Creamy Avacado Sammy September 22, 2010

Holy shitballs… has it really been THAT long????  My apologies to the internets.  Why such a hiatus you ask?  Well, this hag is in the midst of cooking up her greatest creation ever … a wee bambino!  Yes, my hubster and I are multiplying.  So, I have been focusing on that rollercoaster ride for the past seven months.  Add in the fact that this foodie couldn’t eat at all for four months (the first trimester was brutal – total food aversions to everything!) and I have been slowly getting back to my regular eat eat eat self.

So with that, I want to share with you one of my latest obsessions: avacado.  I just can’t seem to get enough of this soft, delish fruit.  So so good for you and so utterly tasty.  It really couldn’t be easier …

2 slices of your favorite bread or a pita
1-2 slices of your favourite cheese (I seem to be on a Edam and Swiss kick these days)
1 medium tomato, sliced thinly
1 avocado
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp onion, minced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp lime juice
dash cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

1. Place cheese slice and tomato slices onto bread.
2. Combine avocado and olive oil in a small bowl and, using a fork, mash into a smooth paste.
3. Add all remaining ingredients to avocado and mix well.
4. Spread avocado mixture onto bread, toast and enjoy.
Note: You can be as creative as you want here… I’ve added in sprouts, spinach and even omitted the cheese as well from time to time.  Mmmmmmmmmmmm!


Incredible Italiano Veggie Lasagna December 1, 2009

Making homemade lasagna may seem like an exercise in blood sweat and tears – but it’s all well worth it in the end, and once you’ve made it a few times, it’ll all come together in a snap.  I’ve tried to make the process as simple as possible here, without sacrificing any of the necessary steps required for a tasty dish that will leave you and your guests sated and elated beyond belief!  You could skip making the homemade sauce and use pre-cooked noodles and get a good result … but if you want the spectacular … you’re just going to have to be patient.  Have a BIG glass of wine and play your favourite tunes right through the process – and enjoy!



1 box of good quality lasagna noodles

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp olive oil

1 head broccoli, finely chopped

1 large zucchini, finely chopped

12 crimini or button mushrooms, finely chopped

2 cups baby spinach, chopped

1 tsp each dried basil and parsley

1 tsp salt


1 x 16 oz can diced tomatoes

1 x 3 oz can tomato paste

1 x 500ml tub of ricotta cheese

2 eggs

2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated



1)  Boil water and follow the package cooking directions of the lasagna noodles – and set aside once cooked.

2)  Chop onion and garlic, and sauté in a very large saucepan along with olive oil until well browned and translucent.

3)  Add the can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and dried herbs to the onion and garlic pan, and simmer until well heated (about 10 min).

4)  In a separate pan, heat to medium-high and sauté broccoli, zucchini and mushroom in a bit of olive oil until softened and vibrant in colour – near the end sprinkle with salt and pepper, add the spinach and cook until wilted.

5)  In a large bowl, slightly beat the 2 eggs, then mix in ricotta cheese, and combine until smooth.

6)  Using a 13 x 9 glass baking dish, spoon the simmered tomato sauce into the bottom to barely cover – set aside 2-3 tbsp of sauce for the very end.

7)  Layer noodles into pan, then follow with 1/3 of the roasted vegetables, then 1/3 of the ricotta/egg mixture, then 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese, then 1/3 of the tomato sauce.

8)  Repeat these layers until you are left with only the top layer of the noodles – then drizzle with the remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

9)  Bake in a 350F oven for 40 minutes, until nice and bubbly.

10) Remove from heat and allow to set for at least 20-30 minutes!  NOTE – You can re-heat slightly if it’s too cool, but it needs to set in order to slice properly.

11)  Serve in gorgeous big bowls and enjoy with some crusty bread!


– Feel free to swap in and out any vegetables you like.  Carrots can be swapped for the zucchini, and you could add cauliflower or eggplant for a nice switch too.

– Using fat-free cheese won’t work really, but you can get away with using lower-fat version.  If you can’t find ricotta, use cottage cheese instead, but always go for the ricotta if you can.


BE FREE Mac n’ Cheese July 3, 2009

Yes, this is a mac’n’cheese for the rest of us … soy, gluten, AND dairy free!!!  Some of the most common allergens and food intollerences out there these days.  Sad but true.  This certainly won’t replace Auntie Marg’s creamy gooey gorgeous baked version that has everyone in a coma for a few hours after enjoying, but hey, it’s better than the alternative of nothing.  It’s a pretty tasty and easy version of a classic that will satisfy any “freer” out there.  Enjoy!


1 1/4 cup uncooked brown rice macaroni

1 1/4 cup unsweetened rice milk

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp EACH onion powderand garlic powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp tumeric

1 tbsp tahini

Sprinking of smoked paprika for dusting (optional!!)



1. Cook pasta according to directions on the box (usually about 7-8 min).

2. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water, and set aside.

3. Whisk all remaining ingredients together in a medium sauce pan, and turn on heat on burner to medium.

4. Bring sauce to a near boil then turn down the heat to low – stirring occasionally, to allow sauce to thicken.

5. Remove from heat once thickened, and combine with cooked macaroni, stirring to coat completely.

6. Return to bruner, heat thoroughly and serve!


SOUPS UP YO! Potato-Leek & Brocolli-Cheddar April 21, 2009

Some people enjoy a TV marathon, some enjoy a movie marathon.  I seem to gravitate towards cooking marathons, and last night was no different.  I was in a soup frenzy, and happily spent a few wee hours abusing my brand spanking new Le Cruset stock pot.  The result was not one, but 2 separate batches of delicious, soup, much to the delight of my hungry cousin and fiance.  Lucky duckys.



1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil

2 leeks, white & light green parts washed and sliced into 1/4-inch slices

2 cups yellow onion, chopped

1/2 TSP sea salt

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 large Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled & cut into 1/2-inch cubes

4 cups veggie stock

1/2 cup white wine

2-3 tsp fresh rosemary leaves

pepper to taste


1.  Heat a LARGE soup pot over medium heat and add the oil.

2. Add the leeks, onion, and salt and sauté for about 5 min, stirring often, until  onion begins to turn translucent.

3. Add garlic and stir well – and cook for 1 min more.

4. Add potatoes, veggie stock and wine, cover, and bring to a boil – then reduce heat to simmer for about 20 min.

5. Remove soup from heat and using either an immersion stick to blend the soup in the pot OR ladle soup into a blender and blend soup with the fresh rosemary leaves until smooth and free of chunks.

6. Pour smooth soup back into pot (if in blender) and warm over low heat until heated through – serve hot with a sprinkling of fresh pepper and a grating of cheddar cheese on top for garnish.




1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil

1 head of broccoli, washed and sliced into 1/4-inch slices (florets and stems included)

2 cups yellow onion, chopped

1/2 TSP sea salt

1 clove garlic, minced

4 cups veggie stock

1/2 cup white wine

2/3 cup milk

1/2 cup old cheddar, shredded

salt and pepper to taste


1.  Heat a LARGE soup pot over medium heat and add the oil.

2. Add the onion and salt, and sauté for about 5 min, stirring often, until  onion begins to turn translucent.

3.  Add broccoli and stir well – and cook for 5 min more (until the broccoli is vibrantly green(.

4.  Add veggie stock and wine, cover, and bring to a boil – then reduce heat to simmer for about 10 min.

5. Remove soup from heat and using either an immersion stick to blend the soup in the pot OR ladle soup into a blender and blend soup  until smooth and free of large chunks.

6. Pour smooth soup back into pot (if in blender), add in milk and grated cheese and warm over low heat until cheese is melted and soup is heated through.

7.  Serve hot with an additional grating of cheddar cheese on top for garnish!



Quinoa Egg Bake March 26, 2009

For all you quiche lovers that just can’t handle regular crust – here’s the answer to your prayers!  The quinoa in this recipe gets baked in the oven so it doesn’t even need to be precooked. It just settles into the bottom of the pan and creates a moist, crunchy crust.  Lots of protein and spinachy-goodness make this a super-healthy meal that takes no time to prep … that’s 100% gluten-free!


1 tsp butter

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa

6-7 eggs

1 1/4 cups milk

1 tbsp chopped garlic (about 3 large cloves)

1 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped

1 cup finely shredded Parmesan or old cheddar cheese


1) Preheat oven to 350°F, and grease an 8 x 8 in. glass (or a Le Crueset – my personal fave dish ever – see image) baking dish with butter; set aside.

2) Place quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and rinse until cold running water until water runs clear, then drain well.

3) In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper and quinoa, stir in chopped spinach, then pour mixture into prepared dish.

4) Cover dish tightly with foil then gently pound or jiggle dish from side to side so that quinoa settles on the bottom in an even layer.

5) Bake until j

ust set, about 40 minutes.

6) Remove foil, sprinkle top evenly with cheese, then return to oven and bake, uncovered, until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes more.

7) Set aside to let cool briefly, then slice and serve.



Mintata-Frittata August 20, 2008

Filed under: Starters & Sides,Veggie Mains — s mcdowall @ 4:21 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

The frittata offers a quick and savory solution for those times when you are in a crunch and need a boost of protein (or those times when you only have cheese and eggs in the fridge – which seems to happen to me a bunch).  Combined with arefreshing hint of mint, this frittata provides a nice dose of omega-3s, vitamins A and D, and calcium.  You can swap the peas for asparagus tips, and can use fresh or frozen (cook the fresh first).  For a sweeter take use the peas – for something a little more savory use the asparagus.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek stalk (light part only), sliced thin
1/2 cup frozen peas (OR frozen asparagus tips if they’re handier)
6 large organic eggs
1 small bunch fresh mint (stems removed, torn or cut into small pieces)
salt and pepper to taste
2 ounces ricotta OR goat cheese OR feta, crumbled


1) Preheat oven to 425°F and heat oil in large ovenproof pan on medium heat – sauté leek until soft, then add peas and cook for 2 to 3 min more.

2) In a medium bowl, beat eggs with 1 tbsp water, then add eggs along with half the mint to the pan.

3) Season with salt and pepper, and cook, lifting edges with spatula to allow uncooked eggs to flow to bottom.

4) When the frittata is partly cooked (7 to 10 minutes), sprinkle on cheese and transfer pan to the oven – bake until puffed and golden (about 8 to 10 minutes).

5) Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly, then garnish with remaining mint and serve.


You can experiment till the cows come home with frittatas!  Nice additions are caramelized onions or shallots, chives, sharp cheddar cheese or any veggie mix.


Pea-sotto July 14, 2008

Risotto. Rice and peas. Oh, and wine, butter and cheese. It rhymes and it tastes like heaven. Don’t be afraid of making risotto. Yes, you have to stand over the stove for 30 minutes or so, but as long as you slowly stir continuously, it’s literally easy-peasy. You’ll impress yourself and your guests with this simple and succulent side or main. Tastes just as good on day 2 as well, if you’re lucky enough to have any left over that is.


1 small spanish onion, finely chopped

olive oil

1 cup arborio rice

5-6 cups of stock (use any you’d like – I used veggie obviously, but you could use chicken)

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 cup white wine (use one you’d drink, as it retains the flavour)

1 tbsp butter

1/3 cup grates parmesean cheese

salt and pepper to taste


1) Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, add onions to pan, and saute until transparent (about 3-5 min).

2) Meanwhile, in a separate pot, heat stock and simmer.

3) Add 1/2 cup stock and 2/3 cup of peas into a blender and blend until smooth.

4) Turn saucepan heat to high, and add rice to onions and toast slightly for 1 min, then add 1 cup of wine and simmer until evaporated.

5) Add 1/2 cup of stock and simmer on high until absorbed. Continue adding stock 1/2 cup at a time, making sure it is completely absorbed before adding next cup – for about 25-30 min (until rice is still somewhat firm and just cooked).

6) Add in pea mixture into rice along with salt/pepper to taste plus the cheese and butter, and cook for 2-3 mintues until butter and cheese are completely melted.

7) Add in remaining peas and stir. Serve with freshly grated parm on top and voila!!