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
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March 17, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend With Simply Beautiful Eating

Green isn’t limited to shamrocks and leprechauns. At this epic spread, it’s the inspiration for a healthy, yet hearty lunch that offers a spread of crudités with green goddess dip, mini fruit-topped pavlovas, and iced green tea.

Here’s what comes to mind when I think about St. Patrick’s Day: loads of green food, rainbows, pots of gold, shamrocks and of course, leprechauns. Even if you’re not Irish, you can create, style, cook, bake and host a gorgeous and elegant St. Patrick’s Day party!

This table offers a lush meets luxe dining experience. Think green and leafy intertwined with white and gold accents for your table settings. In keeping with the traditions of this theme, I used all of Martha’s recipes to blend together a wonderful, healthy lunch for family and friends.

One of the most eye-catching details at this table? The four-leaf clover napkins! Since this holiday is always fun and festive, I wanted to try my hand at napkin-folding. The only problem I have with this type of challenge is following instructions. This was a perfect job for my husband to tackle. (I bet you didn’t know that he is an expert napkin folder. Now you do!) He has so much more patience when it comes to tasks like this, it’s wonderful. Here’s how!

One thing I loved doing for an anniversary party I hosted recently, was a DIY garland for the table runner. It was super easy, reasonably priced, and packed a punch as a focal point for a simply beautiful centerpiece. For this garland, I included frisée (pronounced “free-ZAY”), which is used to refer to a variety of endive with curly, pale green or yellow-ish leaves. I created the garland with an edible factor, which is also appealing to the eye.

Let’s get back to the food. I chose these recipes carefully, based on three ingredient colors: green, white, and a pop of gold. For a quick appetizer, I created a wonderful crudité platter with green goddess dip.

My main course dishes were super healthy, green, and packed with protein. A warm quinoa and chicken salad, baby bok choy with ginger and garlic plus a refreshing salad with buttermilk dressing.

Don’t forget a signature mocktail. I served a cool and refreshing iced green tea with cucumber, which paired perfectly with the meal.

Lastly, dessert was easy: mini pavlovas garnished with fruit and a fresh herb that kept the St. Patrick’s day theme going — green grapes, kiwi, and mint.

Wishing you a pot of gold and all the joy your heart can hold.

Here are some quick tips for hosting this party:

Get festive with your food, think green and clean.

Showcase your creativity by cutting foods into pretty themed shapes. For example, a green pepper sliced width-wise looks exactly like a shamrock or four-leaf clover.

Give your tablescape a focal point, like the DIY garland.

Incorporate traditional with a modern twist: a four-leaf clover napkin, gold drinking straws, confetti and a menu filled with color themed food.

Include a signature “green” drink.

Have fun!

Credits
Author/Photographer/Stylist: Debi Traub | @simplybeautifuleating created exclusively for

Martha Stewart Living

Party props: Little Miss Party

Tableware, Props: Pier 1 Imports

Florals: Irene’s Floral

Tableware, Props: HomeSense (U.S. readers can shop similar product at HomeGoods)

View all recipes by clicking on the pictures above

xx, Debi
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October 13, 2016

Mandy’s Meals & More

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The December Holidays are a big deal around here at Little Miss Party. We love any excuse to get the whole family together. Making healthy food that the kids will eat is always a challenge. This seasonal salad has crispy, flavorful chicken tenders and sweet cranberry dressing. Chicken fingers in a salad? That should seal the deal. Happy kids, happy parents. Enjoy the holidays, xx  

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Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 16 Minutes

Serves 2 as a Main/4 as an Appetizer

Winter Spinach Salad

3/4 cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh cranberries
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
Pinch Salt & Pepper to taste
1 can mandarin oranges, drained or 2 fresh mandarins peeled & segmented
1 pound spinach

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Arrange almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in oven for 5 minutes, or until nuts begin to brown. Watch carefully to avoid burning
In a food processor, combine the vinegar, oil, cranberries, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.
In a salad bowl, toss the almonds, mandarin and spinach with the vinaigrette
Note: salad dressing would make a beautiful dip for the tenders if you prefer not to mix! 

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Chex Rosemary Dijon Chicken Tenders

3 cups Rice Chex™ cereal, crushed
2 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 lb boneless skinless chicken tenders

Preheat oven to 400F on cover with parchment paper
Meanwhile, crush cereal in zip top bag using a rolling pin and chop rosemary
Mix crushed Chex™, rosemary and garlic powder in bowl
Cover tenders with dijon on both sides
Place each tender in Chex™ mixture covering each side, pressing mixture into mustard
Bake 8 minutes on one side, flip tenders over and bake for another 8 minutes

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Looking for more delicious, Chex-inspired DIY recipes? Head on over to Chex.com for plenty of simple and healthy ideas!

xx, Seri
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September 30, 2016

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

I have to be honest. The amount of cooking that I actually do lately during the week has drastically dwindled. Now, that’s not withstanding the shoots that are part of Simply Beautiful Eating. Those are created during the weekends, take an entire day and we have loads of leftovers afterwards.

The reason for my lack of cooking is twofold:

1) It’s just the two of us now, so we don’t care if we eat straight out of a pot and;
2) I like going to my yoga class after work.

This would never be possible if I wasn’t married to a great husband who is a wiz in the kitchen. Steve prepares the full meal and all the trimmings and I’m in charge of setting the table, a truly daunting task, wink wink.

So I bet you’re wondering why I’m telling you all of this.

Easy.

The other night, I made a salad. Aren’t you impressed?

This is what happens when I’m in charge.

Kale, Fig & Plum Salad with Goat Cheese

-1 bag of kale salad mix or 5 cups of fresh kale
-2 cups shredded nappa cabbage
-3 – 4 fresh figs, sliced in half
-2 red plums, sliced
-¼ cup goat feta cheese (if you can’t find goat/feta use either one)
-2 tablespoons pine nuts
-2 tablespoons dried fruit, cranberries, raisins or apricots
-Creamy Avocado Poppyseed dressing (recipe below)

Place kale and cabbage on a platter or in a salad bowl. Arrange sliced plums over the top, sprinkle with cheese, nuts and dried fruit. When ready to serve, toss with salad dressing.

Vegan Poppyseed Dressing
-2 tbsp avocado mayonnaise (for this one I used Chosen Foods avocado mayo)
-2 tsp Kozliks balsamic fig & date mustard (if you can’t find this, dijon mustard will do)
-1½ tbsp avocado or olive oil
-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
-1 tsp lemon juice
-1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
-1 tbsp poppy seeds
-1 garlic glove, peeled and smashed
-dash of kosher salt & pepper

Mix all ingredients well in a blender or food processor. Serve over salad. Can be stored in fridge for up to one week.

See you next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating
simplybeautifuleating.com

xx, Debi
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August 12, 2016

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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I’m sure you have been wondering where I’ve been over the past month.

Well.

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The love my life and inspiration for this blog (my 94 year old mom) has been in the hospital. On the day I completed this shoot, I got a call from her caregiver that she had a nasty fall in her bedroom. Her injuries included a broken hip and wrist which required surgery. The nightmare began on July 13th and hasn’t ended. She spent three long and grueling weeks in the hospital, suffered some physical setbacks and finally came home last week at her request.

She didn’t want any more medical interventions performed and frankly I couldn’t blame her. Sometimes hospitals are places that can perform lifesaving techniques and other times they wear you down to a point of exhaustion, especially at her age. Seeing that I’m her primary advocate, I needed to respect her wishes and set a goal to get her home as quickly as I could.

I fully renovated a main floor room in the home my father built for her. She calls it her palace. It’s a place where she feels safe, has many memories, and where she wants to be for the rest of her life. My promise to her is to keep her as comfortable as possible and to remain her voice when she is too weak to make decisions. She has the best care I could arrange. 24 hour nurses, personal support workers, physiotherapists and her full time caregiver of 7 years on staff. We have aptly named this crew TEAM FRIEDA.

I’m bringing you this recipe today with a heavy heart. She has really been struggling with the loss of her independent lifestyle and it’s taking the toll on her both physically and emotionally. I have spent loads of time with her every day since the fall. Holding her, talking to her and sopping up the precious moments that I can spend with her. She is my life, my love, my best friend and biggest fan. I hope and pray for a speedy recovery but only time will tell and heal.

She is truly loved by so many that know her and that know of her. Thank you from far and wide for your support, wishes and prayers. It means the world to me. xo

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Grilled Fruit Caprese Salad

3 peaches or nectarines, halved
6 – 8 medium sized bocconcini cheese balls, halved
8 cantaloupe balls
6 yellow cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh raspberries
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
2 teaspoons balsamic reduction – store bought or homemade

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1) Prepare peaches or nectarines by coating them in olive oil and sprinkling with salt and pepper.
2) Heat barbecue or indoor grill pan to medium high heat. Place peaches or nectarines on grill and sear on both sides until fruit is softened. Set aside.
3) Place cheese, cantaloupe, tomatoes and raspberries on a serving plate along with the grilled peaches or nectarines. Drizzle with balsamic reduction. Toss and serve.

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See ya next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating
www.simplybeautifuleating.com

xx, Debi
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