September 22, 2015

Summer Meals Recap

Now that summer is almost officially over, and I haven't written a blog post since the beginning of summer back in May, I thought it's about time that I shared some of the meals I've been enjoying over the last few months! Summer - as with every other time of year lately - was super busy for me, so not only did I not have time to post, but I didn't have a lot of time for cooking. I stuck to mostly easy meals and standbys, like vegetable quinoa or pasta, sandwiches, and salads. But with fresh, local vegetables available, simple meals are all you need!

Here's a little recap of some of my favourite dishes from this past summer.  And don't forget you can follow along a little more frequently with me over on Facebook or Instagram!

berry smoothie bowl

I finally started trying smoothie bowls for the first time and love them, though I've been lazy lately and haven't made one in a while. The version pictured above had a base of frozen mixed berries and bananas, almond milk, oats, and flax seed, and was topped with strawberries, bananas, kiwi, almond butter, berry granola, and chia seeds!

summer quinoa

Quinoa is always a staple around our home. In the summer I love using fresh vegetables like cherry tomatoes, red pepper, corn, and cucumber, tossing the quinoa with a bit of lemon juice and olive oil, and adding some feta and fresh pepper.

southwestern quinoa

The other version of quinoa we make all.the.time. is this southwestern version with black beans, pinto beans, chile powder & cumin, sauteed veggies (zucchini, red pepper, tomato, corn, mushrooms), and a little salsa and cheese. We never get sick of it!
 bbq chicken quinoa

I also tried a new version this summer with this grilled bbq chicken, zucchini, and corn quinoa salad recipe from Closet Cooking.  I loved the addition of barbeque sauce, and we loved it even more with shredded cheddar instead of feta the next day!

avocado toast

Avocado toast is always a staple when I'm pressed for time (and willing to splurge on avocados)!  I finally bought hemp seeds recently and love sprinkling them on everything!

turkey bacon blts

Also super easy were these turkey bacon BLTs we had a few times.  I wish I made them more; I feel like I hardly had any fresh tomatoes this year!

easy summer vegetable gnocchi

This gnocchi was the result of grabbing whatever I could find at the market one evening, and I ended up loving it! I just cooked some storebought gnocchi and tossed it with sauteed zucchini, tomatoes, corn, onion, and garlic, and topped it with some parmesan cheese. Easy and tasty!

turkey pasta

The other pasta recipe I tend to make all the time when I can't think of anything else is whole wheat pasta with sauteed vegetables (in this case zucchini, mushrooms, and spinach), ground turkey, and storebought pasta sauce. It's healthy, filling, and makes great leftovers!

sweet potato tofu tacos

Tacos are another fun and easy meal to throw together.  We enjoyed these sweet potato tofu tacos from Vanilla & Spice as a vegetarian version...

fish tacos with mango avocado

... As well as fish tacos with avocado mango salsa (and a little hot sauce)!

chipotle chicken enchiladas

I've made these chipotle chicken enchiladas from Skinnytaste a few times before and we always love them!  I just poach the chicken beforehand and put most of the cheese inside the enchiladas rather than on top.

baked pesto penne

This baked pesto whole wheat pasta from Pinch of Yum is another summer favourite of ours. It's easy to throw together is a great way to pack in lots of greens.

canada day crepes

On Canada Day, I made a festive breakfast for us by cooking up a batch of vanilla crepes, filling them with yogurt, and topping them with some cooked and fresh raspberries to form a Canada flag!

cherry tomato skewers

Later that day, I extended the theme with Canada flag-inspired appetizers. Pictured above are simple skewers made with grape tomatoes, marinated bocconcini, basil, and a balsamic reduction. The colours (ignoring the green) were meant to resemble the flag, but everyone liked these so much I made them for non-Canada related gatherings too!

watermelon feta skewers

My other, perhaps less obvious, flag-themed appetizer were these watermelon, feta, and mint skewers, also with a balsamic drizzle.  These are one of my favourite summer appetizers that are always a hit!

chicken arugula salad

This edamame and blueberry arugula salad with herbed chicken was one of my favourite dishes that my parents made for me this summer!

cinnamon peach banana bread

I didn't do a lot of baking this summer but one of my favourite baked goods was this low-fat cinnamon peach banana bread from Ambitious Kitchen.  I replaced half the flour with whole wheat and the butter with coconut oil but you wouldn't know it was healthy!

strawberry crisp

I also love throwing together crisps in the summer. And it can't get better than enjoying them with the sunset and a good book...

summer beer

... Though beer doesn't hurt either ;)  Cheers to summer 2015!

May 04, 2015

Maple Balsamic Roasted Salmon, Brussels Sprouts, & Potatoes

Maple Balsamic Roasted Salmon, Brussels Sprouts, and Potatoes

I know it's a little late for brussels sprouts season and most of you are probably too focused on asparagus right now to think about wintry vegetables, but I'm happy to eat brussels any time of year (and we don't have local asparagus here yet last time I checked)!

I can also enjoy a meal like this any time of year - roasted salmon, vegetables, and potatoes all tossed in an easy homemade glaze. There's nothing revolutionary about this dish and you've likely seen or made a version of it once or several times before, but it's a great recipe to have in your collection because it's simple, healthful, flavourful, and satisfying!

Maple Balsamic Roasted Salmon, Brussels Sprouts, and Potatoes

I love adding a glaze to salmon because that little extra step makes such a difference in flavour; I usually use whatever ingredients I have on hand but that often includes maple syrup. I also love tossing roasted brussels sprouts and potatoes in balsamic vinegar and eating them just like that. So I decided to combine those flavours together with a maple balsamic glaze that I brushed heavily on the salmon and lightly on some roasted brussels sprouts, potatoes, and shallots on the side.

I don't often like coordinating main dishes with side dishes because it involves too much work but everything about this dish flows easily together, doesn't take long or dirty too many dishes, and most importantly tastes so good you'll want to add it into your meal rotation no matter the time of year!

Maple Balsamic Roasted Salmon, Brussels Sprouts, and Potatoes

Maple Balsamic Roasted Salmon, Brussels Sprouts, & Potatoes

Serves 4

Inspired by Real Simple but recipe is my own


For the roasted veggies:
1 lb brussels sprouts, stems trimmed and outer leaves removed, halved
1 lb baby potatoes or fingerling potatoes, halved
3-4 shallots, peeled and chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1-2 tablespoons olive oil

For the glaze:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
~1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1 lb or 4 fillets of salmon


Preheat oven to 425°F.

Toss brussels sprouts, potatoes, shallots, and garlic with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and spread in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Roast in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare glaze by heating 1 teaspoon olive oil or a light drizzle in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon, salt, and pepper. Let simmer, stirring often, and watching closely, until slightly thickened. This could take around 5 minutes. I don’t reduce the glaze until it’s completely thick; I remove it from the heat when it’s thickened but still pourable.

Remove vegetables from oven and toss.  Brush glaze over salmon fillets (you won’t use all the glaze) and place on the same or a separate foil-lined pan, skin side down.  Return salmon and vegetables to oven and roast for another 10-12 minutes or until salmon and vegetables are cooked through.  Brush remaining glaze over salmon and roasted veggies.  Season with salt and pepper if desired.

April 20, 2015

Month in Review - March 2015

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll remember that I used to do monthly "recaps" of memorable meals and occasionally other activities and photos worth sharing from the month. I haven't done one in a while, but I'm trying to start them again as they're a great way to share food and recipes I've tried and loved from other blogs, cookbooks, or restaurants. Of course I'm late as usual by posting March's recap late into April, but I'm still trying to get used to fitting blogging back in my life!

I also post most of these photos regularly on Instagram if you'd rather follow along there instead of reading these summary posts!

banana peanut butter overnight oats

Starting off with breakfasts, I've only just started making overnight oats, which I've seen a million times but have been hesitant to try because of the idea of cold oats. Turns out they're delicious, and make breakfast so easy - just a few minutes of prep the night before means breakfast is ready and waiting in the fridge!  I've made this peanut butter and banana overnight oats recipe (pictured above) a few times now but hope to try other flavours in the future!

mocha smoothie bowl

I'm also late to the smoothie bowl trend but have hopped on board lately!  I make smoothies all the time and haven't seen the need to eat mine with a spoon before, but topping them with granola, fruit, seeds, nuts, goji berries, etc. makes them even better!  Pictured above was a chocolate coffee protein version that was a bit on the thin side, but I'm getting the hang of it now!


Of course regular smoothies still make a regular appearance in my life.  This was a "Super Boost Smoothie" from Pure Juice Bar which was delicious.

healthy banana bread attempt

I've been working on a healthy (oil-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, except for a few chocolate chips ;)) banana bread recipe but haven't gotten it quite right yet.  If I ever do, I'll be sharing it on here!

peanut butter pancakes

In not-so-healthy breakfasts, I made these peanut butter chocolate chip pancakes for my fiance as a birthday treat.  Melted peanut butter is one of my favourite pancake toppings!

March dinners included...

baked whole wheat pasta with turkey, kale, mozzarella

This baked whole wheat pasta with ground turkey, mozzarella, mushrooms, and kale (I used spinach this time) is one of my go-to easy and healthy meals that makes great leftovers!

lemon lentil soup

I tried this lifting lemon garlic rice & lentil soup from Happy Healthy Life when I felt a cold coming on.  I ended up using too much lemon so it was a bit overpowering, but otherwise this was a fun twist on soup!

southwestern quinoa bowl

I often make some version of southwestern quinoa and it's always delicious.  Just cook quinoa in vegetable broth, sautee some corn, black beans, onions, garlic, and mushrooms if you have them, and toss it all together with some cheese, salsa, or hot sauce!

This was the veggie burger at one of my fave new restarants, Raw Juice Co - it was delicious!  I need to keep going back here to try everything on their menu!

salad with chicken, tomatoes, feta

When out of dinner ideas, a grilled chicken salad is always a good choice, and feta is a must in my opinion.

Finally, I tried out a couple new desserts last month...

dulce de leche thumbprint cookies

We got a delicious jar of chocolate dulce de leche at Christmas so I decided to use some of it up in cookies. I used the same recipe from my raspberry shortbread thumbprint cookies but filled the middle with the dulce de leche and topped them with melted dark chocolate chips.  Easy and tasty!

chocolate peanut butter brownies

I also tried these cocoa brownies with peanut butter frosting, which are from Not Without Salt and also appear on Love & Olive Oil, though I followed The Wednesday Chef's method which involves browning the butter first.  At first taste I wasn't blown away by these but everyone I shared them with loved them, and when I had one the next day I liked it a lot better.  The brownie layer is dense and fudgey which is nice for a cocoa brownie and the peanut butter frosting wasn't too sweet, though I did think it was a little too thick so I didn't use all of mine.

That's about it for March, and I guess an April recap isn't too far away now!  Hope you enjoy these posts!

April 02, 2015

Roasted Carrot Crostini with Dill Pesto & Feta

Roasted Carrot Crostini with Lemon Dill Pesto and Feta - an appetizer with bright Spring flavors that's perfect for Easter or anytime!

I'm happy I decided to try to start posting recipes again just in time for Easter.  I love all food-related holidays but Easter is especially nice because after the heavier meals at Thanksgiving and Christmas, we now get to celebrate bright and fresh flavours that go along with the start of springtime.

Roasted Carrot Crostini with Lemon Dill Pesto and Feta - an appetizer with bright Spring flavors that's perfect for Easter or anytime!

Whenever I try to think of Easter recipes my mind always goes straight to carrots.  As part of our Easter dinner last year, my sister made roasted carrots and radishes with a lemon dill pesto (inspired by With Food + Love) and the flavours worked really well together.  So I decided to turn that concept into an appetizer, with the addition of feta because feta makes everything better!

Roasted Carrot Crostini with Lemon Dill Pesto and Feta - an appetizer with bright Spring flavors that's perfect for Easter or anytime!

This dish looks a little fancy but is really easy to prepare. I just chopped and roasted some carrots in the oven, then whipped together a lemony dill pesto in the food processor.  I toasted some whole wheat baguette slices, spread some of the pesto on top, then topped them with the carrots and feta. I loved how the bright flavours of the pesto balanced out the earthy carrots and salty feta.

I'm in charge of apps for our family's Easter dinner this year so I think I'll be making these again!  I hope you all enjoy the long weekend and have a happy Easter if you're celebrating it!

Roasted Carrot Crostini with Lemon Dill Pesto and Feta - an appetizer with bright Spring flavors that's perfect for Easter or anytime!

Roasted Carrot Crostini with Lemon Dill Pesto & Feta

Serves 10-15


For the carrots:
1-1/2 lbs carrots, peeled and chopped into small, about ¼-½” pieces
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the lemon dill pesto:
1-1/2 cups packed fresh dill
1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1/4 to 1/3 cup crumbled feta
1 large baguette, sliced diagonally into thin slices (I used a whole wheat ciabatta loaf)


Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss carrots with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and spread on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Roast in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, tossing halfway through.

Meanwhile, prepare dill pesto.  Place all ingredients (dill, parsley, garlic, walnuts, lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper) in the bowl of a food processor (I used the smaller bowl) and process until the pesto is as smooth as you can get it.  Taste and adjust any seasoning or amounts to your liking if necessary.

When carrots are done, leave oven on, and spray baguette slices with cooking spray.  Set on baking sheet and let toast in oven for about 3-5 minutes, until toasted.

Prepare crostini by spreading pesto on baguette slices, top with crumbled feta and roasted carrots, and garnish with chopped parsley if desired.  Serve while carrots are still warm.

Ingredient Index

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...