Why, hello 2014. It’s a pleasure to meet your acquaintance. I have big plans for you 2014…big plans. I didn’t really wait for the new year to start cleaning up my diet. I decided to start eating healthier a few weeks before Christmas. Yeah, that was awesome. I wasn’t tempted by luscious Christmas candy and chocolate AT ALL. I figured if I could survive the holidays, I could survive anything. One thing I learned along the way is that healthy food actually tastes pretty darn fantastic. The key is to combine flavourful ingredients. Spices and texture are also extremely important.
One day last week while I was out shopping with a friend, I found myself craving one of my favourite restaurant salads. Yes, you read that right. Not a burger, not a cupcake, but a SALAD. I rushed home and decided to try to recreate it in my kitchen. I was so happy with the results that I had to share it. This salad has the perfect combination of sweet with the juicy strawberries and crunchy candied pecans; and also has awesome creaminess with the avocado and goat cheese. Not to mention, hearty elements like quinoa and grilled chicken. This salad is amazing on its own or tossed with this delicious Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing. I made a big batch of quinoa and candied pecans, grilled up a couple chicken breasts and enjoyed this salad a couple days in a row. It seriously makes clean, healthy eating easy.
I had the opportunity to spend some time at our family house in Saskatchewan this past long weekend. Since Claudia is newly retired, she has been out there for almost a month and has left me fending for myself when it comes to blog recipes. When she greeted me at the door with a pail of freshly picked raspberries I knew we could easily make up for lost blog time.
Although I prefer Claudia’s Strawberry Freezer Jam, I still have a craving every now and then for raspberry jam. Again, this recipe is from the Certo box! Besides being raspberry, the main difference is that this jam is cooked. But don’t let that intimidate you. It’s actually very easy. Plus, the great thing about cooked jam is that it can be stored up to a year on the shelf unopened.
Strawberry season has arrived here in Manitoba. I love picking strawberries. As a kid, Claudia and her Mom (my Baba) would often take us strawberry picking outside the city. I had so much fun. Mainly because I ate more than I placed in the basket! There is nothing better than the taste of fresh fruit straight off the vine. When Claudia told me she was returning from a trip to Saskatchewan and was going to pick up some baskets of strawberries, I knew we immediately needed to make her recipe for Strawberry Freezer Jam that evening. This is by far my favourite jam on the planet. Friends who have tried it also agree. I actually learned while making this with Claudia last week that it’s no family secret – it’s literally the recipe from the Certo package! Regardless, it’s beyond delicious. I much prefer the freezer no-cook jam version as opposed to the cooked version. It’s also a lot easier to make.
First off, Happy New Year! How many resolutions have you broken already?! Ah, don’t be ashamed. Like most people, I also tend to break them within the first few days. That’s why I do my best not to make them anymore.
I figured I would post one of my all-time favourite recipes that will help you keep your healthy living resolutions for 2012. This is probably one of the simplest, most delicious vegetable dishes I have tried. It is adapted from the Looneyspoons Collection cookbook by Janet and Greta Podleski. These ladies are amazing at creating delicious dishes that are super healthy and simple. I highly recommend you pick up one of their cookbooks and give some of the recipes a try. You won’t be disappointed. These roasted vegetables are flavourful, hearty and totally diet compliant.
For as long as I can remember, Claudia has been making Layered Taco Dip. Often when I was younger and my parents were entertaining friends at our house, she would making this snack. As a child, I encouraged my parents to have their friends over more often, as it meant I would be able to consumer more of this amazing dip.
These days, this dip makes an appearance during football season. Tonight is the Grey Cup, and our Winnipeg Blue Bombers are playing in it. For those who don’t follow the CFL, it’s essentially the Canadian version of the Super Bowl. There are many different versions and customizations to this dip, so please feel free to use your favourite ingredients as layers. Claudia typically keeps it simple with a few main ingredient layers like ground beef, salsa and cheese. I’ve had other variations of this dip that include black olives, refried beans and guacamole. I have found Claudia’s simplicity to this dip to be the best.
I can’t believe September is already here. The weather is getting a little cooler and our family garden in Saskatchewan is slowly winding down. While I was visiting Claudia on her holidays in August, we had the opportunity to do some canning. This is only the second year that Claudia has made garden fresh pickled carrots. I never had Pickled Carrots growing up, but I had the chance to try some a few years back and immediately knew Claudia had to start making these. They are crunchy and have a great garlic bite. With a hint of dill flavour, they make a great snack or side dish.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to visit Claudia and her lovely garden in Saskatchewan. We have had an unusually hot and dry summer here on the Prairies. This has been a welcome change for our vegetables, as the past few summers have been wet and, quite frankly, miserable. The abundance of cucumbers, carrots, potatoes and onions made capturing some of Claudia’s recipes simple and fun. There is nothing like using fresh ingredients from your backyard.
When I walked into the house after the 5 hour drive from Winnipeg, I noticed something on the fridge. I took a picture of it (above). This simple piece of paper is the reason I started this food blog. This is Claudia’s recipe for Dill Pickles. Yes, just the ingredients for the brine. No instructions, no laminated paper, nothing. Just her coveted recipe scribbled on an old piece of worn paper. I knew I had to post this delicious recipe for the best dill pickles you will ever have immediately!