Sunday, October 28, 2012

Arugula Pesto Pizza

Yes, you saw correctly.... another pizza recipe.  This one is from me and not Tom.

I love the peppery taste of Arugula, and use it whenever I can.  Besides tasting good it gets an "A" in the nutrition books.

  • An excellent source of B vitamins (folate in particular), Antioxidants (Vitamins A & C). 
  • Arugula is also an excellent source of Vitamin K which helps the body absorb calcium, helps maintain cardiovascular and bone health,  and has been shown to protect against Alzheimer's Disease.
  • Arugula is right along side of other cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts when it comes to protecting you against cancer.  Research has shown that cruciferous veggies are especially helpful in the prevention of prostate, breast, cervical, ovarian and colon cancers
  • Last but not least we can't forget that it is high in chlorophyll.  Chlorophyll extracts toxins and helps  nourish the liver. Our liver is such a hard working organ and vital to so many processes that take place in our body. It can use all the help it can get. Chlorophyll also cleanses, oxygenates and helps build the blood.
Arugula Pesto Pizza

5 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 - 4 tbsp EVOO
2 - 4 tsp white wine vinegar
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Feta cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Goat cheese
6 slices hot Genoa salami
2 boneless skinless chicken thighs, roasted
2 large tortillas

Preheat Oven to 400
Combine Arugula, green onions, white vinegar, EVOO, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper in food processor and blend till smooth.

In a small skillet cook salami till just crisp, remove from pan to paper towel and break into smaller pieces when cool.  I roasted my chicken thighs in the oven with salt, pepper and a sprinkle of granulated garlic.  You could easily cook them in a skillet as well.

Spread pesto over tortilla.  Grate fresh Parmesan on top. Add remaining toppings and cheese. (I used Feta and Parm on one, and Mozza and Parm on the other.  I fogot about the goat cheese till I had them in the oven).

Cook till cheese is melted and tortilla is crispy.

Here's another interesting tidbit of information... it seems Ancient Romans and Egyptians believed Arugula to be an aphrodisiac... go figure.  

Have a great week!!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cinnamon Walnut Granola

Here we are again, it's the weekend.  The work week was pretty standard, busy as always and I felt like I was coming down with something all week but nothing became of it so I'm happy about that.  I still have some money left on my benefits so I thought I would schedule myself for a massage unfortunately my regular massage therapist was unavailable so I tried a new one. I wasn't really a fan, but I'm quite picky when it comes to massage therapists. I also tried a new Acupuncturist, she was quite good and her office is close to home so I'll be going back.

Now on to the yummy granola.  I'll warn you now this stuff is addictive!!  It is also Tom approved.  He tried it last night and his comment was "this is good but there's one didn't make enough.". Looks like I'll be making some more today.

I saw a recipe like this on line but have no idea where I saw it so I tried to go by memory.  If this looks like your recipe please leave a comment so I can link back to it.

Cinnamon Walnut Granola (with rum soaked dried fruit)
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup buckwheat groats
3/4 cups chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup shredded coconut (I used sweetened)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
raisins, goji berries, currants (Approximate measurements- handful of raisins, 2 tbsp goji berries, 1 tbsp currants)
1/2 cup rough chopped pitted medjool dates
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp maple syrup, warmed
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp warm water
2 tbsp coconut oil melted (you could use light EVOO too)
1/2 tsp sea salt

Soaking liquid for dried fruit - I'm not a fan of raisins so whenever I use them in a recipe I soak them.  My liquid of choice is a little hot water and spiced rum or dark rum.  Add liquid to just cover fruit, and soak till soft.  Drain well.  Depending on your recipe or you taste you can use just plain water, apple juice, orange juice, some amaretto the possibilities are endless.

Preheat oven to 300
In a large bowl combine oats, buckwheat groats, walnuts and cinnamon and nutmeg.
Add dates, maple syrup, vanilla, water, oil and salt to blender.  Blend till smooth.
Add to dry ingredients and mix till well combined.
Spread evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake about 30 mins or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.  In the last 10 mins of cooking add the soaked and drained dried fruit.

Enjoy... don't say I didn't warn you it's addictive.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blackened Haddock

Growing up I was never a fan of fish.  I know someone from Nova Scotia not liking fish seems odd, but I just never liked it.  I did eat the odd piece of lobster dripping in butter or smothered in mayo in a lobster roll, and there were fried clams now and the from John's Lunch, a little diner in Dartmouth, where time seems to have stood still, certainly not health food by any stretch of the imagination.  As an adult I became a little more adventurous and branched out into the steamed clams, mussels on occasion and I was even brave enough to try some Oysters on the half shell, doused with hot sauce, which by the way didn't help.

While I'm still not overly fond of a lot of fish, I do love Haddock something I never thought I would say (and my mother never thought she would hear).  Some of my favorite ways to enjoy it are pan fried of course, garlic parmesan crusted , and blackened.  Blackened anything is good in my books. All you need is some fresh Haddock, a cast iron pan, some blackening spices and your good to go.

Blackened Haddock
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp granulated garlic (or garlic powder)
1/2 tsp crushed red chilis
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
large pinch of cayenne pepper
1 - 1 1/2 lbs fresh haddock fillets
2 - 3 tbsp butter melted

Combine all spices in a spice grinder, mortar and pestal or blender and grind till smooth. **Warning - this spice mixture is spicy adjust according to your taste**

Preheat cast iron skillet about 5 mins ( till a drop of water sizzles).
Brush both sides of fish with melted butter and coat in spice mixture. Add fish to hot pan and drizzle with remaining butter. Grill  approx. 3 mins or until spices are blackened, turn fish over and do the same.  Cook until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

The pictures don't do this meal justice.  I had a relatively new cast iron skillet so the spices stuck to the pan when I flipped my fish :-(  Regardless, this is a great way to enjoy haddock.

I served it with spicy carrot fries and seven grain salad.  I also don't use tartar sauce with any fish.  A squeeze of  lemon or some Tzatziki.  It may seem like an unlikely combo but it works for me.  I also use Tzatziki in Tuna salad instead of mayo.

If you haven't tried blackened haddock (or chicken, or steak) I urge you to give it a try.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cupcakes and Whipped Cream

Just wanted to give you an idea for a very yummy dessert or anytime treat.  Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes topped with Coconut Whipped Cream.
Coconut whipped cream is such a yummy treat.  I keep a small can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge at all times solely for making this.  You’ll want to chill the can for at few hours or overnight. When you remove the can from the fridge turn it upside down before you open it.  You don’t want the liquid, save that to throw in your morning smoothie, all you want is the solid coconut cream.  Like regular whipped cream it’s always a good idea to chill you bowl and beaters but it isn’t necessary.  Whip as you would regular cream, adding in your sweetener of choice (maple syrup, agave, sugar or honey).  You can also add some vanilla to suit your taste.

Not the best picture but I’m sure you can imagine a chocolate cupcake topped with coconut whipped cream = heavenly!  I sprinkled some ground cinnamon over top as well for a little additional flavour pop.
~ Jackie

Curry Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I don’t know if it’s the chill that’s been in the air lately but I’ve been craving soup, which really is a little odd for me.  I love soup once I’m eating it but to crave it isn’t something that happens often.  Since I had a lonely butternut squash in the cupboard that had to be used butternut squash soup was the winner.
Curry Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
  • 1 medium Butternut Squash, halved and seeded
  • 1 small head of garlic
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 – 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • fresh grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Maple syrup to drizzle over when serving
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Drizzle your halved squash with EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper roast till flesh is soft when pierced with a knife.  I roast mine skin side down for part of the cooking and skin side up for part of the cooking.
While your roasting your squash you can roast a head of garlic at the same time.  Cut off the top of the garlic drizzle with EVOO, salt and pepper.  Wrap with foil and place in the oven.
While the squash is cooking sauté your onion in some EVOO till caramelized.  When it’s caramelized to your liking add the curry powder and toast slightly to bring out the flavour.
When the squash is cool enough to handle scoop the flesh into your blender or food processor along with the onion and curry mixture.  Squeeze the garlic out of the cloves out of their skin and add to food processor or blender.  Process till smooth.  Add some broth if necessary for processing.  Place mixture in your pot add remaining broth, bay leaf, and fresh ground nutmeg.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 – 15 mins.  Drizzle with maple syrup when serving.

** Note: I served with a garnish of Cilantro.  I really enjoyed the combination of flavours.  So the next time I make it I will all a small amount (don't want it to overpower the soup)maybe a Tbsp or less of chopped Cilantro**

curry roasted butternut squash soup
I served mine with some Quinoa that I rinsed well and drained till mostly dry.  While that was drying I browned some butter in the pot.  Add the dried Quinoa and cook till toasty.  It only takes a few minutes. Add your water (or broth) and salt cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer till liquid is absorbed. Let sit for 5 mins and fluff with a fork.
Simple and delicious.
~ Jackie

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Weekend Plans + Photo Post

It finally arrived... the weekend's here!!  For me as I'm sure for most of you, I can't wait for the work week to get over and the weekend to arrive.  Maybe it's because I'm getting older now, but I'm quite happy to spend the weekend relaxing watching a movie, cooking in the kitchen, reading a good book or going for a stroll.  I don't have that need to be on the go and looking for the next big event or party.  Gone are the days when I was out till all hours of the night every weekend, once in awhile is fine with me.

So my plans for the weekend include most of the above with some studying and probably a glass or two of wine thrown in there.  My kitchen plans include trying out the new pasta roller attachment  for the KitchenAid.  I'm hoping to make some homemade lasagna noodles for some pumpkin lasagna ... wish me luck.  I'm also planning some Roasted Butternut Squash soup, fudge (with a secret ingredient), and I suppose I should throw something in there that Tom likes so probably a steak and some roasted potatoes.

Fingers crossed I'll have some yummy food to share with you after the weekend.  Until then I'll leave you with a photo post.  I've had my new camera for about a year now and have really done nothing with it, so I thought it was about time I start trying to take some more thoughtful pictures and learn how to use the umpteen different settings.  I also need to learn how to take better food pics now that fall / winter are upon us and the lighting in the house leaves a lot to be desired.

Have a great weekend everyone.  Hopefully I have success in the kitchen this weekend and I'll be back with some delicious eats for you.

~ Jackie

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Project Organize

One of my goals for October was to organize the kitchen.  Well I tackled that and then some while I was on vacation.  I not only organized and de-cluttered the kitchen cupboards, I washed all of them.  Even though we have a big kitchen I still wish I had more cupboard space, That is until I decide to wash the cupboards that’s when I wish I had a teeny tiny kitchen. It took me a day just to do that. I don’t really have any earth shattering suggestions about how to organize your kitchen but some of the things I find helpful are.

* Mason jars for storing items.  I have been slowly accumulating mason jars to store my dry goods like beans, lentils, chickpeas, flours, teas etc. That way I don’t have 5000 different plastic bags and packages strewn about in the cupboards.  I also label the tops of the jars so I can actually see what’s in them without pulling them out.

*Baskets make great holders for a lazy susan cupboard.  Ours is metal so things would fall through the cracks or fall off as you spin it.  Annoying!!!  So I try to keep like items together in the baskets and now I don’t have to be a contortionist to crawl inside to try to retrieve what fell off.  I also keep my potatoes in a basket helps eliminate rotten ones at the bottom of the bag. 

Before and After


Some things I figured out during this task

-  I have a lot of tea.  I mean does one person really need 24 different kinds of tea???

-  I also have a lot of vinegar – 13 kinds to be exact, seriously what was I thinking.

tea vinegar after

- Another thing I realized was I could have outfitted another entire kitchen.  Some of the things I donated, toaster, pressure cooker, pots, pans, juicer, food processor, blender and the list goes on.

A little treasure I found buried in the back behind the tea and vinegar was this


This stuff is super good on toast but it would be amazing as a topping for Brie or with pork or chicken.  I will be picking some more of this up for sure at the next Epicure party I go to.

G’night all.

~ Jackie

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Quinoa Turkey Burgers

Something I've been doing for awhile now is attending the Presidents Choice (Superstore) Cooking School.  They offer a wide variety of classes,  Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Italian, French and many more.  There is even a class dedicated to Chocolate!  I enjoy going so I can try out different or new to me foods and  cooking techniques that I wouldn't necessarily try on my own.  You don't actually get to cook, but what you do get is a chance to sit and relax while a Chef prepares a full meal (appetizer, main dish, and dessert) for you to enjoy, a copy of the recipes to take with you, and the best part is you get a break from cooking and dish duty!  The supper classes are very reasonably priced at $18 + HST.

They also have a What's For Dinner session at lunch time (check with your local store to see if it's available). This is an hour long class where you show up the Chef prepares lunch (usually salad and main dish, or main dish and dessert). They have most of the prep work done so you basically just sit down and eat.  Easy to fit in on your lunch break if you work close to a location that offers them.  Here's the best part.... these classes cost $10, but when you go you get a $10 Presidents Choice gift card so lunch is in fact FREE! How can you beat that, real food cooked for and served to you for free.

One of the classes I went to was "Cooking with Quinoa" and these burgers were one of the items on the menu.

Quinoa Turkey Burgers

2 lbs Ground Turkey
2 cups White Quinoa, cooked
2 garlic cloves (minced if you don\t use the food processor)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
3 Tbsp Tzatziki, plus additional for serving
2 Tbsp fresh Rosemary, (chopped fine if you don't use the food processor)
Salt and Pepper

Feta, and Tomatillo Salsa for topping finished burgers
12 Ciabatta buns

Combine all burger ingredients in the food processor, and pulse till combined.  Form into 12 burger patties.  Cook burgers on preheated grill, BBQ or in a saute pan with a small amount of olive oil.

Top burgers with Feta, salsa, and veggies of choice.

*Note - I don't usually use the food processor just combine everything in a bowl.  I also use other fresh herbs if \I have them on hand (oregano, thyme).  

I wasn't in the mood for a bun so I just topped some Arugula with the burger and accompanied it with a Carrot Beet Salad and homemade tortilla crisps and guacamole. Delish!!

It's back to work for me tomorrow.  Have a great week.

~ Jackie

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dijon Apple Pork Chops

Wow it’s October already.  Where does the time go?  Before we know it we’ll be running through the stores scrambling to buy those last minute Christmas gifts.
Before I start thinking about Christmas shopping, let’s rewind to September for just a minute.  I shared a few of my goals for September.:
  1. Walk at least 30 minutes 5 days per week.   This was a success.
  2. Complete and submit tests/assignments for 2 modules in RHN course.  Almost a success.  I completed both tests/assignments but had some computer issues uploading them so they haven’t been submitted yet.
  3. 3 Day Smoothie Detox. Completed with a slight modification (2 days of smoothies, 1 day break, then smoothies for a final day).  Hubby had a day off, which is VERY rare so we spent the day out and what’s a day out without some yummy food. I really didn’t think I could do smoothies for one day let alone three but it was easier than I thought. The right combinations of ingredients made me feel full and gave me energy throughout the day.  I don’t know if I could do cold smoothies during the winter but a great idea for the summer or even spring and fall.
Here are October’s goals.
  1. Organize and purge kitchen cupboards
  2. Focus on meal planning  (I normally fail miserably here.  I can start cooking one thing and by the time I’m ready to eat, it’s a completely different meal)
  3. Make fewer trips, and spend less at the grocery store.  Also use what I have in the house and stop wasting food.
The fall weather has found us here on the East Coast and since there has been a definite chill in the air I thought some comfort food was in order last night.

Dijon Apple Pork Chops and Roasted Potatoes
1 – 2 medium apples roughly chopped (I used honey crisp)
½ red onion chopped
¾ cup chicken broth (or water, or unsweetened apple juice)
1 -2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 lbs bone in pork chops
Salt & Pepper
Preheat oven to 375
Sauté onion till translucent. While onions are cooking sprinkle chops with salt and pepper and bring to room temperature. When onions are cooked remove from pan. Add chops and sauté. When they are browned (not cooked) remove from pan to a baking dish.
Mix broth, mustard, brown sugar and cinnamon together and add to hot pan along with onions. Simmer for a couple minutes making sure to scrape up the flavour bits left behind by the pork chops.
Pour over chops, cover with foil and bake for approx. 30 mins or until internal temperature reaches 155 – 160.
Roasted Potatoes
You probably don`t need a lesson on how to make roasted potatoes but I make these all the time so I thought I would share. Sometimes I roast in the oven at 400 or finish in a frying pan on the stove.
Yukon Gold Potatoes
My usual spices of choice
Granulated garlic
Chilli powder
Sea Salt, fresh cracked pepper
If roasting in the over, partially cook in the microwave. If cooking in a frying pan on the stove cook through but don’t overcook.
Mix spices and EVOO together in large bowl.
When potatoes are finished in the microwave chop and toss in bowl with EVOO and spice mixture. If they are still hot this will help them soak up the mixture.
If finishing in the oven line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake to golden brown.
For the frying pan – just add some EVOO to the pan and cook to a nice crispy crust has formed.
The photos leave a lot to be desired.  The night lighting in my house is horrible for taking pics.  That`s one of the things on my to do list… some kind of photography course.

Have a great day!!