Regardless, it’s a delicious dish combining naughty flour-ey goodness with clean fresh produce.

For this tart I used a mix of tomatoes which not only lent to the taste but made it look that much more “instagrammable”, yes that IS a word. I used small red tomatoes on the vine, yellow mini plum tomatoes and the beautiful kamato tomatoes(thde brown-green ones).

I cheated a bit by using ready made frozen pastry. This took some effort out of the process for sure.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) Tomatoes of your choosing 

2) Pastry– I used Pilsbury croissant pastry which came as a square sheet of dough.

3) Assorted herbs– This is to add to the dough to give a bit of extra flavour.

WHAT TO DO 

1) Add seasonings to the dough and knead it in. You NEED to KNEAD!

2) Roll out the dough 

3) Add cut/sliced/diced/smashed/whole tomatoes onto pastry

4) Pinch edges to create a bit of a pastry pouch and sprinkle with seasonings and add a bit of olive oil.

5) Bake until dough is golden brown. 

6) Slice and it’s ready to be served!

This tart is delicious! The tomatoes become soft and the juciness intensifies once baked. The crust is crispy on the edge and softer in the second centre with the great taste of pastry and herbs.

This is a great appetizer for a dinner party or a more bougie (that’s a buzz word now right?) Alternative to pizza for a night of Netflix. Be sure to try it and be sure to have am awesome day!

Mediterranean Soiree 

8 Mar

This past weekend I hosted an intimate gathering in honour of my mother and sister’s upcoming birthdays as I won’t be seeing them on their respective special days.

I decided to go with a Mediterranean theme for the menu taking cues from Italian, French and Greek cuisines. 

As a rule, whenever I entertain I lays try not to bite off more than I can chew. Preparing for an event no matter how small or relaxed can become extremely stressful if you try to make everything yourself. So I chose the “semi-homemade” route, making simple recipes and using some ready made fare.

The menu served 10 persons and was as follows

Bruschetta

Mushroom crostini

Olive bar

Cheese and meat board

Chicken souvlaki (kebabs) with Tzatziki sauce

Assorted artisan mini pastries (premade)


Creme cheese croissants (premade)

Biscotti  (premade)

I will share how I prepared the items for this get together. 



BRUSCHETTA 

Bruschetta is a popular antipasto found in many Italian eateries and with good reason. It consists of slices of toasted bread coated in oil and topped with a variety of things including meats, cheeses and perhaps best known…tomato.

I made tomato bruschetta using a sliced baguette.

WHAT YOU NEED (makes 20-24 slices)

1/2 of a baguette  

Butter or olive oil

One large ripe tomato 

Spices- I used Italian spices and a pinch of salt


WHAT TO DO

Tomato

1)Dice tomato

2)Add salt and spices with a drizzle of olive oil

3)Stir to mix and place in fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow flavour to mature.

Tomato mixture 

Bread 

4)Slice baguette into approximately 1/2 inch thick slices

5)Lay flat on a baking sheet

6)Coat with butter/oil.

7)Bake until golden or desired crispness 

Bread coated in melted butter




Top bread with tomato mixture just prior to serving to avoid bread becoming soggy.

Bruschetta 


MUSHROOM CROSTINI 

If you were to ask me the true difference between crostini and bruschetta I’m not sure I could answer clearly. Both have Italian origins, both involve slices of grilled bread and both are often topped with similar items. That being said, I’m totally comfortable with calling bread topped with tomato bruschetta,  but topped with mushrooms not so much. So I’m calling it crostini.

This recipe is almost identical to the bruschetta one except for the preparation of the topping so I’ll focus on that.

WHAT YOU NEED (makes 20-24 pieces)

12 OZ of fresh mushrooms -feel free to use canned ones 

1/4 cup of finely diced onion 

2 tbsp of brown sugar- I used coconut sugar 

2 tbsp butter

1/2 of a baguette 

Ingredients 



WHAT TO DO 

Mushrooms

1)Heat butter, sugar and onions in a skillet until onions sweat (become soft and translucent) 

2)Add mushrooms and Sautee until browned.

Onions,butter and sugar mixture 


Mushrooms being sautéed 


Bread

See 4-6 for bruschetta 

3)Top bread with mushrooms just before serving

Mushroom crostini 


CHICKEN SOUVLAKI/KEBABS 

Kebabs are always a favourite of mine for parties. Who doesn’t enjoy eating bites of food off a stick? Something about it is just so much fun. Lol.

The inspiration for this came from a blog post by Closet Cooking who created this recipe after tasting something similar while on vacation in Greece. The chicken is flavour education with the tart lemon and spices and topped with tzatziki. Tzatziki is a Mediterranean yogurt based dip infused with herbs and spices. It is served with meat or used with pita bread or vegetables as a dip. You can make it yourself but it is also widely available in most supermarkets  (I bought mine).

WHAT YOU NEED (makes about 15)

1/2 lb Chicken breast/thighs boneless

1 large lemon

Minced garlic or garlic powder 

Tzatziki

WHAT TO DO 

1)Cube chicken and coat with juice of lemon, garlic and any other seasonings and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.

2) Skewer chicken Bake until cooked

3)Drizzle with Tzatziki-I also served some on the side.

Chicken souvlaki 


OLIVE BAR

This one was easy-peasy. I saw an amazing olive bar at Whole foods and knew I had to recreate it even if on a micro scale. I bought a container of mixed olives and worked with that.

WHAT YOU NEED

Various olives- You can use as many types as your heart desires

Containers- to display the olives

WHAT TO DO

Distribute the olives in their various containers along with spoons and display. I used a wooden cutting board.

Olive bar 



CHEESE AND MEAT BOARD

I have to say, that out of all the dishes on this menu, this is the one I was most excited about. Cheese and meat boards or antipasti boards are becoming a bigger and bigger trend in the foodie world making appearances on lots of restaurant menus. But these amazing appetizer boards are well established in Mediterranean cuisine. 
WHAT YOU NEED

Cheeses- At least two types but as many as you wish. I used Asiago, Gouda and sweet onion Swiss cheese by Laughing Cow.

Meats- At least two types or skip it if you want a strict cheese board. I used sliced turkey and turkey salami

Extras- I used purple or red grapes, almonds and some crackers

Board- This can be your cutting board, a marble board, slate board, metal board etc. Whatever you have. I used a rectangular board and most that I’ve seen do the same but this can work on a circular or oblong board as well.

Ingredients 

WHAT TO DO

1)Arrange your cheeses and meats on the board. I tried to create something visually pleasing by placing the cheeses at differing heights and placing the meats in between.

2)Place your extras to fill in the empty spaces

Cheese and meat board


PREMADE items

To round out this Mediterranean inspired fest I purchased some items to cut down on prep time and stress.

Pastries 

I bought a box of frozen mini pastries which came in four flavours: spinach and cheese, red bell peppers and cheese, sweet onion and cheese and mushroom and cheese…there was a lot of cheese.

Assorted savory pastries 

Dessert

All the dessert was premade. Desserts are satisfying to make but boy will they eat up your time. I purchased some Biscotti, a tasty Italian treat often eaten along with coffee. I also bought some French Creme cheese pastries which I warmed in the oven and served.

Biscotti 

Cream cheese pastries


A few more shots of the finished table

The evening was great, spent with family and friends. There was good conversation and tasty food. As I say I always recommend doing some things yourself and getting help with others when entertaining,  it makes everything a bit easier.

I hope my Mediterranean inspired Soiree gives you some ideas for your next event. Have an awesome day and Happy International Womens Day to all!

Garbanzo bean Stew

8 Jan

Today I bring you a dinner recipe of Garbanzo bean Stew served with roasted sweet potato.

Garbanzo bean Stew and sweet potato 




Garbanzo beans also called Chickpeas or channa are a great source of protein and starch. They are pretty versitile and can be used in cold salads, ground to make hummus or cooked into a delicious vegetable stew like this. 

Makes 2 servings 

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) 1 can of Garbanzo beans

2) 1 large tomato (diced)

3) 1/2 a medium onion(diced)

4) 2 cloves of garlic(sliced)

5) Approximately 2 cups of fresh spinach 

6) 1tbsp of paprika 

7) 1tbsp of yellow curry powder 

8) 1/2 tsp of all purpose seasoning 

9) 1 tbsp of Sriracha pepper sauce (or other spicy sauce)

10) 2tbsp of tomato sauce

11) 1 medium-large sweet potato


Unlike baking, where precision is key, cooking is very subjective.  Feel free to add more or less of something as you see fit. 

Ingredients 

Spices and sauces




WHAT TO DO 

Sweet Potato 

1) In a saucepan bring water to a rolling boil then add both halves of sweet potato.

2) Once cooked through,  drain water and allow to cool.

Boiled sweet potato 




3) Take a fork and plough the centre of the potatoes and sprinkle with seasoning. 

Add seasoning




4) Bake around 350 F for 10-15 minutes.

Baked potatoes


Stew

1) Add 1tbsp of butter to a medium heat frying pan and allow to melt.

2) Add garlic and onion and Sautee

Butter, garlic and onions




3) Add spices and continue to Sautee

Spices

4) Add garbanzo beans and allow them to Sautee for a few minutes. Be sure to continually stir and coat the beans with spices,  not allowing them to burn.

Beans added

5) Add tomatoes and mix

Tomatoes added




6) Add spinach and let it sweat down then mix

Spinach added



Spinach cooked down


7) Add tomato sauce and Sriracha and mix.

Sauces

8) Turn heat down to low and let it simmer until preferred consistency. 

Simmer

Plate stew and sweet potato and serve.

Finished meal

This meal came together by happenstance one evening and I’m so glad it did. The stew is hearty without being heavy and the potato is starchy and filling (in a healthy way) What I love about it is that this dinner is so effortless yet is so complex in flavour. This is a great dinner to have at the end of a long day either alone or with family and friends.

Have an awesome day 

Christmas Appetizer -Honey Garlic glazed Meatballs 

18 Dec

BLOG-Mas DAY 18

Welcome to the 18th day if Blogmas where I bring you a simple recipe for a delectable appetizer great for your yuletide gathering (or any other time of year). 

This is a recipe my mother makes often.She got it from TasteofHome. She has altered it a bit and I have altered her version so this is a version of a version. Lol.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Meatballs 

1) Ground beef-you can substitute this with another ground meat : turkey, lamb, pork, chicken or for a vegetarian option you can use textured vegetable protein (minced soy chunks)

2) 1 large egg.

3) 1/2 cup(125mL) of milk

4) 1 cup breadcrumbs.

5) 1/4 cup of diced onion.

Meatball ingredients 


Sauce

6) 2 diced garlic cloves.

7) 3/4 cup(6oz/170g) of ketchup

8) 3/4 cup of honey

9) 3 tbsp(45mL) of soy sauce

10) 1  tbsp butter

Sauce ingredients 




WHAT TO DO 

Meatballs 

PREP

Season your ground meat-I use black pepper and Worcester sauce and let it sit for about 30 minutes. 

1) Mix egg and milk together.

Egg and milk 


2) Add breadcrumbs and onioin and mix well.

Breadcrumbs and onioin  added 




3) Add ground beef (turkey,  lamb, soy etc) and form a firm mixture.

Meat mixture 




4) Form balls, approximately 1 inch (2.5cm) in diameter. This recipe gives approximately 24 meatballs this size. Of course you can make them larger or smaller if you so desire.

Meatballs formed


5) Place on baking sheet and bake at 400 F (205 C) for 15 minutes or until cooked all the way through. 

Sauce

6) In a saucepan heat garlic and butter then add ketchup, soy sauce and honey. Allow to simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes.

Sauce


Serve Meatballs with sauce either on the side or coated.

Meatballs with sauce on the side 



Meatballs glazed with sauce 



The original recipe(linked above) makes more meatballs than stated. My mother also finds the amount of breadcrumbs recommend isn’t quite enough to make a firm meatball. She also recommends using more honey than listed. For me I halved the amount of ground beef but had to tweak it in a few other places. The take home message is be careful if you plan to use the original recipe.

These Meatballs are always a hit. The meatballs themselves are firm but moist and flavourful. The sauce is has complex flavours but is super easy and affordable to concoct. The salty soy sauce , the sweetness of the honey and the tang from the ketchup make give a unique taste combination sure to impress your guests.

Definitely try this one out guys and have an awesome day.

FESTIVE DRINK -Hot (Chocolate) Shot

15 Dec

BLOG-Mas DAY 15

It’s the 15th day of Blogmas and we’re rounding out the Christmas drinks with a chocolate shot. 

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) Vodka-Regular or flavoured; this one happens to be chocolate flavored because it happened to be on sale but a marshmallow or vanilla flavored one would work too. 

2) Chocolate milk– Or chocolate almond/cashew/soy milk.

3) Mini Marshmallows – for topping.

4) Brown sugar– For the rim

5) Shot glass.



The ingredients 


WHAT TO DO 




1) Rim glass with using simple syrup (white sugar dissolved into water) then coat with brown sugar.

Glass rimmed with sugar



2) Pour shot glass 2/3 way with chocolate milk.

Milk



3) Fill remainder of glass with vodka and top with 3 mini marshmallows.

Vodka and marshmallows


4) Toast marshmallows- I used a long handled lighter. Be sure to let the flame touch the Marshmallows but not the shot itself (unless you want it flaming!)

Toasted marshmallows



Finished shot




The toasted marshmallows smell so good  (it’s fine with untoasted marshmallows as well). The rich chocolate flavour goes smoothly with the vodka. This a great little drink to get your guests in a party mood and it looks like hard work but is so easy and quick to do.

Thank you for reading and have an awesome day.

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