December 2, 2016

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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I bet you didn’t know this. Ready?

Yakisoba is a classic Japanese street food made by stir-frying boiled ramen noodles, vegetables and meat or seafood with a sweet and savory sauce.

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It’s an easy and super delish meal that’s made in minutes. Can you really ask for anything more? No.

The most time consuming part entails the prep of your veggies. Especially when you live in a house that has cupboards and drawers which “eat” your kitchen gadgets. What am I talking about? I’ll tell you.

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It never fails, every single time either Steve or I go to look for a pot, pan, colander, measuring cup, spoon or grater, it disappears. That’s not to say I’m not organized, because I totally am. We open up the cupboard and look for specific tools, such as a box grater, and it is nowhere to be found. Here’s what happens next:

1) I ask Steve if he knows where the item is.
2) He answers by saying it should be “in there”.
3) I ask, where is “in there”?
4) He answers by saying, “you know where in there is”.
5) I look “in there” and it’s “nowhere”.
6) He gets up from the couch and puts one of his Sci Fi, screaming ladies, blood spurting movies on PAUSE.
7) We now have the flashlight out (which is running out of batteries from looking for things “in there”).
8) He sticks the flashlight and half of his body IN THERE.
9) He then starts moving things around and shuffling dishes and pots and pans to find the item. (insert loud crashing sounds here→)
10) He then starts removing items from “in there” briskly and placing them on the floor (which makes me crazy because the floor is the floor and even though it’s fairly clean I’m pretty sure I will need to rewash them before using. Ugh)
11) At this point, I bet you’re wondering if we found the damn grater. Well….no. Moving on to point 12 now.
12) Steve now removes half his body from “in there” and decides that he needs to leave the area but not until he reorganizes the entire cupboard by placing all the items on the floor back on the shelves. Oh and one more thing. He calmly states that the shelf inside the cupboard will collapse one day from the weight of all the cookware “in there”. (FYI, I’ve heard this story a million times but he has yet to either secure the shelf or come up with a solution other than a full kitchen renovation……..thanks Steve……..thanks)
13) I’m now holding the flashlight with half my body “in there”.
14) And lo and behold, I’m faced with the back end of the grater which was thrown in haphazardly at the bottom of the cupboard.
15) Next, I yell – FOUND IT STEVE!
16) He then says where?

and I say……….”IN THERE”.

Spicy Chicken Yakisoba Noodles
-½ medium sweet onion, diced (I use a vidalia)
-2 medium carrots, shredded
-½ head of broccoli, separated in to small florets
-1 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely diced
-1 cup chicken breast, cooked (I used bbq chicken but you can sub in any meat or even cooked shrimp)
-2 tablespoons avocado oil (or olive, vegetable etc.)
-2 packages ramen noodles (don’t use the seasoning packs, just the noodles)
-1 teaspoon spicy avocado or sesame oil
-¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
-¼ cup worcestershire sauce
-2 tablespoons ketchup
-1 tablespoon chili sauce
-1 tablespoon white or brown sugar
*you can use any combination of Chinese greens, bean sprouts or vegetables for this stir fry

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1) Before you start, you are going to prepare the vegetables and sauce for stir frying. (this saves you from scrambling around when it’s GO time)
2) Peel the ginger and grate it with the fine side of box or cheese grater.
3) Peel and grate the carrots with the large holed side of a box grater.
4) Dice the onion and cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces.
5) Begin boiling a medium pot full of water for the noodles.
6) In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, ketchup, chili sauce and sugar.
7) Stir until the ketchup and sugar are dissolved.
8) Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the grated ginger, saute for about 30 seconds to one minute (don’t let it burn like I did, ya…I had to start over again).
9) Add all of the vegetables. Stir and cook until wilted (about 5-10 minutes).
10) Once the water boils, add the noodles and cook just until tender (2-3 minutes). Drain, return to the pot (with the heat turned off) and toss with the spicy avocado or sesame oil to keep from sticking.
11) Pour the sauce into the wok or skillet with the chicken and vegetables with the heat still on medium high. Add the noodles, stir to coat everything in the sauce, and heat through (about 2 minutes). Serve hot.

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See you next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating
simplybeautifuleating.com

xx, Debi
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January 15, 2016

Spicy Peanut Noodle Tacos

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You know what I’ve discovered over the past year? You can really use just about any leafy vessel to house a taco filling. My intent with this recipe was to just shred red cabbage and use it as an ingredient but when I started to peel back the outer leaves of this fuchsia coloured beauty I said “hey why not use this as the serving dish”???

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Now really? Isn’t this stunners?

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The best part of using these leaves is that they are sturdy. A lettuce leaf usually tears and falls apart when you pick it up. The red cabbage has some girth so no worries if you want to lift, roll and stuff it in your face.

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The only drawback about using THIS MUCH cabbage in a dish is that….well….it has explosive properties when trying to digest this. I’m not kidding….I had to live through it the other night and what I witnessed was this…..my husband Steve suddenly became a “one man show”.

I’m going to attach a warning label right here → CONSUME AT YOUR OWN RISK – MAY CAUSE EXTREME GAS. FOR LESS EFFECT JUST USE THE CABBAGE LEAF AS TABLEWARE.

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As far as these peanuty noodles go….they were absolutely delish. I served them warm but this really is considered to be a cold noodle salad. It’s great for company, a main dish or a side dish – or in my case a “side show”.

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And let’s give a hand to Steve for the great job on demonstrating how to hold noodles up high with slippery chopsticks. It only took about 15 takes before I was happy with the angle. Check out all the pictures below↓

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See what I mean? Tall noodles, short noodles, fat noodles, some noodles, more noodles….you really need to use your noodle here.

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Hang on…..one last story before I go. See that parsley? So pretty. So fresh. So GREEN! I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It was growing in our garden all summer long, waaaaaaaaaaay into the fall and up until last week it was still going strong because of the mild weather we’ve been enjoying in Canada. When I looked outside the other day, the entire garden was covered in snow. Ugh + Ugh.  I asked Steve if there was a chance that the parsley was still viable. He said I will NEVER find any out there. Challenge accepted. I said, “hmmmm…let me see”. I donned my snow boots, winter coat and sunglasses, pulled up my hood and went outside trudging through the snow. Geez it’s FREEZING. Lo and behold I managed to retrieve ONE sprig of parsley. Yes. ONE. The rest was frozen solid. Um Steve….Never say never.

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Spicy Peanut Noodle Tacos

-Kosher salt
-½ package, 8 oz or 250 grams dry chow mein noodles (cooked, rinsed and drained)
-1 package broccoli slaw (or you can julienne your own veggies – 1 cup carrots, 1 cup broccoli and one cup shredded cabbage)
-1 cup shredded red cabbage
-Peanut Dressing
-1 cup vegetable oil
-¼ cup rice wine vinegar
-⅓ cup soy sauce
-3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
-1 tablespoon honey
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
-1 tablespoon sweet thai chili sauce
-½ cup smooth peanut butter
-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
½ cup crushed honey roasted peanuts + extra for garnish
-Additional red cabbage leaves to serve as tacos

1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the chow mein noodles and cook according to package directions (about 3 – 5 minutes). Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.
2) For the dressing, whisk together the vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, thai chili sauce and peanut butter in a medium bowl.
3) Combine the chow mein noodles and vegetables in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the spaghetti mixture. Add the peanuts and the parsley and toss together. Garnish with additional peanuts and serve in red cabbage leaves if desired.

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See ya next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating
simplybeautifuleating.com

xx, Debi
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January 14, 2016

A special kind of sixty

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There are no words to describe how I feel about my Aunt Marissa. Growing up she was like a second mother to me. We would go out on special dates together with my younger cousins, her two daughters, for Lime Rickeys and Chuckie Cheese. When she would drop me back off at home, I would cry. Cry because I loved being with her and never wanted to leave. It’s pretty incredible having a person you love this much in your life.

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With that said, when my Aunti Marrisa (who looks 35) turned sixty, I told my cousin that I wanted to do everything in my power to help.

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Luckily, my super hero powers include party planning.

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My sister and I spent some time brainstorming with our cousin Bailey. Aunti Marissa will be forever young, loves her family and has a boho style. We envisioned wild flowers, bubbly cocktails and metallic gold details.

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We decided on brunch for the party. Aunti Marissa loves good coffee, bagels and cake. So we got it all.

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We loved how the table runner turned out for our Mom’s 70th birthday last year, so we went with the same type of table design, but with seasonal greenery and flowers. Since the party was just after Thanksgiving there was a lot of fern, pine and wild berries happening. It was beautiful.

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Lunch was made by my cousin Bailey and yours truly. We stayed up into the wee hours the day before the party making chopped egg salad, crudite, mini quiche, deviled eggs, maple bacon and a fruit platter.

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Of course we set a mimosa bar with a variety of juices and fruit to garnish. And we set a large pot of coffee up in the kitchen.

The final detail was in the photos. Aunti Marissa cherishes her memories and keeps everything! We pulled out some of our favorite shots with her family and best friends, all who were at the party, and tied these to the bottom of our balloon strings.

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Then there was the cake…

For some reason when cake came to my mind for this party, all I could think about was caramel. I designed this cake with Truffle Toronto with a salted caramel flavor on the inside. It was out.of.this.world. Everyone at the party was raving!

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Needless to say, Aunti Marissa was speechless and more then touched by this bash. We love you Marissa. And wish you nothing but happiness for the next 60 years.

Thank you to the amazing Toronto talents who helped us put this all together:
Flowers: Sweet Woodruff
Cake: Truffle Toronto
Balloons: Balloon Queen
Photography: Sandra Brzezinski

xx, Seri
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August 14, 2015

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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Leave it to me to post a “meatless Monday” recipe on a Tuesday. I’m sorry but those s’mores consumed my life the other day and there was no room for this faux pasta dish on the blog docket.

Now tell me something? Have you ever?

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This was probably one of the most beautiful plates I’ve seen of just plain ol’ veggies in a long time. One of the main reasons I made this was to use up some of the recent garden haul from our backyard. My husband’s zucchini, bell pepper and tomato crops are at full picking force right now.

It truly is my favorite time of the year.

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The tastes. The colors. Oh my.

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Here’s a little secret. This may be a meatless dish but it doesn’t mean I didn’t sneak in a little side of bbq’d chicken for protein. Cluck cluck.

If you’re one that wants a strictly vegetarian only dish, just do it and add in some legumes – which I can’t stand. Did I tell you I have an aversion to beans? Specifically LIMA. Don’t even try to fool me by disguising them on my plate. I will hunt them down one by one, spear them and throw them onto your plate.

Of course there’s a story behind the creation of this dish. I really wanted to “spiralize” these veggies. So off I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond to buy another gadget for my kitchen. I stood in the spiralizer aisle for 39 minutes staring at the array of SPIRAL TOOLS.

After speaking to a few strangers about other useless gadgets, I settled on a handheld vegetable spiral thingy that was green and looked like a dual ended pencil sharpener. I paid $19.99 less my 20% off coupon and quickly headed home to “curl” my vegetables. I was actually quite excited about what the end result would be after all the spiralling.

SO.

Here’s what happened. I stuck a zucchini into this green pencil sharpener and it didn’t do what it promised to do and that was TO SPIRAL the stupid vegetable.

THEN.

I tried a carrot.

THEN.

I packed up the green spiralizer that didn’t spiral and took out my mandolin.

THEN.

My mandolin wasn’t cooperating and my zucchini fell on the floor.

THEN.

I had laughing fit to the point of crying ….you know …when you laugh so hard you start to cry for no apparent reason except for the fact that you’re nuts and alone in the kitchen with a zucchini on the floor and a slippery mandolin? Ya. That’s what happened.

THEN.

I had to settle for julienne instead of curly cues.

The end result tasted the same and I’m thrilled that I will be getting my $19.99 less the 20% coupon back.

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Meatless Monday Faux Pasta

1 large zucchini or 2 small ones, julienned
1 bell pepper, julienned
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
2 tbls olive oil
any type of freshly grated cheese if desired
1 recipe fresh garden tomato sauce
2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
3/4 large vidalia onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, cook tomatoes and basil over medium-low heat until tomatoes are soft.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent.
Add onion mixture to tomato mixture then sprinkle in the salt and pepper.
Let simmer on low heat for 2 hours or until thick.
Keep stirring on the 1/2 hour to make sure it isn’t scorching.
I like to puree the sauce afterwards with a handheld blender but it’s also nice with the texture of the tomatoes left in.
Place vegetables in a large skillet with 2 tbls olive oil and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Just until cooked through but not mushy. Serve with fresh tomato sauce and freshly grated cheese if desired. Serves 2.

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See ya next week!

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@simplybeautifuleating
simplybeautifuleating.com

xx, Debi
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August 10, 2015

Mandy’s Meals & More

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Sometimes you just need something classic. There’s nothing more traditional than a good ol’ caprese. I needed a dish that would carry us through the week so I made a caprese pasta salad, beautifully fragrant with seasonal basil. Mmmmmm basil.
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Perfect for the whole family, whether it’s brunch, dinner or even a quick snack. The best part is, it gets tastier as the days go by!
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Ingredients
Package Tricoloured fusilli (or any shaped pasta)
Pint grape tomatoes
Container fresh mozzarella balls, or 2 large mozzarella balls cut into small quarters
1 cup fresh basil
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
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Directions
Cook pasta according to package, let cool
Meanwhile, rip basil into smaller pieces to release that delicious scent
Quarter mozzarella if necessary
Cut tomatoes in half, combine first four ingredients in large bowl.
Whisk olive oil, balsamic and salt/pepper in small bowl. Cover pasta mixture with
dressing.
Fold all ingredients to disperse dressing evenly.
Serve or refrigerate
Enjoy!
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xx, Seri
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