June 19, 2017

Chef Luke makes hummus & pita chips

As the school year is winding down, after school activities are also coming to an end. So the boys have had a lot of free time lately. Since Tuesdays opened up for Gavin he’s been asking to cook with Luke!

Luke loves hummus and we’ve been talking about making it so there you have it. We found the easiest recipe on our friend’s site, Weelicious. We added baked pita chips into the mix so the boys would have something good to dip when the hummus was ready!

The best part of this recipe? It’s healthy. Ugh. I love when that happens!

We set out a plate of veggies for the boys to eat while they were cooking (because they are always hungry) and they also dipped these into their hummus.

Want to see how it all went down? Watch it here.

xx, Seri
0 comments
Post your comment

*Required

May 19, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

Now I know I’ve completely lost my mind and I’m sure you wanna know why.

I’ve been searching through archived photos of my food photography for the past few months, just came across these and guess what? I don’t even remember when I shot them. It was somewhere between 2014 and 2017. That’s all I know. The other thing I’m pretty certain about is this…..

These muffins were the bomb.

To narrow down the timeline, it’s clear that these were made during blueberry season (well duh, there’s a load of them in the recipe ,so this wasn’t something that I needed the FBI to figure out).

Anyhoo, you know how I feel about blueberries. They are plump jewels of happiness that make everything taste better. Especially when they burst out of a muffin and into your mouth.

Wait.

How about these roses? My husband is always a sucker for good foliage. He makes his way down to the flower markets whenever there is an occasion, like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, my birthday or a just-because-I-love-you-day.

Let me tell you what he did for Mother’s Day.

Of course, he surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of roses, similar to the ones in these photos.

Then, he gave me a really cute card with an enclosed paper (hand made) puzzle. Yes, he made the puzzle out of letters that were my “clues” to my gift.

I had 10 minutes to piece together these letters, otherwise Steve informed me that the gift was NULL and VOID.

No pressure, right?

OMG, I suck at puzzles. I could never win Survivor. Plus I’m really bad in math, which has nothing to do with puzzles, but I just thought I would let you know that useless piece of information.

Oh, and we were in the car on our way to brunch when I opened my card. Steve set his iPhone timer for 10 minutes and yelled “GO!!!”

I was fiddling around with the stupid paper pieces for exactly 7 minutes, when he realized that he may have spelled the word wrong. Not surprising, since his spelling is comparable to my math skills. It’s a good thing we can assist each other with daily simple tasks because, really?

So now we are stopped at a red light, he grabs one of the squares of paper and scribbles over the letter making the correction.

I have 3 minutes left and I’m starting to shvitz (sweat).

I figured it out with a minute to spare and guessed it!

You won’t believe this one. He still spelled it wrong.

These where my letters:

L

O

S

V

E

G

A

S

How do you really spell it? Las Vegas.

Do I gamble? No. I hate losing money.

Do I need to go to Las Vegas now, with two weddings coming up this summer? No.

Can I try spelling something else with those letters and still get a gift? All I could figure out was LOVES GAS so maybe a gift certificate to ESSO might be another option. Okay Steve?

Here’s the moral of the story. No matter how you spell it, these Blueberry Oat Chia muffins are a sure bet.

BLUEBERRY OAT CHIA MUFFINS

– 2 extra large eggs
– ½ cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
– 2 medium size, ripe bananas, mashed
– ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 tsp baking soda
– ½ tsp ground cinnamon
– ¼ cup cup chia seeds
– ¾ cup quick oats
– 1 cup + 2 tbsp white whole wheat flour (or a mix of all purpose and whole wheat is fine too)
– 1½ cups cups fresh blueberries

1) Preheat your oven to 350F and prepare a 12 cup muffin pan by spraying with non stick cooking spray or lining them with paper liners. Set aside.
2) In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Whisk in the Greek yogurt, bananas,sugar, vanilla, baking soda, cinnamon, chia seeds and oats mixing until smooth.
3) Add in the flour and gently stir it in until just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX.
4) Toss the blueberries in 1 tablespoon of flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins, then fold them into the batter.
5) Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups, using an ice cream scoop. Fill them almost to the top. Sprinkle with additional oats if desired.
6) Bake for 20 -­ 22 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins begin to turn golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
7) Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. These will keep well in an airtight container for up to 5 days or they freeze well for up to 3 months.

See you next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating

xx, Debi
Post your comment

*Required

May 12, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

Well, guess what?

I still don’t have a kitchen.

So what if it’s been almost 4 months? So what if I haven’t picked up my camera? So what if I forgot how to think, write or edit? So what if there are swatches of paint, slabs of stone, and visions of couches dancing through my head. SO WHAT!!

I apologize if I sound cranky today. That’s because I AM. Forgive me.

DEEEEEEEEEEEP BREATH.

Okay, so there is a space where the kitchen is going to be but I don’t have any cupboards, sink or a place where I can actually COOK and BAKE. What this means is this, I have to come up with ways to prepare meals that are effortless and don’t require a stove or oven.

You wanna know something? I think I can relate to the pioneers. They leaned towards making dishes using their survival skills and cooking over wood fire burning stoves. Tempted to do so in my living room because, frankly, it’s been too cold outside to cook on the barbecue.

It’s May for Godsakes. Come on.

Even though it’s been months of prepping food in my bathroom, I haven’t succumbed to grabbing a rifle and hunting squirrel (but I’ve been tempted to).

I’ve rarely read that pioneers included kale in their recipes, most likely because KALE is the new possum in present day culinary terms. Pioneers were basically good at foraging through the forest gathering herbs, roots and berries. The rest of  their food came from their fields, gardens and farmyards.

Last weekend, I looked outside my window and saw mushrooms growing out of the grass. They looked scrumptious, and the thought of stir frying those in a skillet on my hotplate swirled through my head. Before I attempted to forage, sauté and most likely die from mushroom poisoning, I decided to leave them for the dang “raccoon pioneers” who seem to be destroying my lawn lately. Besides, I need to be around to see the new kitchen if it ever happens.

Since the start of this renovation, I have considered Steve and I to be very imaginative with our meals. Not exactly pioneers, but close enough.

For instance, we had our new staircase installed last week. When I came home from work, the installer told he required us to stay upstairs for at least 2 hours so that the varnish had a chance to dry. That meant that the three of us were sequestered to the upper level (I’m including Tiffany the kitty in this head count, because in my opinion, she is human).

So?

What do you do when you have time on your hands, hungry for dinner and trapped upstairs?

Chop chop.

Not only did I end up with a beautiful salad here, I also added another recipe to my ever growing list of things I can make without major appliances.

One more thing before I go (which is useless information), but important to know about my past. When I was 16, I was hired part-time in a store downtown, situated in a very large shopping mall. If you are from Toronto, I’m talking about the Eaton Centre. The store sold dresses that were very reminiscent of the ones that pioneer women used to wear. When I went for the first interview, I was told that all sales staff were required to purchase and wear these dresses during work hours (in order to give the customers a visual on how pretty these garments were) or how idiotic we looked in them – clearly there was a market for these fugly frocks.

On day ONE I quit.

Reason why?

Do I look like the pioneer type to you?

RAINBOW CRUNCH SUPER SALAD WITH TANGERINE DRESSING

– 1 bunch kale, thick stems removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces
– 4 cups shredded red cabbage
– 6 tangerines, peel, segment and dice 3 and juice the remaining 3 for the dressing
– 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
– 2 medium bell peppers, cored, seeded and diced (I used orange and yellow)
– 2 medium carrots, julienned
– 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
– ⅓ cup sunflower seeds
– ⅓ cup pepitas
– ⅓ cup sliced skinless almonds
– ⅓ cup fresh blueberries
– 1 avocado, sliced
– ⅓ cup crumble feta cheese, optional for garnish

1) Place the kale, cabbage, tangerines, onion, bell peppers and carrots in a large salad bowl. Mix well with salad tongs. Top with the chickpeas, sunflower seeds, pepitas, almonds, blueberries and slice avocado. Sprinkle with feta, if desired.
2) Make your dressing (see recipe below).
3) Pour the dressing over the salad. Mix with tongs until well combined. Serve.
4) Good news is, you can keep this refrigerated, covered, for 2-3 days.

TANGERINE DRESSING

– ¼ cup freshly squeezed tangerine juice
– ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
– ¼ cup olive oil
– 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
– 2 tablespoons honey, maple syrup or agave
– ½ teaspoon kosher salt
– ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1) Make the dressing. In a small bowl, combine the tangerine juice, vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey salt, and pepper. Mix with a whisk until well combined or you can whip this up in a blender.

See you next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating

xx, Debi
Post your comment

*Required

April 7, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend With Simply Beautiful Eating

I just wanted to share a little secret with you. I completely forgot about this recipe and the accompanying photos. Most likely because I’m living in renovation (hell) disarray and it’s been a messy, long and arduous process. As most of you know, I’m “kitchenless”, which means I have no stove, oven or full size sink.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking. She’s suffering  from the dreaded “Woe Is Me Effect”. Well, you’re right. Working from an upstairs bathroom isn’t my idea of fun. Every time I look to my left while preparing our salad, I see a TOILET. I can’t seem to justify preparing a meal in a room with a commode. I just can’t.

Anyhoo. You need a stovetop and an oven to make this recipe. Don’t even try to make this on a hot plate because it will end up being an omelette and not a frittata.

What’s the difference? I’ll tell you.

Frittatas are cooked in a cast iron pan or oven-safe skillet because they are started on the stovetop and then finished in the oven. And, unlike omelets, frittata fillings are mixed in with the eggs in the pan rather than folded in the center.

Why is this great? Because I seriously SUCK at making omelettes. No matter how slippery slidey the pan is, mine always seem to fall apart and break upon flipping or folding. Yes, I know there are tricks of the trade, but being an “omelette chef” is not in the cards for me. It’s just NOT.

These tomatoes were actually from our summer crop in the garden. That’s the clue on how old these photos are because right now our garden is in spring thaw mode. Nonetheless,  tomatoes are readily available at the market year round, so you needn’t worry about growing your own, unless you happen to have a hothouse in your backyard.

The other thing I love about this recipe is that it reminds me of a party. Here’s what you need to do right now. Grab your friends, partner, husband or wife and dance around the room saying FRITTATA several times. I’m going to do that later tonight. Perhaps it will put me in a better mood when I’m slinging salad in the washroom. Cha cha cha.

GREEK ROASTED TOMATO FRITTATA

– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– ½ cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
– 1 cup baby spinach
– 3 – 4 large eggs
– ½ teaspoon kosher salt
– ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
– 1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled
– ½ cup chopped red or yellow peppers
– 2 tablespoons chopped chives
– 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
– 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1) Preheat the oven to 350F.
2) Add the olive oil to the tomatoes and place on a cookie sheet to roast for 10 -15 minutes, or until tomatoes burst open and are nicely caramelized.
3) In the meantime, whisk the eggs in a bowl with a fork. Add the feta, spinach, red pepper, chives and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4) Heat an 8 or 9 inch cast iron pan on your stovetop and place the roasted tomatoes in, then pour the egg mixture on top of the tomatoes and give everything a good stir, don’t overcook – the frittata will set in the oven.
5) Place the pan in the oven for 15-20 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of your frittata. Simply stick a sharp knife into the middle to test if it has cooked through. Serve warm with a sprinkle of fresh parsley, dill and additional feta cheese.

xx, Debi
Post your comment

*Required

March 31, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend With Simply Beautiful Eating

Is it Amandine or Almondine? Let me explain.

Amandine is a culinary term demonstrating a garnish of almonds. Dishes that include an “amandine” are usually cooked with butter and seasonings, then sprinkled with whole or flaked, toasted almonds.

Just to clarify, the term is often spelled almondine in US or Canadian cookbooks. No matter how you say it, it basically means sopped in butter and sprinkled with almonds which is absolutely fine by me.

As you may or may not know, my husband Steve is the C.S.O. of the household. (Chief Shopping Officer). He does the majority of the grocery and produce shopping on the weekends.

Although he is usually quite willing and cheerful about the excursion, here are some things that make him cranky during the experience.

1) Locating a product on the list – This is right about the time I get the phone call. Steve is wandering around in circles looking for the “said” item on MY LIST. I’m patiently guiding him through the store to exactly where it should be located. He arrives at the GPS point and tells me that “it’s not on the shelf”. To which I answer “it has to be, I saw it there last week”. To which he replies “it’s not here”. To which I reply “ask someone to look in the back for it”. TO WHICH he REPLIES “I asked and they said it’s discontinued”.
2) The “express lanes” – used for those who have 8 items or less or in most cases, those who cannot count.
3) The 15 other checkout lanes – with only two open and 10 deep with people and their carts preparing for an apocalypse.
4) The “Baryshnikov” shopping cart – you know what I’m talking about. The cart with an errant front wheel that pirouettes like a ballet dancer on crack.
5) A.R.R.S. – Aisle Road Rage Syndrome – A disease that is associated with the urge of knocking aside an AISLE BLOCKER. Those that feel they can cordon off an entire aisle for the purpose of aimlessly reading nutritional information on product labels.
6) The Super Market Social – If you were never invited to this V.I.P. event, ask Steve to get you IN. He always runs into SOMEONE who he knows while he’s there who says “oh hey, it’s so great to see you” and 40 minutes later cause another condition called M.F.Y.S. – Melting Frozen Yogurt Syndrome.
7) Items on SPECIAL – Each week we receive a local newspaper with “flyers”. I am not allowed to TOUCH his flyers until he has examined each and every one of them. He then makes a list of crap on SALE and informs me that IF I really want paper towels for $3.99 a six pack, I better get them myself because he’s not running to more than one store on the weekend. Nine times out of ten I forget to go and he reminds me that I have MISSED out on something big, something REALLY big.
8) The haul – There is always a mystery of how the final bill totals $263.47 worth of groceries and we end up going out for dinner because there is nothing to eat.
9) The checkout lady – who always asks, “did you find everything you need”? To which my husband always replies, “not according to my wife”.
10) Dislocated Shoulder Syndrome – my husband likes to demonstrate that it is humanly possible to carry ALL the groceries into the house in ONE fell swoop. This sometimes requires balancing items on his head, in his teeth and kicking the door open with his foot. It also results in a week long of belly aching because inevitably his shoulders have succumbed to falling out of their sockets from the shear weight of the 16 bags and laundry detergent he has transported from the car into the house in ONE trip.
11) Unpacking the groceries – This is the stage I offer my assistance and am denied because “I don’t know how to FIT them into a fridge that’s big enough to house food for 18 people. Apparently the technique of organizing produce is exactly the same as stacking the dishwasher – both of which I suck at.
12) The grocery list – Steve asks me to text him additional items that I would most likely NEED to use in a photo shoot and are imperative to include in a recipe. Please note the word IMPERATIVE.  While unpacking the groceries I will ask “where’s the Greek yogurt’? To which he replies “was it on the list”? To which I reply “yes, check the text I sent you”. To which he replies “OH”. “I guess I didn’t SCROLL down far enough”.
13) The Green Beans – my husband always purchases one or two vegetables that sit in the crisper for what seems like an eternity until he says “we really need to make those before they go bad”.

THIS WAS ONE OF THESE TIMES ↓

So……

Here you have it.  Green Beans Almondine….Amandine……oh whatever….beans with butter and nuts.

Green Beans Almondine

– 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
– 3 tablespoons butter
– ⅓ cup sliced or slivered almonds
– 1 teaspoon lemon juice
– Season with sea salt if desired and a few grinds of fresh black pepper, to taste
– Additional lemon wedges for garnish

1) Cook green beans in a small amount of salted water until tender but still firm.
2) Drain and immediately immerse in a large bowl of ice water to blanch. This will help the beans remain beautifully bright green.
3) Heat a large skillet over a medium heat and add the almonds. Toast them by stirring constantly for about 30 seconds. You want them light brown but not burnt. DO NOT WALK AWAY…I’m serious here because I did and ended up with cremated almonds.
4) Add the butter and the lemon juice to the pan and mix with almonds. Add the beans and sauté for one to two minutes, or until all of the beans are coated.
5) Season to taste with sea salt and pepper and serve warm.

See you next week!

debi
@simplybeautifuleating
Simply Beautiful Eating

xx, Debi
0 comments
Post your comment

*Required