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!

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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March 10, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

Two words.


I could probably stop right here and just move forward to the recipe because that’s all you need to know, right?

But of course I can’t go on without my usual and much anticipated ramble.

What inspired me about making this pizza was one simple ingredient – watermelon radishes. I can’t even look at them because they are just too stunning. LOOK AT THIS COLOUR!! A perfect shade of hot pink and a real show stopper for many recipes. Here’s the real story behind me buying ONE, yes ONE watermelon radish.

It’s all because of the popcorn.



Yes, popcorn.

Do I still have your attention? If you haven’t scrolled down to the recipe already, I’m going to tell you about my current obsession.

Every night I stuff my face with a good size bowl of low fat popcorn from a very well known company. Before I tell you more, you need to know this. I HATE SHARING MY FOOD. Like HATE. Okay, hate is a very strong word, how about DISLIKE IMMENSELY. Wait. That’s two words, but who cares.

When I go to the movies, I get my very own “pig size” popcorn. If I happen to drop a kernel on my lap while shoveling it in, I get anxious and sweaty. If my husband happens to reach over and steal from my bag when he clearly has his own, that’s grounds for divorce. So  yes, I don’t like anyone in my popcorn space.

The other night, as I was enjoying my bowl of popcorn I noticed that it had a strange, almost sweet taste. I asked Steve to taste it just in case it there was something wrong with ME. This would be the ONLY time I would share this snack because, technically it was yucky. (I actually googled my Med MD website to see if there was a correlation to a change in taste buds due to eating high volumes of popcorn). Ya. That’s how nuts I am.

Then I checked the bag and it was my usual popcorn brand, so I have no idea why it tasted different. I thought about different factory based scenarios that would interfere with the production of MY popcorn. Other than the possibility of a sweet flavour version somehow making its way into the wrong bags on the conveyor belt, I don’t have a clear cut answer. I just wanted MY slightly salted and oh so perfect popcorn, not this sweet crap.

Still with me?

I went to buy another bag of it the next day from a different store. The second I walked in, I spotted these magnificent watermelon radishes and completely forgot about why I was there in the first place. I put ONE radish in the cart, picked up additional ingredients and toppings for a whole wheat pizza and left the store…..


Wasn’t this worth reading?

NO, but this pizza is worth eating.


– 1 recipe whole wheat pizza dough (see below)
– ½ teaspoon oregano
– 2 – 3 tablespoons fresh pesto
– 1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced
– 4 – 5 slices fresh buffalo mozzarella
– 3 cups of mixed greens (I used mixed greens with edible flowers)
– ½ cup part skim shredded mozzarella cheese
– fresh basil for garnish

1) Preheat oven to 400F. I like to use the convection option for making pizza. If you don’t have this type of oven don’t stress. Just bump up the temperature to 425F
2) Prepare a 9 x 13 baking pan by greasing it with butter.
3) Stretch the pizza dough onto the pan. Spread pesto sauce over the dough, sprinkle with oregano and top with sliced watermelon radish. Place buffalo mozzarella over the top of the pizza dough. Sprinkle 1½ cups of the mixed greens over the buffalo mozzarella, then sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella. Bake for 20 -24 minutes or until crust is nicely browned underneath and around the edges. Remove pizza from the oven and top with remaining 1½ cups of mixed greens and basil. Slice and serve hot.


– 1 cup water, heated to 110 degrees
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 envelope (2¼ teaspoons) rapid-rise or instant yeast
– 2¾ cups white or regular whole wheat flour (or a combo of both)
– ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
– 1 teaspoon sea salt

1) Whisk water, sugar, oil and yeast in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Allow yeast to proof for 5 minutes. It should puff up.
2) Pulse flour, parmesan cheese, and salt in food processor until combined. While running the food processor, slowly pour in the water mixture and process for one minute until a rough looking ball forms.
3) Dump the dough onto a floured work surface and quickly knead dough a few times until it comes together. Cut your dough in half if your are making two smaller pizzas or use the entire ball for a large pizza.
4) On your floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll dough as thinly as possible. Place into prepared pan and stretch it out with your fingers if it bounces back. It can get sticky so dip your fingers lightly into oil to help it spread. Once you have all your toppings on, brush the edges of the dough with olive oil.

See you next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating

xx, Debi
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June 25, 2015

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

As a citizen of the “true north”, it was only fitting to do a Canada Day post using lots and lots of RED & WHITE. Once again, my friend Minilicious by Rachelle provided perfect mini donuts to use in this shoot.CD9
They are seriously adorable and even better – baked not fried. She also supplied an added bonus – huge sugar cookies which were decorated in the colors of the Canadian Flag – take a look at those maple leaf sprinkles…….weeeeeee!!
The donuts are simple to make at home, but why bother if you live in the Greater Toronto Area. Look her up – she does all the work for you and they are great for just about any occasion.CD1
Here are some things I love about being Canadian:
1. Our Flag – Is there any other flag as recognizable with that Maple Leaf? I don’t think so.
2. Fellow Canadians – We’re basically really nice people eh?
3. Freedoms – Free-est country in the world…..that doesn’t mean things are free here…we still have to pay for our stuff.
4. Health Care – Free healthcare means we don’t have to mortgage our homes when we break a hip. It’s not perfect, because you if you do fall and break something it takes up to 9 hours for a doctor to have a look at it in the ER, but who’s complaining?
5. Maple Syrup – I mean, pancakes and waffles need this…….I need this…….we all need this.
6. Poutine – Fries, Cheese, Gravy… um hello? That’s why we have free healthcare!
7. Smarties – The Canadian version of M & M’s but in my opinion better – “when you eat your smarties do you eat the red ones last?” I DO!
8. Ketchup Chips – I can’t believe my niece (Little Miss Party) has to smuggle these back with her to the USA. Why?
9. Our Money – it certainly goes up and down like a rollercoaster against the greenback, but look at all the pretty colors!
10. Toronto – The city that I was born and raised in. A multicultural delight with loads of things to do, eat and see.
11. and lastly – BEING A PROUD CANADIAN. I love and respect our Country and the world seems to like us as well.

Show us your red and white – HAPPY CANADA DAY!
Canada Day Sugar Cookies
3⁄4 cup butter (1 1/4 sticks, softened to room temperature)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1⁄4 tsp real vanilla extract
2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Cream butter with sugar.
Add eggs and vanilla and blend well.
Sift together dry ingredients and add to butter/sugar mixture.
Chill at least 1-1/2 hours.
Roll on floured board to 1/2 inch thickness
Cut with desired cookie cutters.
Bake at 350F 8-10 minutes on a greased cookie sheet. (you don’t want these too brown so keep an eye on them)
Cool and frost with your favorite frosting!
See ya next week!
Debi @simplybeautifuleating

xx, Seri
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June 19, 2015

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

Can we talk about mandolines for a second? I have never owned one and finally succumbed to purchasing my very own “handy dandy” slicer for my ever growing collection of “kitcheny things I really don’t need”. I had to buy one after borrowing my friend’s mandoline last month to use for a Passover recipe that included potatoes. Wait. I think every Passover recipe includes a potato, right?

So I was using this borrowed mandoline and had no idea what I was doing with it. I not only sliced all the potatoes, I think a couple of my fingers were sliced using this stupid thing. Okay, so maybe it’s me that’s stupid and should have taken a mandoline lesson or two or three or four.

Furthermore, I always thought a mandoline was a musical instrument. When someone refers to using a mandoline for slicing vegetables I can only picture one taking their cucumber and running them over the strings of a MANDOLIN. I also think that a mandolin would be easier to use than a MANDOLINE.

Isn’t this a mandolin?


Suffice to say, the moment I unboxed this thing and was rushing to make my lunch, I wasn’t interested in looking at the instruction pamphlet that was included inside. I just threw my washed zucchinis on the thing and went to town. There is NO WAY ON EARTH I did this right because the zucchini was slipping and sliding all over the place.

After all was said and done, I watched a video on YouTube on how to use it PROPERLY. Notice that I still haven’t read the instructions?

I think I have it figured out now, with the exception of the julienne mode for french fries.
I had two puff pastry doughs so I divided them up, rolled them out and made one savory and one sweet. PART TWO of this mandoline saga to be continued next week!


Debi @simplybeautifuleating

xx, Seri
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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
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