January 15, 2016

Spicy Peanut Noodle Tacos

Photo 2016-01-01, 4 28 47 PM

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”???

Photo 2016-01-01, 4 15 18 PM

Now really? Isn’t this stunners?

Photo 2016-01-01, 4 22 04 PM

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.

Photo 2016-01-01, 4 14 35 PM

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”.


Photo 2016-01-01, 4 15 37 PM

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”.

Photo 2016-01-01, 4 03 14 PM

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↓

Photo 2016-01-01, 4 20 00 PM

Photo 2016-01-01, 4 20 30 PM

Photo 2016-01-01, 4 21 19 PM

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

Photo 2016-01-01, 4 15 22 PM

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.

Photo 2016-01-01, 4 14 46 PM

Photo 2016-01-01, 4 30 13 PM

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.

Photo 2016-01-01, 4 29 16 PM

Photo 2016-01-01, 4 27 20 PM

See ya next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating

xx, Debi
Post your comment

January 14, 2016

A special kind of sixty


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.




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.


Luckily, my super hero powers include party planning.


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.


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


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.





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.





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.


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!




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
Post your comment

August 14, 2015

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating


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?


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.


The tastes. The colors. Oh my.


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.


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.


I tried a carrot.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


See ya next week!



xx, Debi
Post your comment

August 10, 2015

Mandy’s Meals & More

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.
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!
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
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
Fold all ingredients to disperse dressing evenly.
Serve or refrigerate

xx, Seri
Post your comment

June 12, 2015

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

Most of you might think that all this cooking and photography stuff is my full-time job. Well, it’s not. I have been blogging for just over a year and showcasing my pics @thegardenofeatin on instagram. My real job is in the public sector. I work for one of the most “honest politicians” in the universe and his name is Alan. Our team looks after one of the largest constituencies in the municipality. After working together for the past 11 years we have really become good friends. Alan and his wife Francine have traveled to so many wonderful spots in the world. One in particular was Tuscany, Italy. A dream of mine to visit.
He is a wine connoisseur while I’m…… well…..a juice and water kinda gal. Yep, that’s right. It drives him insane that I only like wine with as much sugar as grape juice. We may have different tastes in booze but one thing we both have in common is our love of fabulous food. How cute are those “eat local” plates above? That’s another thing about this boss of mine – he is very much an advocate of supporting local farmers and buying organic produce.Alan14
For his birthday this year, his family gave him a marcato pasta maker. Apparently, he has always wanted one. When he mentioned that he received this as a gift I was super excited to see what he could do with this gizmo. One Sunday, I found him aimlessly walking through a local bulk food store seeking out just the right blends of flour for his new adventure in pasta making. The next day, he came into the office and told me that he made one of the best meals he has ever had in his life. It consisted of his homemade PASTA.Alan11
Ding, Ding! This was a perfect opportunity to book a photo shoot to watch my boss roll in dough. We scheduled a date, his wife invited us to stay for dinner and this is what transpired…..

But before I go on, I must tell you that Francine is both an amazing cook and entertainer. She has one of the most awesome collections of dishes, serving pieces, knicks, knacks and stacks of chachkas/stuff that I’ve ever seen. One line in particular that she is partial to is MacKenzie-Childs. Check out all the checkers and florals! I LOVE!Alan3Alan20
The recipe that Alan used for his fresh pasta is a classic Jamie Oliver one which seemed very easy peasy to me. His wife threw together all the sides and fixins. Menu: Bruschetta, Guacamole, Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella and tomato salad, asparagus (which were as tall as trees!) She also made a simple fresh tomato sauce which was light and spiced to perfection. I was elected to sit on the dessert committee and ended up bringing two desserts. I’m saving the details of my dessert disaster (and success)for the next blog. Stay tuned. It’s a doozie.Alan21Alan6Alan5Alan7Alan4Alan19Alan9
This is not a quick process but if you’re a pasta aficionado and want to give this a whirl, it’s a heck of a lot of fun. My boss seemed to be enjoying this so much I have a fear of him dumping his political hat and opening up his own pasta bar. I think it may be his next career because clearly this guy is one smart noodle.

Ready to get our pasta on? Let’s go.
Just as a side-note….I have never seen anyone happier with a plate of pasta….have you? Bon Appetito!Alan 1Alan22
Debi @thegardenofeatin
Simply Beautiful Eating

xx, Seri
Post your comment