Black Rice Salad with Apricots, Beets, Herbs & Goat Cheese

Hey everyone, sorry for the delay in new recipes… project reno house has been rather time-consuming, but don’t you worry I’ve got you covered with a new recipe for the week. Have you seen all the stunning stone fruit flowing in from B.C. at the markets?! I can’t get enough of all the local produce I can get my hands on, its endless and I wish we had it all year round. I bought a huge flat of apricots from B.C. as they are my absolute fav, then after eating them straight up and like I’d never see them again… I decided to get creative and create something filling and fresh to share with all of you, how about a Black Rice Salad with Apricots, Beets, Herbs & Goat Cheese?! I also received an incredibly beautiful and bountiful herb basket from a very thoughtful colleague at work and knew I had to incorporate it somehow! I love the idea of a grain salad with fruit, herbs and crunchy salty nuts combined into a glorious salad, so that’s how this Black Rice Walnut Salad with Apricots, Beets & Fresh Thyme Goat Cheese was born. Wait until you taste this combination of earthy and fresh ingredients!

I stumbled upon black rice aka Forbidden Rice at Planet Organic a few months ago, I had to try out this dark and mysterious rice, I was so positively delighted and my senses were captivated by this little deep purple grain, I’ve been dying to use it in a recipe to spread the word of its existence! I wondered where it came from, how it differs from regular white/brown rice and did it have any added health benefits from regular rice? Well, I did some research and legend tells us that black rice was once only served to Chinese royalty back in the day, oh and it does have some impressive health benefits. Black rice has this rich, slightly sweeter and nutty flavor, it’s becomes soft and sticky when cooked and really shines in the nutrient department. This forbidden black rice holds powerful disease fighting anti-oxidants, it is rich in fiber, iron and a good source of plant-based protein, it smokes white rice off the charts! It’s popularity is gaining and I’m seeing it pop up in health food stores around Calgary, your best bet is Planet Organic in the bulk section! Cook up a pot of this black rice and watch it turn deep purple after it’s cooked, it’s amazing!

Now for the rest of this salad! As I mentioned before, I had an entire flat of apricots to put to good use, I’m a huge advocate of fruit in salads, trust me, the combination here of the nutty and slightly sweet rice, with earthy red beets, the unique tart nectarous flavor of the apricots all topped off with fresh soft goat cheese coated in fresh thyme and those crunchy salty walnuts… we are talking serious salad business! I was leaning on the more traditional dijon, balsamic dressing for this salad, but I wanted the rice to have a light coating of something creamy… a thought came to me, what would happen if I mixed balsamic and TAHINI!? It sounded odd, it couldn’t possibly work… only one way to find out! I whipped together tahini, dark balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, honey, fresh thyme, salt & pepper, drizzled it over my salad, closed my eyes and took a huge bite, OMG YUM, it was marvelous! The flavors of roasted sesame from the tahini just enhanced the earthiness of this salad even further.

Alright, enough talking and more recipe blogging! Here is how to make this beautiful Black Rice Walnut Salad with Apricots, Beets & Fresh Thyme Goat Cheese!

For the Salad, approximately 4 servings:

1 cup of black rice (I find it at Planet Organic or Community Health in the bulk section)

2 medium red beets – roasted & chopped

2-3 fresh apricots – chopped

2 tbsp soft crumbled goat cheese

1 sprig of fresh minced thyme

Handful of halved walnuts

Pinch of salt

Freshly ground pepper

For the Tahini Balsamic Dressing:

1.5 tbsp dark balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp tahini

1/2 tbsp warm water

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp honey (I used Drizzle Spring Honey)

1/4 tsp salt

Ground fresh pepper

Pinch of fresh minced thyme

How to create your own Black Rice Walnut Salad with Apricots, Beets & Fresh Thyme Goat Cheese:

Turn oven on to 425 Degrees Fahrenheit.

Wash and cut end off beets, place in an oven safe dish, fill with water until just under half of the beets are immersed in water, cover with lid/tin foil and roast for 45 minutes or until a fork is easily inserted into beet.

Add 1 cup of black rice to a pot, add 2 cups of cold water and 1/2 tsp of salt. Bring to a slight boil then turn down to low and cover with a lid, cook for 30 minutes.

Once your beets are roasted, the skin should peel off very easily, chop them up.

Chop up your apricots.

Crumble soft goat cheese and make them into mini balls, roll them in the fresh minced thyme.

Mix together the cooked rice, beets, apricots and top off with herbed goat cheese, halved walnuts, salt & pepper.

Mix all your salad dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and whisk until well blended, pour over salad and toss!

I make extra rice and roasted beets so I can throw this Black Rice Walnut Salad with Apricots, Beets & Fresh Thyme Goat Cheese together for quick lunches and dinners!

There you have it, your own beautiful salad for dinner! Let me know what you think, I absolutely love hearing from all of you and seeing how I’ve inspired your dishes each and every day, nothing makes me happier. Have a lovely week and enjoy everything our last days of summer have to bring, xoxo!

 

 

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A Trio of Easy Grilled Skewered Vegetables

The last couple weeks have been an absolute whirlwind for me, half the time I don’t know the date or time, it has been moving/renovation week for us and life as a homeowner has been both gratifying and terrifying all at the same time. With a house in reno mode, full of unpacked boxes and an unorganized kitchen, madness has ensued and I have been utilizing my BBQ more than ever for quick and nourishing meals on the go. I wanted to inspire you with my favorite beautiful fresh produce that transform into a trio of easy grilled skewered vegetables that compliment any protein of choice. A delectable grilled trio of Maple Rosemary Garden Carrots, Paprika Honey Dijon Brussel Sprouts and Baba Ganoush Inspired Grilled Eggplant.

These are truly three of my all time favorite side dishes that utilize some of my favorite produce and grill up wonderfully in no time at all for those meals in a hurry. They aren’t your typical go to skewer veggies, I realize that, but I’m all about exploring food and its cooking versatility. So I have tried to grill almost everything… and these turned out to be very impressive I must say :). It’s garden carrot season, I’ve been getting local carrots bunch after bunch as they are so darn yummy, marinated in fresh rosemary from my lovely herb box, good ol’ Canadian Maple Syrup, then caramelized and grilled to perfection… so simple but my goodness you are going to love them grilled! They melt in your mouth with hints of woodsy rosemary and then the sweet maple, mmmm. These Maple Rosemary Grilled Carrots pair so well with a juicy grilled chicken breast! Here is how to make them!

Maple Rosemary Grilled Garden Carrots:

1 bunch of small fresh carrots (approx 10 small carrots)

1.5 tbsp fresh diced rosemary

1 tbsp maple syrup

Light drizzle of your favorite oil (I used olive oil)

1/2 tsp salt

Ground black pepper to taste

Wash carrots well & trim off ends, add carrots to a microwave safe bowl with an inch of water and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 3 minutes or until just softening. Drain water (careful it’s hot!) and add rosemary, maple syrup, salt and pepper and toss well until carrots are coated. Thread carrots onto a skewer and grill on low heat for 5 minutes, then flip, grill another 5 minutes. You’ve got yourself some gorgeous grilled carrots, enjoy! You will have left over marinade, don’t throw it out, I like to drizzle the remainder on my grilled carrots when they are done!

Next up are these mini green cabbage like veggies, brussel sprouts, most people say they despise these cute lil’ things, well that’s because you’ve probably had them over boiled and served bland, yeah? I beg you, give this recipe a crack, you will change your mind about brussel sprouts I swear and then cry during the winter when you can’t grill them up like this, although I do make this same recipe in the oven when I have withdrawals in the winter! These Paprika Honey Dijon Brussel Sprouts are AMAZING! They get a crispy outer layer from the grill and the Paprika Honey Dijon marinade caramelizes beautifully, if I haven’t convinced you with my words yet, just try them already! Here is how.

Paprika Honey Dijon Brussel Sprouts:

1/2 pound brussel sprouts (approx 10)

2 tbsp of your favorite Dijon mustard

1 tbsp honey (I use local Drizzle Spring Honey, so good!)

1/2 tsp smoked paprika (regular paprika will do, but I love the smokiness smoked paprika gives)

1/2 tsp salt

Ground black pepper to taste

Mix dijon, Drizzle honey, paprika, salt and pepper to create a marinade. Wash brussel sprouts well & trim off the hard end, add them to a microwave safe bowl with an inch of water and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 2-3 minutes or until just softening. Drain water (careful it’s hot!) and add your marinade to them, add salt and pepper and toss well until sprouts are evenly coated. Thread brussel sprouts onto a skewer and grill on low heat for 5 minutes, then flip, grill another 5 minutes. I love these with a side of grilled chicken or even a poached egg!

Last, but definitely not least, aubergine… eggplant… whatever you want to call the stunning purple bulb is up next! Eggplant is another vegetable I get asked a lot about, how to cook & season it, so here is one of my favorite ways of making them. I get so delighted when I come across Indian Eggplant, the small little individual bulbs that are so perfect for two bite sized sides, just cut them in half and smother in my take on a Baba Ganoush marinade. The garlic tahini marinade with a kick of chile powder, when grilled, makes a crispy and delicious outer crust with a creamy middle. These Baba Ganoush Inspired Grilled Eggplants are going to be a frequent on your dinner menu after you try them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baba Ganoush Grilled Eggplant:

6 Indian Eggplants (If you can’t find Indian Eggplant, normal eggplant cut into chunks will do!)

2 tbsp tahini

1 clove garlic – crushed

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp lemon zest

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp chili powder

Black ground pepper to taste

Mix tahini, crushed garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest and chili powder to create a marinade. Wash eggplant well & trim off top, then cut in half. Thread eggplant onto a skewer, salt & pepper them, then smother them in the tahini marinade. Grill on low heat for 5-6 minutes, then flip, grill another 5 minutes. I love these with a side of grilled fish!

There you have it, a trio of vegetable for you to skewer up and grill up! Give one, or all of these a try during these busy summer months! Let me know your favorite side and what you paired it with, tag me on Instagram @apinchofnurse or Facebook. Enjoy this hot weekend to come everyone and if you’re hitting the Stampede grounds have a blast, fill up on carny eats and I’ll be here for ya when you need a lighter meal to detox :)! XOXO

 

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Celebrating Canada with Banana Rhubarb Date Muffins

We’ve made it half way through our week everyone! With the gorgeous forecasts we’ve been having means some local vegetables are sprouting and ready for us to enjoy! Since we are nearing Canada’s 150th Birthday, I want to dedicate this month’s blogs and recipes to Canada, pay homage to our bountiful country and the gorgeous produce we yield. First up and ready for harvest is the ever so versatile, vibrant and delicious rhubarb stalk. So keeping with the season and celebrating Canada, I made for you some Banana Rhubarb Date Muffins that will have your taste-buds rejoicing with every bite.

Did you know rhubarb is actually a vegetable, it grows reliably (maybe even a little too much) and is a hearty staple in Alberta gardens? You can harvest it starting in the Spring all the way through the summer and early months of fall, yum, rhubarb all summer long! But don’t eat or juice those leaves, they are slightly toxic! I have to be forthright, I really didn’t bother much with rhubarb until recently, I always saw it as a “stuff into pie only” kinda item, until I started to come to the realization that this hearty vegetable is so versatile, so I got innovative in the kitchen! I have created strawberry rhubarb compotes to stuff my buckwheat crepes with, devoured rhubarb infused oats, made a rhubarb dijon vinaigrette, used it as an addition to my smoothies and now I’ll share with ya all my tasty Banana Rhubarb Date Muffin recipe that turned out heavenly, it would be a shame not too share. This recipe is as easy as it gets when it comes to baking… throw all ingredients together, except that rhubarb, mix well, then fold in rhubarb and bake!  I am ecstatic to share with you a video tutorial on how easy these are, now on my Facebook account as well! I had a blast making this video, more videos to come in the near future!

These Banana Rhubarb Date Muffins are not your typical sugar and butter packed muffins, they are exceptionally better and guess what, gluten and refined sugar-free! Made with quick oats, some bananas and dates that lend a natural sweetness with the tart and fresh rhubarb that cuts through that with its tang. I love pumpkin in virtually anything… who doesn’t need the extra fiber and it makes these muffins extra moist, so I threw that in as well. With hints of cinnamon, cardamom and topped with oat flakes soaked in vanilla, need I say more? I have this obsession with baking things in mini size, I’m not sure why… they are adorable and the perfect pop in the mouth muffin, I also have the mentality, oh it’s so little, I can have another 🙂 They make for a pretty superb breakfast with fruit and yogurt, a handy on the go snack, healthy for the kids and a quick grab for those pre or post work outs on a busy day.

So thank you Alberta for the perfect rhubarb climate and an abundance of gorgeous red stalks all summer long! You will see them all over grocery stores and markets, go support your local vendor and buy a stalk or two. If you do succumb to these delectable mini Banana Rhubarb Date Muffins, I’d love to hear your feedback, snap a shot of the masterpiece and tag @apinchofnurse on Instagram or Facebook! Thank you everyone for your love and support always, much love xoxo.

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Fresh Shaved Asparagus & Roasted Tomato Salad

You guys, guess what… it’s officially asparagus season! This excites me way more than it probably should, but I always forget how marvelous fresh and in season asparagus truly is. So I’ll be highlighting these lovely green spears in a couple of recipes over the next couple weeks. The task of which recipes to share has proven to be really difficult for me because asparagus is so versatile and I had so many ideas! I fell in love with this idea for a salad and it couldn’t have turned out any more delectable, here is my, fresh Shaved Asparagus & Roasted Tomato Salad!

You’re probably saying, um Andrea, you do realize asparagus is typically in the groceries stores all year round, don’t you? I realize that! I don’t know about you, but I walk right past them when i see that $5.99/lb price tag on limp, leaning and pathetic looking spears, so when I saw $3.00 per gorgeous bunch at the market, I bought 3 bundles (I know, slightly excessive). Asparagus is typically harvested from February – June, so keep an eye out at your market for those green, crisp spears with beautiful purple ends! You buy and I’ll provide you with a recipe, deal?

So, here is my asparagus recipe for the week I’d love for you to try! I wanted to highlight how delicious asparagus can be in its raw state and got carried away with my peeler to create a masterpiece of a salad I’d say! My Shaved Asparagus & Roasted Tomato Salad, is authentic, simple and true to the freshness of the crisp asparagus. First of all, I was way too entertained while shaving away at those spears creating asparagus ribbons, I’m sure I had a massive grin on my face the entire time! There is nothing more perfect than sweet and bursting roasted tomatoes to pair with those crisp ribbons and soft buttery lettuce, mmm. Then I thought, why not throw on (actually, be gentle!) a perfectly poached soft egg and let that golden yolk ooze into the layers of the salad. I closed off this masterpiece with large flakes of savory Parmesan and my easy Creamy Honey Mustard dressing. Divine!

Have an amazing week of warm weather and asparagus buying! XOXO

 

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Fresh Baked Spring Apple Carrot & Turmeric Breakfast Muffins

Buh-bye snow and welcome golden rays of energy! These bright days have me craving fresh, warm and spring infused healthy baking. My ongoing obsession with the golden, citrusy root of turmeric has not died down and I recently stumbled upon Teff, a super food wee little grain with a list of nutritional benefits that are mind-blowing. So I thought, why not mash these two together with warm spices, crisp apples, sweet carrots and VUALA, out came these delicious fresh baked, Spring inspired, Apple Carrot & Turmeric Breakfast Muffins!

Now I have to tell you, I am not a die-hard muffin fan… in fact, I can’t remember the last time I had one prior to this urge to do some Spring baking. I actually experimented first with breakfast cookies, wasn’t in love with the textural result, which led to, huh, how about a muffin instead? It was meant to be, these muffins are everything I was craving and more! Although the season is changing, I’m still not quite ready to let go of those comforting winter spices of cinnamon and nutmeg, so I thought I’d ease in to this whole Spring thing! A bite of one of my Apple Carrot & Turmeric Breakfast Muffins will bring your taste buds an infusion of citrusy turmeric and ginger, bursts of juicy tart apples, sweet hints of anti oxidant packed carrots, warmth from the cinnamon and nutmeg, finished off with a caramelized sweetness from the baked dates, YUM!

So you’re probably wondering, what the heck is teff, what kind of crazy grain is this?! I thought the same thing as I browsed the shelves and came across this tiny, dark brown, gluten-free grain (FYI I bought bulk teff from Bulk Barn and Bob’s Redmill Teff Flour from Sobey’s). I bought that interesting grain and marched straight home to do more research, little did I know that this Ethiopian grain is brimming with surprising health benefits, a super food and gaining major popularity in North America. High in nutrient content, it’s loaded with protein, calcium, eight amino acids, iron, fiber and anti-inflammatory properties, all in this adorable little grain! Well, I tried it out in these muffins and teff flour worked perfectly! I can’t wait to experiment more with this mysterious super grain!

So, what are ya waiting for! Get your Spring baking on with these nourishing muffins… or shall we call them Teffins, hehe :)? Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear from you, reach me on Instagram @apinchofnurse or Facebook! XOXO

 

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Slow Cooker Pulled Tandoori Chicken

Oh boy everyone, what a beautiful day out there, blue skies and sunshine, melting snow and now to top it all off, my delicious Slow Cooker Pulled Tandoori Chicken, can this day get any better? This easy slow cooker chicken is brimming with fragrant Tandoori spices and you can eat it up for lunches and dinners for days! I love to sit back while my slow cooker does all the hard work, don’t you?

As you can probably appreciate already, I relish Indian cuisine and all the bold and beautiful flavors that it encompasses! One day I watching this inspiring Netflix series, “The Kindess Diaries,” based on one man’s quest to ignite kindliness from others, and through those acts, allow him to cross the world without spending a single penny! If you haven’t come across this series yet, it’s an absolute must see, heart warming and a tear jerker. During one of his days spent in India, I was slightly distracted during one of the episodes as I saw tandoori chicken cooking in the background… the craving was on! I got experimenting and created a pulled chicken version so I could throw it in butter leaf lettuce wraps, topped with my Mango Salsa With A Snap, it definitely hit the spot!

Tandoori is a curry blend that is more savory and typically mixed and marinated with yogurt in a clay oven, aka a tandoor. I used coconut milk in the recipe instead to balance out those beautiful savory flavors and used my trusty slow cooker as my oven, it turned out brilliant I’d say! Tandoori chicken typically has a smokey flavor to it due to it being cooked over charcoal or wood, I tried to embrace that smokey profile in using smoked paprika. I typically like to create my own spice blends, but it can get costly buying random and hard to get ingredients, then I came across The Silk Road Spice Merchant’s Tandoori Masala blend and I was instantly in love! I buy my spices from them at the Calgary Farmer’s Market, they are amazing!

This Slow Cooker Pulled Tandoori Chicken can’t be any easier to create or tastier, seriously. I know you will love it! Go soak in some sunshine and let your make shift tandoor oven (slow cooker haha) make dinner tonight! XOXO

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Sicilian Style Blood Orange Fennel Salad with Roasted Honey Chili Pistachios

Remember that picture of my wholesome market finds from Thursday? Well, this particular market trip I was accompanied by my beautiful and curious friend K, who pointed out some gorgeous golden beets and questioned the flavor of those mysterious blood oranges, well that got my innovative culinary cogs turning! As promised, I present to you, on this splendid spring forward an hour Sunday morning, a simply gorgeous Sicilian Style Blood Orange Fennel Salad with Roasted Honey Chili Pistachios!

Isn’t this salad so visually appealing and SENSATIONAL!? I could stare at it all day, I actually felt felonious eating it after the photo shoot was done. My husband didn’t… he dug right in, so I clearly had to get in there as well or I would be left without a single bite! There are so many distinctive and delicious flavors going on in this salad that erupt in your mouth. I love how the golden ribbons of beet have an alluring sweet and earthy flavor that I felt would contrast well with the mild licorice flavor of the crunchy shaved fennel. The incredibly stunning blood oranges speak for themselves I’d say, with that raspberry hued orange flavor! I’ve always loved the warmth of dill, it had lemony hints and I thought it would compliment the citrus profiles of this salad. I finished this salad off with the finest, roasted pistachios and of course, feta cheese! I was craving salty and spicy on this particular day, so I grabbed a handful of buttery pistachios, tossed them with Drizzle Honey, a pinch of chili powder and salt, then a quick roast on those suckers … oh my goodness… divine!

I adore blood oranges, I get weirdly enthusiastic when they are in season and stock up on those ruby beauties. So where do these oranges come from and how do they get that unreal color and orange-raspberry flavor? Well, you probably already guessed by the title of this post… they are primarily grown in Italy and they acquire their red color, when temperatures drop at night due to anthocyanin. Anthocyanin (an antioxidant) is the pigment in these oranges and this red pigment continues to accumulate even after harvest, neat huh! Therefore, these oranges can only be cultivated in the cooler months of fall and winter, explaining why we don’t see them all the time in stores!

The Sicilians boast a salad using Tarroco blood oranges, typically comprising of blood oranges, fennel, olives and onions. Unfortunately, during my travels across Sicily I did not get the opportunity to try this traditional salad, but I do remember the juicy and luscious fresh oranges as well as candied oranges, served for dessert! The Sicilians have world famous food for a reason, it’s unreal! I could go on and on about the enticing food we ate, the crystal clear turquoise waters, exceptional white sand beaches, the active and glowing volcano of Mt. Etna and of course the white knuckle driving craziness!

The crystal clear waters in San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily we swam in!

My Blood Orange Fennel Salad with Roasted Honey Chili Pistachios salad is truly effortless and undeniably delicious. I am hoping to deliver you some joy and hopes of warmer weather with colors of spring and yummy eats. Now get to the market and get a hold of those beautiful blood oranges before they are out of season! Happy Weekend and start of a new week that will bring us all a little more sunlight! XOXO

 

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Crepes Across The Globe, Brought To Your Plate

Okay everyone, I can’t be the only one in this world that gets sudden, undeniable, need in my mouth right now, cravings for delicious crepes, am I? I could eat crepes everyday, in every way, for every damn meal if I could get away with it… truly. Through my travels over the years, I have had the opportunity to taste diverse, unique to country, crepes across the globe, now brought to your plate! Every country offers their distinctive and delicious take on a crepe, which inspired my next recipe. My take on crepes is influenced from flavors/techniques from around the world, I bring to you these gorgeous, sweet, citrusy and mouth-watering Buckwheat Crepes & Honey Ginger Pears.

So where did the crepe actually originate? Yep, the French take this one, from Brittany in the Northern Region of France. Crepe is a French word meaning pancake, derived from the Latin word crispa, meaning “curled”, a little history and fun fact for you on your Tuesday evening ha! I’ve always loved the lacy, thin, slightly curled and crisped edges profiles of the crepe. I have to admit I have a sweet tooth and tend to lean towards dessert crepes rather than savory, but both are equally as yummy!

I started to think back to my travels and was actually taken aback by the many forms of crepes I’ve devoured (I told you I could eat them constantly!) The crepes from around the globe that left a lasting impression came to mind immediately and here they are! If you ever step foot in Prague’s magical cobblestone streets, you need to find a cafe that serves Palacinkys – sweetened and lovely thin crepes that were filled with fruit and jam, don’t worry you will walk it off making your way up the hill to that stunning Prague Castle!

Another European crepe that will never escape my memory is the Netherland’s Pannenkoeken pancake/crepe. My husband and I stumbled upon an adorable little outdoor cafe for breakfast one morning, jet lagged and in a daze, these little sweet, souffled pancakes smothered in a nutella like chocolate spread, fruit and cream, we were in food heaven! Let’s fly down to beautiful Greece from here, after an astonishingly hot and sweaty hike up to the Acropolis in Athens, we decided we needed to re-energize in a gorgeous and shaded cafe, filled with those sly little Greek cats, we indulged on Tiganites! These are fluffy, small, circular Greek pancakes that were drizzled in thick honey and sprinkled with cinnamon and icing sugar, all I can say is mmmm.

Next let’s make our way down to North Africa, I was pleasantly taken aback by the amount of pastries and crepe like desserts that lined the bustling streets! Must be the French influence perhaps… our French Riad (hotel) owner recommended a charming restaurant that served Meloui, a Moroccan dessert made of semolina dough, folded over many times over and fried with honey, simply ravishing!

Lastly, the Japanese have it down pat in the pancake department, true perfection. I yearn their savory pancake, the Okonomiyaki, on a daily basis. The best part of this pancake is that it is served on your own personal hot griddle at your table! The base of this pancake is quite versatile, depending on what region you are in, common base include nagaimo, a root vegetable puree or noodles. This batter is fried and made into a pancake shape and the rest of the creation is up to your hearts desire, top it with vegetables, octopus, pork, green onion, shredded cabbage… the combinations are endless. Once you are done creating your masterpiece savory pancake, it will be topped off with finger licking good Japanese mayo, a dark and rich Tonkatsu sauce and nori flakes (that dance on the top of your pancake with the heat from the griddle!) We found the best Okonomiyaki in Osaka, hands down, thanks to our beautiful foodie friend, Mami, with all her incredible food recommendations!

When composing my Buckwheat Crepes & Honey Ginger Pear recipe, I infused flavors and textures from the original French galette/crepe, with Greek and Moroccan influences in the cinnamon/honey combination, I  also played with the Eastern European fruit in crepe trend and I couldn’t leave out Japan’s influence, so I used fresh ginger for that zesty pop that balances the sweet pears and honey so beautifully. These crepes encompass a nutty hue from the buckwheat and the comforting cinnamon and nutmeg are infused throughout the soft and slightly crispy crepe. With pears being plentiful in the markets, I couldn’t wait to melt them down with Drizzle’s nectarous Spring honey, tied in with cinnamon and that citrus contrast of the ginger. You won’t get enough of these crepes, but with less than 200 calories for 2 large crepes, stuffed with those warm honey ginger pears, go ahead, indulge! XOXO

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Crispy Baked Indian Chickpea Fritters Topped with Mint Yogurt Dip

Can you believe it, first Friday of March is here! This means we are approaching the beauty and artistry that Spring delivers and guess what, March is National Nutrition Month in Canada! National Nutrition Month brings awareness surrounding proper nutrition and calls attention to healthy eating habits and choices. I love that we have a month dedicated to such an imperative cause, remembering to nourish our body and soul with wholesome and nutritious food (oh and of course scrumptious)! Let me embody and inspire you in this movement with my crispy, baked and beautiful, Indian Chickpea Fritters Topped with Mint Yogurt Dip!

I have to admit, I can find it challenging to get the proper amount of protein on most days. I am certainly not the carnivorous type, but I realize the importance of protein in my diet. So on the days I’m not feeling meat protein sources, chickpeas are definitely a go to. They are brimming with high protein and fiber levels, they absorb and take on flavors beautifully and are so versatile. This is how my Indian Chickpea Fritters were born!

I was craving something crispy, yet creamy and immersed in curry flavors. So I created these simply adorable little veggie fritters that pack a punch in the protein and spice department! They are incredibly easy to create, they remain light and healthy as they are baked, not fried. What’s a fritter without dip? A lost soul! So i wanted to compliment and tame the heat of the curry with a fresh, vibrant, mint and cucumber yogurt dip, you will adore the combination! These Indian Chickpea Fritters are perfect on their own, served as an appy, thrown into your favorite salad, or I love to top off my Buddha Bowls with these beauties! Try them out this weekend! Happy Friday everyone, XOXO

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A Sweet Morning Breaky Worth Buzzing About – Feat. Drizzle Honey

Hello everyone! Are you all ready for a sweet morning breaky worth buzzing about? Remember my post yesterday raving in excitement about a local collaboration project? Well, I am truly delighted to acquaint you to the impressive local honey story of Drizzle, Hive and Honey Products, founded right here in Calgary, Alberta! I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to showcase and support this impressive company, which features delectable and sustainable honey products. After one golden, dripping spoonful of their tangy and creamed Spring honey collection, I was exhilarated by its boldness and my palate was bursting with hues of caramel and spring blossom flavors. This motivated my creation of, Caramelized Figs on Drizzle Honey Whipped Ricotta Oats. Drizzle’s luscious honey brings these oats to exceptional levels of heavenliness!

I love the story behind Drizzle, founded in 2015 by a young female entrepreneur by the name of Aja. Her background in Environmental Science paired with her love of honey bees and local agriculture, produced a simply beautiful and high quality honey product. I’m telling ya guys, you NEED to get your hands on this honey, ASAP, it’s so damn divine! I’ve always been an advocate for supporting and shopping at local businesses, especially one’s that provide such exceptional products. Drizzle not only delivers an incredible sustainable product but they in turn support local beekeeping farms! Check out where your nearest retailer is here or buy online at https://drizzlehoney.com/collections/honey.

Obviously, honey is delicious, but you need to be aware of the type and quality of honey you are buying in order to ensure you get all of its exceptional benefits. Once again, another reason I stand behind Drizzle’s honey! Their honey is lightly filtered and unheated, which allows the honey to retain the important stuff your body needs, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy enzymes!

I grew up eating honey (thank you mom and dad!), from smothering it on almost burnt toast with butter or poured all over my morning kase (Czech porridge), I have always loved honey and its beautiful composition. Little did I know I was ingesting a product with quite impressive qualities. Honey is nature’s energy drink! The glucose gives your body an instant boost in energy as well as endurance and reduces muscle fatigue (this is why it is highly recommended for athletes), while the fructose is absorbed over time for a more sustained energy, pretty neat huh?! Honey is a particularly effective in boosting the bodies immune system as it contains anti-bacterial properties, great for helping you stay healthy and fight disease. Honey is seriously impressive, if I don’t say so myself!

I personally could devour honey by the spoonful (as you discovered from my childhood!), but I decided to control myself and use it in my, Caramelized Figs on Drizzle Honey Whipped Ricotta Oats, the flavors really highlight this particular Spring honey collection. Aja mentioned to me that their Drizzle Spring Honey is a rich and bold honey that encompasses flavors of chamomile, dandelion and caramel, produced for only a short period of time (that being spring!).

When that drizzle honey hit my tongue, it transported me back to my travels in Greece. At one particularly stunning hotel, on the tip of the Santorini Caldera, overlooking the ocean and volcano, we received breakfasts appropriate for the gods! It consisted of Stragissto (a thick, cheese like, strained yogurt) drizzled with honey, fresh, plump, sweet figs and fresh-baked bread. This led to the creation of these cardamom and cinnamon infused dreamy, creamy oats, with gorgeous caramelized figs, Drizzle Honey whipped ricotta, a light crunch from the nutty, earthy walnuts and of course finished off with drizzling that divine Drizzle Spring honey! So get that golden syrup flowing, don’t apply sparingly, it’ll keep you buzzing through your busy day!

Huge thank you to Drizzle for inspiring me and allowing me to get creative! XOXO

 

 

 

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