Thursday, April 28, 2011

Popeye's Favourite

It has been quite sometime since my last post, life has a funny way of happening all at once. What is that saying when it rains it pours? Well then I may have been hit with a monsoon!

We have just started to Finally settle into our new home and are getting back into our old routines, including making home cooked meals. This salad is not only one of Popeye's favourite's but Mitchie's too! He would probably eat this everyday if he had it his way!

Simple Spinach Salad
Serves 4

  • 1 Bunch of BabySpinach cleaned & dried
  • 8 Mushrooms thinnly sliced
  • 4 Hard boiled eggs (1/person) sliced
  • 3/4 Cup Mozzeralla Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Red onion finely shopped
  • 4 Strips of Bacon cooked extra crispy, then chopped finely

You can arrange the salad 2 ways: 

1.In a large bowl place spinach on the bottom  and layer with all other ingredients. Then toss with dressing.

2. Have everything chopped up and ready to go (as seen in photo) and have each individual build their own salad depending on their own tastes. Drizzle with dressing and enjoy!


  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 TBSP of honey
  • 1/2 Tsp oregano
  • 1 small clove of garlic minced
  • Chilli Flakes to taste
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients togehter just before tossing salad.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Roasted Garlic and Potato Soup

Its moving week!! I am beginning to feel like a professional mover, this is my 5th move in 3 years. That's just CRAZY!! I am happy to report that our next place exceeded our wish list, and we plan on being there for quite some time.

Needless to say I am also cleaning out the cupboards and fridge. I am trying  not to bring anything new into the house this week, especially food.  I'm not a big shopper to begin with, so this actually isn't that hard for me. It is going to be pantry dinners for the next couple of nights.

 This soup turned out super rich and creamy, yet I didn't add any cream. The roasted garlic gives it a spicy undertone. And who does't love cheese melting on top of a bowl of warm home made soup?


  • 1 bulb of garlic roasted
  • Approx 20 mini potatoes, roasted
  • 1 Tbsp each butter and olive oil
  • 2 small-med onions, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • chili flakes and S&P to taste
  • 5 cups chicken or Veg broth (or water)
  • For Garnish: grated cheese of choice (sharp cheddar, Parmesan, etc), chopped green onion or flat leaf parsley.

Conveniently you can roast the garlic and potatoes at the same time. Place potatoes in baking dish and lightly coat with olive oil and S&P. Trim off end part or 'tough part' of garlic bulb and place cut side up on a piece of tin foil. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and S&P, wrap foil around entire garlic bulb. Roast both at 350 F for about 35mins.

When Garlic and potatoes are about 10mins from being done, heat butter and olive oil in large pot on medium heat. Add onions and Bay leaf and saute for about 7mins. Season with S&P and add in Chopped Celery, continue to saute for additional 3mins.

Add  potatoes to pot. Remove tin foil from around garlic. Once garlic is cool enough to touch simply just squeeze the bulb over the pot, cut side down, and the roasted garlic should pop out of its skin.

Add Thyme and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Gently mash potatoes with back of spoon or use a hand held masher, you don't want to fully mash the potatoes, just break them up. Add broth or water. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat and then reduce to simmer on low for about 30mins, uncovered. Stirring occasionally.

Remove Bay leaf. Blend in batches in blender or use an immersion blender right in the pot. Blend until smooth. Garnish with cheese and green onion.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Raising the Bar

Up until today, it has truly felt and looked like spring all week. The cherry blossoms are blooming, the daffodils and tulips have poked their heads out and although the air is still a bit crisp, it too is warming up. So I couldn't think of a better way to officially welcome spring than to welcome it with a hike!

I love to hike in the North Shore mountains and have a soft spot for a trail in Deep Cove. It is known as Quarry Rock. Its a great one to run up as well. The view from the top is beautiful. 

I have included the link for the hike just in case anyone is looking for a new trail to try out.

Theses snack bars are great for hikers, trail riders, or just snackers. You can interchange the ingredients to keep from getting bored of the bars. Try dried mangoes instead of apricots, or pumpkin seeds, almond butter or rice get the idea.

Snack Bars

  • 2 1/2 cups of Puffed wheat
  • 1 cup dried apricots, quartered
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats/oatmeal
  • 1 1/4 cups toasted sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup Natural Peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar*

*Omit sugar if you use peanut butter that is not natural. It will already have added sugar.

In a medium bowl combine first 4 ingredients. This is your dry mixture.

Line a 10 x 15 pan with plastic wrap. 

In a large pot over low heat melt peanut butter, honey and sugar. Stirring often to avoiding burning. Turn off heat and stir in dry mixture, mix well to ensure everything is coated evenly.

Transfer to plastic lined pan and press mixture firmly down. Allow to cool on counter or fridge. Remove plastic and cut into snack size squares. Keep refrigerated.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Auntie Dip

One of the great things about living on the Coast is that there is never a shortage of visitors. My auntie Joanne and uncle Tom came for an impromptu visit from the depths of winter, AKA Saskatchewan, along with my auntie Carmen and uncle Alex  from the Island. We met on Friday for pre-dinner drinks and I provided the nibbly. 

This tex-mex layer dip is a crowd pleaser. It can be adjusted to suit a variety of tastes and you can decide how many layers to create. Mine ended up being 5 layers.

Tex Mex Layer Dip


  • 1 Cup refried beans (about half a can)
  • 1 Cup Salsa
  • 1 Cup 'kick butt' dressing* (or sour cream or plain yogurt)
  • 3/4 Cup grated cheese of choice
  • 2 Green onions finely chopped
  • 1/2 of a Red pepper finely chopped

I used a 8x6x2 Pyrex dish that has a tight fitting lid. Create layers as they appear in order, starting with the refried beans. Use a spatula to help make each layer even and smooth.  Serve with Taco chips.

Other layers could include: guacamole, olives, black beans, cilantro, roasted peppers.....

'Kick Butt' Dressing*

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 a lime, juiced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (or other hot pepper)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped dill (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix together.

The Kick Butt dressing comes from my sister Jaime. You can visit her blog, Tasty Trails, by clicking on the link on the right hand side of my blog page.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spicy Noodle Salad with Peanut Shrimp

Asparagus is in season right now and that is my first indicator that we are soon to hit the mother load in the world of veggies! I may have used these beautiful green spears in almost all my meals this week. In fact we just had asparagus oven roasted in the same spicy dressing as the noodle salad. Mitch said it was his "favorite way" to do asparagus! Funny seeing how he didn't cook them...

What I thought I'd do is give you the recipes for the salad dressing and shrimp and then you can truly make this your own creation. I used vermicelli noodles but you can use any stringy noodle and vegetables that you like.
You can also prepare the dressing up to a week in advance -in fact the flavor will improve with time.

This comes from a Calgary (Woodbine) classic: Best of Bridge. The best of the best volume 1.

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp chili sauce
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame oil
  • 1" chunk of ginger peeled and minced
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 Tsp chili flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For convenience use a mason jar or some type of  container with a tight fitting lid. This way you only use one dish to make and store the dressing. Combine all ingredients into jar and secure lid and refrigerate. Shake well before using.

Once you have your noodles cooked and veggies of choice chopped place in large bowl. Add dressing and toss salad thoroughly.

Peanut Sauce
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter ( I used chunky)
  • 1/2 cup chicken/veg stock (or water)
  • 2 Tbsp of spicy noodle dressing from above recipe or just soy sauce*
  • 2 Tsp of Sriracha chili sauce or other hot sauce (you can omit this if you don't like it too spicy)

*if you just use soy sauce and not the dressing I would add a clove of garlic to the peanut sauce.

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over med-high heat. I find using a whisk works best to incorporate all the ingredients together. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 mins.

Meanwhile cook shrimp or choice of protein accordingly. Cover with peanut sauce to coat completely. Place on  top of salad before serving.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fried Rice

 This is great if you have left over rice. In fact I think the older the rice (but not too old) the crispier it will be.

It can be a good way to clear out the vegetable drawer and use up what you have before it goes to waste. That has to be one of my biggest pet peeve's; food waste. You're not just wasting food but money. And not to mention all the starving children in Africa.


  • 2-3 Cups cooked Rice white, brown, basmati, etc
  • 1 Cup Peas
  • 6-8 Mushrooms chopped
  • 1 Cup Broccoli florets
  • 2 eggs scrambled
  • Green onion chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 inch chunk of ginger minced
  • Chili flakes to taste
  • 2 Tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp Canola Oil

In large frying pan or Wok  heat oils and chili flakes on medium heat. Add garlic and ginger to oil saute for 1 min. Next add broccoli and mushrooms. Once mushrooms have browned add in Rice. Season with soy sauce and pepper.

Meanwhile scramble eggs in separate pan. Add to rice and mix thoroughly just before serving.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Missing Maui

I've been home from Hawaii for just over 3 weeks now. The tan has definitely faded and happy hour is a distant memory. Although there are flowers blooming here, I can't help but feel like I could use a good, long dose of sun.

This prompted me to make a bright and colourful meal with Island flare. And brought my own sun in...if only on my plate!

Pineapple Salsa


  • 1 can pineapple tidbits, with a 1 Tbsp juice reserved
  • 1/4 cup Red pepper finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Red onion
  • 1 Tsp Lime juice
  • Handful fresh Cilantro
  • 1 small Garlic clove
  • Heat; jalapeno, hot sauce, etc to taste
  • S&P

Add all ingredients to food processor, except Red Pepper. I also reserved a 1/2 cup of the pineapple to allow for a more chunkier salsa. Once ingredients in processor have reached a desired consistency, combine with red pepper and reserved pineapple.

I used the salsa over Tilapia (a mild white fish) and served on a bed of rice with a side green salad for a complete meal. 

We also enjoyed the salsa with taco chips later on its own!