After-School Snack + Give-Away!

What's your go-to after-school snack!?

For me, that's an easy one. Grilled Cheese!! I'm going to show you how to make a 3-Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

Here's what you'll need:

Your Favourite Bread (sliced)

3 of Your Favourite Cheeses, I would suggest something Sharp (I used 3 yr old cheddar), something Stringy (I used Mozzarella), and a Hard cheese that you can grate, for this one, I used Parmesan.

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Butter

Frying Pan

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Spatula

Microplane or fine grater

Now here's what to do:

Start with your non-stick pan on medium (or just below) heat, and once heated add a pad of butter to melt. Use your spatula to make sure the butter coats the surface of the pan:

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While butter is heating up in your pan, slice your cheddar and mozzarella, and butter the outside slices of your bread.

Put slice of bread (butter down) into pan, layer on cheddar and mozzarella slices, top with other piece of bread (buttered side up).

Patience is KEY here. Stay with your pan (don't walk away from the stove). I would recommend 4-ish mins per side. I had my pan covered to keep the steam in and help melt the cheese:

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Removed sandwich, and use microplane or fine grater to grate some parmesan directly into the pan.

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Place sandwich back down on grated parmesan. Grate some more parmesan on top. Flip at about 2 mins, and finish on second side for another 2.

My friend came over after school, and she said she had already eaten. She tried a bite of this grilled cheese, and then she ate the whole thing! 

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Thank you so much to my friends at Zwiling for generously giving me one of these Ballarini BOLOGNA non-stick pans to give-away to one of you! Check my Instagram on Sunday Sept 10th for all of the details!

Back-To-School Lunch Ideas

It's almost September... which means Back-To-School.  😅

 

Today on CTV Your Morning, I show three simple lunch ideas that kids/teens can make themselves or prepare with a little help!

1) Taco Bowls - tacos may be a little messy for school lunches, but a taco-bowl is a great way of taking the same ingredients to lunch.  With some left-over rice from dinner the night before, use that as the base to build the bowl.

Here's what you'll need for a Taco Bowl Lunch:

  • 1 Cup of Cooked Rice
  • ½ Cup Black Beans
  • ¼ Cup Chopped Lettuce
  • 4-6 Chopped Cherry Tomatoes
  • ½ lb Cooked Ground Beef with Taco Seasoning Mix
  • ¼ Cup Shredded TexMex or Cheddar Cheese
  • Guacamole, in the mini (to-go) containers at your local grocery shop
  • Lunch Container with Snap on Lid

Start with rice & beans as the base in your container, then add the toppings on in sections.

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2) Tortellini Pasta Salad - pre-made tortellini: just boil and strain, then add in your favourite toppings and dressing, and refrigerate the night before.  Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 Package of pre-made (ready to boil) Tortellini
  • Salami & Mozzarella Cheese to Cube
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Fresh Basil
  • Italian Dressing
  • Mayo

Start with boiling tortellini (as per package instructions).  Cube cut salami and mozzarella cheese.  Mix ¼ cup of mayo with 3 Tbsp of Italian Dressing.

Once the tortellini is cooked, strain and set aside. When cool, add in the toppings and dressing and mix.  Put into your lunch container and refrigerate overnight.  Before heading off to school, top with chopped basil.

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3. Bento Box Lunch - This lunch idea is great for smaller kids, because it doesn't involve cooking. Mom or Dad just has to gather the ingredients and even younger kids can help pack their own lunch! Here are some suggestions of what can go into your Bento Box Lunch:

  • apples or pears (sliced and cored, seeds removed)
  • seedless grapes
  • sliced deli chicken, roast beef, or ham
  • hard boiled egg
  • cheese (try cheddar or mozzarella, cubed)
  • crackers
  • baby carrots
  • cucumber slices
  • sweet or bell peppers, sliced
  • hummus
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Plum Jam with Top Shelf Preserves

I've been Insta-Friends with Sara from Top Shelf Preserves for the past couple of years, and it was cool to finally meet her in person a couple of months ago.

I was really happy that Sara made some time to teach me about jam making, when I was in Ottawa last week.

Sara started Top Shelf Preserves in 2013, and makes a line up of small-batch preserves, as well as IN SEASON Monthly limited edition specials!

Plums are in season in July/August, so when I visited, we made some Plum Jam (I've never tried this before), so I was really excited!

We started by washing all the plums. (click photo for more)

 

We then cut the plums in half to remove the seeds.

Once all the seeds were gone, we added sugar the plums and macerated the plums in the sugar until they formed into a paste like mixture.

Then we blended the plums and sugar until a smooth liquid formed.

We put the plum and sugar mixture into a large pot and simmered it for about 30 mins, until it thickened up.

We also took the pits from the plums and boiled them in water to remove all the flesh that was still attached, we then took that liquid and added it to the simmering mix. (#zerowaste)

When the mixture started to simmer and reduce; a foam formed; which we continually skimmed off.

We kept checking the thickness of the jam until it reached the right consistency.

Time to taste!!

First Time tasting Plum Jam: tangy, sweet, delicious!!

Top Three Preserving Tips from Sara:

  • Make a realistic plan before you start out!
  • Make something you will eat, not just what looks good for photos.
  • Keep it simple, using quality ingredients.

Saturday Six ...

  1. Super excited for the August bon appétit: The Simple issue, and their new website: Basically!
  2. I've seen the instagrams of people waiting in huge lines for BLACK ICE CREAM... Finally did the same!
  3. I have more Lego mini figures than I have room for. I think they're plotting to take over my room and kick me out.
  4. Week 1 Update on my: Mason Jar Herb Garden Project.
  5. Summer Reading: Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg.
  6. Summer Playlist new add : Let's Eat by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

Father's Day Brunch Recipes

Layered Yogurt Parfaits 

Ingredients: 

• Plain or Flavored Yogurt

• Granola- I used Kind Granola Clusters because it's delicious and has less sugar than some other granolas that I found! • Fresh Mixed Berries • Sliced Bananas

• Jams (optional)

Directions: 

• In the mason jars, layer yogurt, then granola, then fruit, then more yogurt, granola, and fruit. • Berries can be subtitued for Jam or Bananas or any other fruit that you like!

Pizza Bagles

Ingredients: 

• Bagels • Pizza Sauce • Pepperoni • Peppers • Mozzarella Cheese or Shredded Cheese Mix Mozzarella/Cheddar is good too.

Directions: 

• Slice the bagels in half, add pizza sauce, then thinly sliced peppers, then sprinkle the thin sliced pepperoni and cheese together on top. • Bake until cheese is melty and golden brown.

Stacked French Toast

(2 Ways- Savory & Sweet)

(adapted from bon appetit- Classic French Toast Recipe)

Ingredients- French Toast: 

  • 6 Large Eggs
  • 3/4 C Heavy Cream
  • 3/4 C Whole Milk
  • 1/4 C Sugar (omit for savory verion)
  • 1/2 TSP Cinnamon*
  • 1/4 TSP Nutmeg*
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 4 Hamburger Buns (Sliced in Half)
  • 2 TBSP Butter
  • 2 TBSP Veg Oil
  • For Savory Version, Replace Cinnamon & Nutmeg with 1/4 TSP Ground Black Pepper

Ingredients- Toppings & Sides:

  • 6 Slices Cooked Bacon
  • 1/4 C Sour Cream (for topping savory)
  • 1 TBSP Diced Chives
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Maple Syrup
  • Sarcha

Directions:

Lightly beat eggs, milk, cream, sugar and spices in a large shallow baking dish (I do this first step in a bowl) then transfer to the shallow dish.

Add buns, turn to coat, then press down gently on the buns until you feel them start to soak up the mixture.  Let soak for 4 mins.

Heat the 1 TBSP of butter and 1 TBSP of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Carefully lift 3 buns from mix, letting extra mix drip back into the dish. Cook in skillet until golden brown (about 2 1/2 mins per side).  Transfer to plate.

For Sweet:  Stack buns, top with jam & maple syrup.

For Savory: Stack buns with bacon in-between each layer. Top with shredded cheese, sour cream, chives and drops of saracha.

Spring is Maple Syrup Season

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Spring is Maple Syrup Season in Canada! I had a chance to visit Horton Tree Farms to see how it is made: (Video Coming)...

 

Here are links to some awesome Recipes using Maple Syrup from my favourite Bon Appetit Magazine:

 

 

 

Top Chef Canada All Stars

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Can't wait to watch Top Chef Canada All Stars! What an awesome group of Canadian Chefs!

I remember getting to go to the viewing party for Top Chef Canada All Stars Season 4 with Chef Vikram!

I'll be cheering on my fav West Coast Top Chefs, Trevor Bird & Nicole Gomes. I have been so lucky to have cooked and learned with both of them!!

 

St. Patrick's Day Themed Food....

In honour of St. Patrick's Day, some green food: I made some green waffles, with some green syrup. The green syrup was a mix of pureed spinach, maple syrup and icing sugar.

I also couldn't help using some lucky charms to decorate the outside of the Chocolate Stout cake that I made. Used a Canadian Stout beer: Bolshevik Bastard by Nickle Brook Brewing Co.

Healthy Beet Soup

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nxCUvItCe4 You can check out the video for this recipe above on my YOUTUBE channel, and please don't forget to LIKE & SUBSCRIBE!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Beets (peeled & diced)
  • 1 Cup Red Potatoes (peeled & diced)
  • 1 Cup of Cauliflower Florets
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil +
  • 1 Ltr of Chicken Broth
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Happy 2017: YouTube!

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Happy New Year!

I am finally going to work on some videos to add content to my YouTube Channel! I really enjoy sharing my experiences with you, and I think that video blogging is the next step for me!!

I would love it if you would subscribe to my channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCceLTXmg3Zd2OONhripv9qQ

I am planning to post new cooking/food videos every week starting in February!

:)

Holiday Gifts for Foodies: To Read

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This is my list of must reads/haves, and I think if you have a foodie on your list, any of these are good bets!!

  • bon appétit: One of my favourite food magazines, full of: awesome kitchen gear, foodie tips, and restaurant profiles. One of my go-to recipes is the Pantry Pasta by Sarah Grueneberg: easy & delicious.  Make It Now!

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  • Lucky peach: My go-to for food stories, comics, how-to's. Hit up their website and you'll find a ton of great videos. Loving the video of The Manufactory.

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We’ve crafted OVER 100 BRAND-SPANKIN-NEW RECIPES to show your lazy ass that cooking at home is cheaper, healthier, and an essential part of being a goddamn grown-up. This book’s also got shortcuts, cooking tips, and a shitload of pretty photos. Plus, we guarantee all these recipes are faster than delivery, so you can serve up some tasty food with simple ingredients regardless of how brutal your schedule is.

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  • Toronto/Calgary/Montreal Cooks: Some of the best chefs from awesome restaurants around the country, share recipes in these city-specific books!

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  • East Van Foodie: So many great restaurants in East Van.  Chicha is on of my favs! Now you can try to recreate some of your fav dishes from those restaurants at home. Rick Cluff (CBC) talks about the East Van Cookbook Here: Listen 

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Giving Tuesday Spotlight: FeedFive

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I included the FeedFive T-Shirt in my Little Locavore's List of Holiday Gifts for Foodies to Wear.  Because it's Giving Tuesday, I wanted to tell you a little more about what you GIVE when you buy one of those shirts! dark-tshirt-sizing-3-0

Recently I went to volunteer at Feedfive. Feedfive is a non-profit organization that gets people together monthly to cook a meal that will feed the less fortunate at the Ray of Hope community centre.

It started out as a group of friends getting together to help cook a meal, but they soon realized that pooling their own money to pay for ingredients wasn't sustainable, so they needed to come up with a product to help raise money.

They wanted to be transparent, so that the person buying the product would know exactly where their money was going, and after some brainstorming and calculations, they figured that the money from one t-shirt was enough to pay for five full meals!  Hence the name: Feedfive.

This may seem unreal, but they actually do raise ALL the funds from selling only t-shirts and tank tops. Soon you'll also be able to buy hoodies and aprons as well!

Once they raise enough money to buy ingredients, they have to think about what they are going to buy, and it all comes down to these four things: what's on sale, what's affordable, what's popular, and what's doable.  Things like pastas with salads are often on the menu.

Once they've costed everything out, and sourced all the ingredients, they need people to cook and serve it.

FeedFive relies entirely on volunteers to do all the cooking, washing up, and serving of the food.  Since all the cooking takes place in the prep kitchen at the University of Waterloo, it was assumed that most of the volunteers would be students, but it turns out that the bulk of the volunteers come from people aged 35 to 60.

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I was the youngest volunteer the night that I went to help cook, but everyone was friendly and I got to meet some really great people.

I was in charge of the béchamel sauce. This was the first time I've had to make sauce for 300!

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Feedfive is always in need of more volunteers, thats where you can help, if you're interested in cooking a meal, serving a meal, and being part of a good cause, than check out their website for details and how to sign up.  Or just buy one of their cool t-shirt, it literally does feed five!

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This is me with FeedFive founder Danny Aguizi and his mom who came from Egypt to volunteer!

 

Holiday Gifts for Foodies : TO WEAR

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  1. FEEDFIVE: This foodie gift doesn't only it make you look good, it also gives back. When you buy a feedfive T-shirt, you are literally feeding five people in need. Check out their website for more info, and to get your T-shirts: feedfive.ca
  2. MAIN & LOCAL: Its simple, poutine+socks=AWSOME!!! I have them, I love them! Get some!
  3. MEDIUM RARE CHEF APPAREL: Every chef/foodie/home-cook needs a stylish apron, MRCA makes stylish denim aprons, for everybody! Including me & Chuck Hughes!
  4. FOOD ON YOUR SHIRT: I got my first Lucky Pig shirt a few years ago, but have recently grown out of it ( cough cough, Pierre ;). Food on your shirt was started by Pierre, illustrator and Chef, and Candice, food lover and printer. Swag up people!