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Kick Up Your Coleslaw

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Tangy and tasty!
There's this little place in my neighborhood called Zazaza, and they make the tastiest, most creative pizzas I've ever had the pleasure of getting my paws on. While this isn't a story about them, you should totally check them out for eat-in or take-out. They're also great supporters of the Do It For Daron initiative involved in raising awareness about, and transforming the experience of youth mental health issue, born out of the tragic death of 14-year old Daron Richardson in November 2010.

So, Zazaza is a great community restaurant, full of great people, supporting an even better cause that warrants all the attention it can get in this difficult times for teens.

In addition to these excellent things, Zazaza serves a ridiculously delicious coleslaw with their pizzas. I don't even LIKE coleslaw, and I LOVE this coleslaw. I think it has to do with their dressing, which is the part I usually don't like about the average 'slaw (since from this blog, I'm sure you can deduce that I am seriously into vegetables).

My take on their dressing is as such..in a bowl mix together:

1/4 cup mayonnaise (or miracle whip or sandwich dressing or whatever you're into these days)
1/2 TBSP Apple cider vinegar (any other vinegar would also work, but would alter the flavor slightly, so experiment!)
1 TBSP whole grain mustard (my mustard option of choice, though I'm sure others are tasty...a spicy mustard would probably be divine!)
1/2 TBSP Brown sugar
1 TSP red pepper flakes (more if you're REALLy into kicky cole')
A couple of good cracks of black pepper

Spoonful by spoonful I used this to dress: [you're basically looking at being able to dress 6.5-7 cups of veggies  all told, so divide up as you like)
2 large celery stalks sliced thinly
2 large carrots sliced thinly
roughly 11oz of carrots (julienned), broccoli stalks (julienned) and red cabbage (sliced thinly)

I love broccoli coleslaw, so usually go heavy on it..of course proportions here are up to you, but this is the quantity of slaw content that the dressing is proportional to.

Tasty additions would be:
-dried cranberries
-flax seeds
-toasted almond slivers or slices




Be Fit, Eat Right, Think Well, Go Green

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Thanks to a fabulous deal, Amanda and I attended the 6th annual Health and Wellness Expo at the Shenkmen Arts Center in Orleans last week end.

Founded by Dr. Nathalie Beauchamp and Deborah MacDonald, the Expo brought together over 50 exhibitors to present local products and services related to health and wellness, such as the new Moksha Yoga in Orleans and Pantry Plus, a local health food store located on St-Joseph boulevard. Plus, various speakers discussed different facets of health and wellness throughout the day, such as Eating the Smart Way and Take Control of Your Hormones. They surely had something for everyone to enjoy!

It all sounded fabulous prior to our attendence, so we were quite excited to see what the event was all about! We mostly hoped to learn more about the various services offered around wellness and pick up a few samples (let's be honest here). Actually, not only were we able to pick up Dr. Beauchamp's book Wellness on the Go and get an amazing deal at her chiropractic clinic, but we also received a FREE box of Kellog's Corn Flakes!

Having been to the Shenkman for different kinds of events, I was a little reluctant about the location. I was curious to see how they would fit all their kioks (and the great amount of people who showed up) in a relatively small space. Having said that, they did a great job at spreading the kioks over the two floors, while leaving enough room for visitors to enjoy every one of them. The Ritchcraft theatre however was a little too small to accomodate the numerous audience members wanting to attend the very interesting seminars.

Amanda and I attended 2 seminars: Lianne Laing - Staying Healthy Even if You Are Busy (you can follow her on twitter for more tips!) and Dr. Nathalie Beauchamp - Take Control Of Your Hormones. Both seminars were very useful to provide important information about health and wellness. Here are few tips we picked up over the course of the day:
Lianne Laing speaking with Dr. Beauchamp about her
morning show spot, "Today's the Day"
  1. At some point during your exercise routine, it's going to become important to have someone push you to your limits. It's easy for your body to remember the exercise you put it through, so your regular routine won't always cut it. A coach or a trainer can help you take your routine one step further.
  2. Fruit should be the first thing you eat in the morning since they don't let the sugars from your upcoming meals sit in your body, and the fruit nutrients will actually get absorbed better. This means eating it before your other breakfast items.
  3. Do not deprive yourself of the foods you love that make life happy. Simply eat them in moderation.
  4. Rules to live by: "Do not pray for an easy life, pray to be a strong person"
  5. Take care of yourself first. That way, you have the energy and the strength to take care of others.
  6. "Take good care of your body, it's the only place you have to live." 
  7. If you find yourself feeling too busy or too tired to go to the gym once you gotten home from work, try going directly from the job to the gym. Also, make sure to pack your bags the night before, so it's that much easier to get there.
  8. Eat 5 grams of protein every morning for optimum health
  9. Love the beef but watching your health? Grass-fed beef contains less saturated fat than grain-fed will, so try buying organic. 
  10. Still too busy for the gym? Are you focussing on keeping your kids active, but slacking off in your own physical activity as a result? Instead of staying for your child's full practice or activity, take half the time to go for a brisk walk outside, or around the complex. Or, take turns with other parents in watching the kids, so you can alternate who gets a quick sweat on, and who fills in the cheering section.
We really would've liked to partake in the film viewing of Forks Over Knives but our busy lives unfortunately had to take over.

All in all, it's an event I'd recommend for those who are looking to start a healthy lifestyle but aren't sure where to start. Great tips, great discoveries, and great times! (Some pretty good samples too...thanks ginger people :) )

Cold Quinoa Salad

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The finished product~
After all that holiday cheer (turkey pies, bacon based salads, and wines of all kinds), it might be time to get back to basics...like vegetables, and primary colors. This cold quinoa salad has both of those things, and is really easy to make. Though he might just be trying to placate me, M said he liked this one too. I adapted this recipe from a recipe on a box of Casbah quinoa...it didn't look like it would have enough crunch or flavor as it was originally intended, so I adjusted some quantities and ingredients to make up for that:

Fluff your quinoa to give it texture and to
make it grainy









First, cook up your quinoa (225g, or 1.5 cups):
To do this, bring 3 cups of vegetable broth to a boil.
Then add your quinoa to the broth; stir, and reduce the heat to low. Allow this to cook for between 15-20 minutes: you want the water to be completely absorbed by the quinoa.
When cooked, fluff the quinoa with a fork.
Let the quinoa cool while you prepare the rest of the salad ingredients.






In a large bowl combine:

Half a cucumber (I prefer skin intact) - thickly sliced and quartered
3-4 stalks of celery  - sliced
1 quart grape tomatoes - halved
1 yellow pepper - roughly chopped
(half a red onion would probably delicious chopped into this, though I didn't do so myself)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (you could up this even, especially if you love parsley, and go to 1/2 cup)









In a small bowl, whisk together:
Apple Cider Dressing
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
4 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1.5 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 or 4 good cracks of black pepper



Once the quinoa has cooled, combine it with the vegetables. Drizzle the dressing over the mixture and let sit in the fridge for a few hours to let the flavours settle.

A nice touch would be to add 2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach to the mix before serving.




Delicious Quinoa and Sweet Potato Soup

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Today we're welcoming my friend Sandra to our blog! Being an avid cook (and a great one at that), she's kindly agreed to share with us this AMAZING quinoa and sweet potato recipe!

**NOTE: The picture is one I took when I made the recipe last week - with broccoli addition (read on)**

I grew up in a traditional Lebanese household watching my mother cook. Almost every day after school I’d watch her wash, chop, season and stir meal after meal. She cooked a lot of Lebanese dishes from memory and seasoned our food based on taste. But she was curious and adventurous when it came to food, so it wasn’t uncommon for her to clip recipes out of magazines, newspapers or get recipes from friends that ended up on our kitchen table to eat.

I did not start to cook until I moved out of my parent’s home, which compared to most, was late in life. So it took a while for me to come into my own as a cook and realize I’d inherited my mom’s curiosity about food.
Teaching myself how to cook helped shape the way I approach making meals. I believe that if you can read you can cook; recipes are guides – don’t be afraid to experiment; I appreciate recipes that have a few basic ingredients that are easy to find and pack a lot of flavour; use spice instead of salt but if salt is a must, use it sparingly and try sea salt.

More recently, in an attempt to avoid gluten and not rely too heavily on rice- and corn-based products, I turned to quinoa as a side-dish substitute. Coincidently, my sister gave me a cookbook dedicated to quinoa-based dishes titled, Quinoa 365 by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming.


that's cheese on the bread, didn't
feel like grating it :P

I knew this super-grain was versatile but the cookbook really opened my eyes to the range of its possibilities. Quinoa will easily take on the flavour of a marinade or sauce, add texture or flavour depending on how it is used.


The recipe that I’m sharing is a soup that uses quinoa, sweet potato and coconut milk as its main ingredients. I’ve served this dish to friends and family with a broad range of eating habits and it has been a hit with all of them. It is simple to make and delicious, especially the day after it’s made and the flavours have a chance to fully blend.


I encourage readers to add their own twist once you feel you’ve mastered the original recipe. Maybe add roasted carrots, broccoli or cauliflower if you’re looking for more veggies. Bacon or a smoky sausage might add an interesting flavour and some extra protein.

Happy cooking!



Ingredients:
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) water
  • 1/2 cup each (125 ml) diced onion and quinoa
  • 3 cups (750 ml) vegetable stock
  • 1 cup (250 ml) coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp each (1 ml) cayenne pepper and chili powder
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) plain yogurt (optional as topping)
  1. Wash, peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 2-3 inch pieces. Boil 5-6 minutes just until soft not mushy.
  2. Place water and onion in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook until the onion softens, about 7 minutes.
  3. Stir in the quinoa and vegetable stock and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for another 15 minutes, until the quinoa is cooked.
  4. Add sweet potatoes to the saucepan. Puree the mixture either by hand blender or wait until cool and puree in 2 batches using a blender or food processor.
  5. Return to low heat and stir in the coconut milk. Reheat slowly on low, adding the cayenne and chili powder.
  6. Serve with yogurt (optional).
Thanks Sandra for the wonderful recipe! I actually added broccoli to mine and it was a success! :) Note that if you'd like to freeze this recipe, feel free to do so (it's just as good!!). Once you want to eat it, defrost it in the microwave (adding a dash of water) and then simmer it in a large pot until the soup is back to it's normal consistency.

Enjoy!

- CK

Easy Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

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As a New Year's resolution, A and I decided to work on our diet. He's been wanting to include healthier foods and essential nutrients in his diet, but when cooking isn't your favorite thing to do, that goal can be hard to achieve. That's why we decided that once a week - preferably on Sundays, we'd cook at least 4 full meals for the week - as we both like to indulge in a little take out once in a while or are often invited to family suppers.

In any case, last Friday was our first cooking day during which we prepared a lasagna, spinach pies, an amazing quinoa, sweet potato and broccoli soup recipe (our first guest blogger will be posting up this recipe very soon!), a pad thaï for that night's supper, as well as today's special: roasted chicken drumsticks with potatoes and carrots. To create this delectable meal for 6-8 portions, get:
  • A large box of 15 chicken drumsticks
  • 5 large Russett potatoes
  • 4 large carrots
  • 3/4 cup of olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3-4 tbsp italian spices
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Put your drumsticks in a bowl and rince. Spread about 1/2 tbsp of salt on them and mix well.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Peel and cut your potatoes into cubes (or however you fancy your potatoes, cutting them in cubes makes for more portions).
  4. Peel and cut your carrots into large slices.
  5. Place your carrots and potatoes in a large roasting pan. Place the drumsticks over them.
  6. Add a dash of pepper and your italian spices.
  7. Cover the roaster and cook for approximately 2 hours, or until your chicken is cooked.
That's it. Easy peasy! The long part is mostly the cooking itself. It's a great meal to prepare in advance and freeze up. If you do pick that option, make sure your meal is cool before putting it in the freezer. Once you just can't wait to eat it anymore, take it out of the freezer and stick it in the fridge that morning. Before you eat it, put it back in the oven for about 20-30 minutes - or heat it up in the microwave.

Enjoy! :)

-CK

A Surprisingly Delicious Vermouth Cocktail

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Well the holidays have passed us by at last, and I hope yours were super. Mine sure were. The holidays do have a way of tapping out my liquor cabinet (okay...the "desk" that is covered with a "bar" instead of my "work"...whatever) though, leaving my household with strange remnants to mix together in time for our Californication marathons (when you REALLY need a stiff drink). Here's a fun little cocktail I concocted on one such evening with minimal ingredients (read: liquor leftovers...this is probably the first installment in a series of cocktail versions of what to do with the weird food left in your fridge), just in time for Duchovny!

  •  Fill a Tom Collins (or in my case, wine) glass (cause I'm a class act) with ice. (Admittedly, my ice to liquor ratio is a little indulgent in the photograph...it's pretty potent flavorwise  though - especially if you have any hesitation about consuming vermouth as a base liquor...I sure don't ;) - so I think you'll appreciate the  extra ice)
  • Add one part sweet vermouth to 1.5 parts Triple Sec 
  • Fill the glass with Club Soda and a good squirt of lemon juice



Believe it or not, this tastes kind of like Coke, but warms the belly like nobody's business. 



Exciting Post-Holiday Broccoli Salad Update!!

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So a few months back I posted a slapdash version (not that there's anything wrong with slapdash...amirite?) of my very own personal momma's broccoli salad - one that's been a holiday favorite chez our house since she made it for the first time a few years ago. So, this Christmas she asked me to make it to save her some chopping time, and sent me the recipe (no slapdashery at Reddick family Christmas). Much to my dismay I realized how very different her salad actually was from the one I'd put together here. BUT this can be good! Cause that one's yummy...and so is this one!


This salad takes a little chopping time, but the ingredients keep nicely once chopped. After this Christmas no less than SEVERAL boys asked me for this recipe. BOYS asked for SALAD. So, you know it's good :)

This is the body of the salad, but the original also calls for bacon. Probably a shit ton of bacon.

1 large head broccoli (or, two small heads) (cut into small pieces)
2 cups red grapes (cut in half)
1 cup celery (large dice)
1/2 cup onion (minced as thin as you can)
2/3 cup slivered almonds (lightly toasted)


I doubled that for our family dinner of 13 guests. Notably, this salad keeps fairly well, and makes a great lunch, (probably even greater with aforementioned bacon) so it's nice to make up a double batch and keep it in the fridge.

Try not to think about the dressing too much: it's a combination of mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar. The amounts are sort of up to personal taste, though it's mostly mayonnaise.


To dress the doubled ingredients, you're looking at roughly:

1 cup of mayonnaise
1/3 cup of sugar (though I always use a little less of this than even I call for here)
2 tablespoons of vinegar


Add it to your mix of veggies in spoonfuls only until it's as coated as you like it - I find that these amounts are the easiest to get the right tangy to sweet proportion of, but make a bit too much dressing to actually use. Another suggestion then, is to just keep these proportions in mind, and sort of wing it with the dressing, tasting as you go. It always turns out delicious, so don't sweat it :) I'll post a picture of mine the next time I make it (M ate all the leftovers, which is a very very good sign).




Add in the toasted almonds last.

 Happy (late) new year from Stute Kitchen! Stay tasty ;)






Tasty Bruschetta

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As you may have noticed while reading our blog, our group of friends is very big on potlucks. With recipes such as our Light Veggie Dip and our Spinach, Pair and Parmesan salad, our get togethers are always quite tasteful.

But when you need to bring a plate of food to a whole bunch of hungry men for Hockey Night in Canada, you need to make sure that the food you bring is finger licking good. As such, I prepared a nice bowl of bruschetta for the event, served with a toasted baguette. This recipe is sure to please your bunch of hungry men! ;)


Ingredients (yields around 24 portions):
  • 6-7 tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2.5 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tsp dry basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 french baguette
  • margarine/butter
How to:
  1. Boil the tomatoes for 1 minute in boiling water just removed from the burner, then drain the water and remvoe the skins off the tomatoes. (that's probably the most tedious part. Don't worry if you didn't remove ALL the skin. Just remove as much as you can)
  2. Cut your peeled tomatoes in halves then in quarters and remove the seeds and juice from the center. (I won't lie, that's also tedious...)
  3. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
  4. Chop your tomatoes finely.
  5. Put the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt and paper, and basil in a bowl and mix well. Adjust your dressing portions depending on your taste.
  6. Cut your baguette into slices and coat one side with margarine/butter. Place on a cookie sheet, margarine/butter side down and toast for 5-6 minutes.

I will admit that the tomato cutting part takes longer than expected. I'd safely put aside around 1 hour to prepare this recipe. Once it's ready though, serve and enjoy your friends' faces while they eat up your cooking skills! :)

- CK

Olive Oil tips from Metro Ontario

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 Via the good people at Metro Ontario this morning!
Olive oil is a healthier alternative to butter and hydrogenated oils because it’s high in monounsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients? Keep these tips in mind to get the most out of your olive oil:

1. Choose a "virgin" or "extra virgin" olive oil, not "refined"
2. Store in a dark, room-temperature cupboard, or in the refrigerator to preserve nutrients
3. Try to use within six months or at most a year of opening the bottle, as it can degrade over time
4. Olive oil loses much of its flavor when used in high-temperature cooking.
At home, M and I tend to use olive oil in just about everything, because we have limited cupboard space and it's usually what I pick up at the store (coincidentally, at our local Metro). Keep in mind though, that olive oil does have a distinct flavor, and so if you're going to use it in non-savory foods (i.e. breakfast pancakes, chez nous), try to pick up a variation that indicates it has a light flavor rather than an full-flavored olive oil. Olive oil is vunderbar, but it tends to clash with maple syrup ;)

Top 5 Recipes of 2011

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2011 has been a busy year for Amanda and I. When cooking was not on our minds, our full time jobs and personal lives often kept us quite distracted!

Nonetheless, we managed to cook up some pretty great recipes. Here are the top 5 that I think were quite successful, not only for us, but also according to comments we've received from readers:

#5.  The Tomato and Cucumber Salad was greatly enjoyed by many people over the last few months. The freshness of the yogourt dressing is a nice break from the hot meals that are often cooked up in the winter. This easy-peasy recipe takes about 10 minutes to make - great to whip up as a last minute addition to your meal! 

#4. The Baked Pasta with Sausage and Eggplant is a recipe that all boys will love to have before a hockey game. I know a few of them who were quite satisfied with this easy-to-make-yet-delicious pasta dish! Don't be fooled though, this pasta is not only for the boys - make sure to keep make a batch for yourself, you won't want to share that one with anybody!

#3. The Pad Thai recipe clearly was a hit in our circle of friends. With so many variations to this recipe, I am proud to say that it's made it into our top 5. Check out Amanda's comment to make this recipe a more guilt-free recipe!


#2. A great number of people were delighted by the Spinach Pear and Parmesan Salad. This salad has definitely made it to Stute Kitchen's top charts for it's nutritious and delicious flavors. Make it for your next pot luck, your guests won't be disappointed!  

#1. The Summer-Lovin' Sweet and Sour Skewers were definitely a hit last summer. I will always remember the guys' faces when they saw the big plate of skewers - they definitely did NOT expect to have such a great meal during a cottage week end! These juicy chicken and shrimp skewers are definitely keepers for next summer's bbq's!

We're looking forward to cooking new recipes this year and we hope you'll share some with us as well!

Happy new year and happy cooking!

- CK