Caesar salad is of course 1 of the most popular salads out there if not the most. It’s on nearly every restaurant menu and is typically made with romaine lettuce, croutons, caesar dressing and parmesan cheese. But, there are hundreds of variations and you can try different dressings, greens, and veggies. Here’s a super simple alternate- Kale Caesar Salad! For a great Iftar pairing, have this with some Chicken Corn Soup (pictured below) in this stormy weather. W.P
Whether it’s the creaminess of Wild Mushroom Risotto, the fragrance of Risotto Milanese, or the distinct nuttiness of Risotto with gorgonzola, I can’t get enough of this popular Italian first course staple. People often ask me what my favourite food is. Risotto tops the list. Always. If there is risotto on the menu, I am having it.
Interestingly enough, I have never been as fond of risotto that features meat or sea food. I prefer vegetarian options. This recipe is very near and dear to me. I have been using it for years now. I think I was 16 the first time I made it. It’s adapted from Antonio Cecconi’s book on Italian cooking. It is absolutely divine. There is no other word I can use for it.
Now, I love lemon; in fact, I am a lemon fiend but this is one case in which everyone agrees with me, that some freshly squeezed lemon juice and loads of black pepper are amazing with this creamy risotto. Zucchini and bell peppers never tasted this good. I can guarantee you that people will never forget this if you make it for them. It’s how my husband fell in love with me…
People always seem to ask me “Why are you sharing your favourite recipes online for free when you also offer catering services. I don’t get it?” and so let me tell you what my take is. Feeding people is an extension of love for me because food provides nourishment and sharing a meal is a way to bond and spend time with loved ones or build new relationships. A quick hot dog shared after a Blue Jays game, a 10 course meal at Shoto downtown and a summer barbecue have 1 thing in common- food brings people together. Yes, we offer our catering services for people who may not have the time to cook or need help with a special event, but most importantly, I truly enjoy cooking and want to share certain tried and tested recipes with you because this is a passion for me. Life has to extend beyond work, duties, and the mundane.
So I pass this recipe for Creamy Risotto with Zucchini & Bell Peppers on to you with lots of love in my heart and would love to hear what you thought about it. That would make me happiest- to get feed back from you guys. I don’t hear from you often enough.
Fair warning, this isn’t easy on the hands- do not plan any other complicated dishes if you are making a risotto in substantial quantity. A nice fresh salad and some baked chicken or grilled steak would be lovely with it. It’s a heavy item so people don’t tend to have it in copious amounts. Not that they wouldn’t if they could stay awake after of course.
I love squash. A lot of people underestimate it but it is versatile and soaks in flavours really well. I use Spaghetti Squash quite a bit, but I have not tried "pasta" with summer squash and looking at this, I will definitely have to. This is a wonderfully easy recipe Nida brings to us today that we can adapt to suit our taste buds. W.P
Oh my gosh Summer is fully in season - even though we're getting all sorts of rain (??) lol but I'm seeing lots of my friends talk about their farmers market finds and goodies. One of my favorite parts of summer is the squash and zucchini and i absolutely adore squash and zucchini noodles! The marinara is something i've been wanting to try for a while because there is nothing like fresh basil and tomatoes. If you can manage to get high quality olive oil, its well worth it in every scenario. The buttery, nutty taste of a pure olive oil really lends itself well to the sensational basil and tender tomatoes.
What you need:
2 yellow squash
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan/sea salt
6 Roma tomatoes
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes in olive oil & Italian herbs
2 tablespoons crushed walnuts
1 tablespoon garlic flavoured extra virgin olive oil (regular is fine too)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 clove garlic)
1 teaspoon onion powder (or 1 tablespoon chopped red onion)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
10-15 fresh basil leaves
1 pitted date
A few sprinkles ground pepper
A few sprinkles Himalayan/sea salt
How to prepare:
H/T: Divine Healthy Food
I used to eat Khakina/Khagina or Egg Bhurji as it is sometimes called only at my aunt's growing up and I learned how to make it from my mother in law soon after I got married. Now it has become a staple weekend breakfast. Tomatoes are optional so add them only if you like tomatoes with your eggs. My youngest son doesn’t like to eat eggs, yet he will eat this every time I make it. He thinks its Qeema (minced meat). Try it with roti, parathas, croissants or toast. It’s an extremely different way to prepare eggs and can be eaten for breakfast, brunch or dinner. Set aside about half an hour to prepare this as the onions take a while to fry and the eggs have to be cooked on low heat. It’s all worth the wait in the end when you enjoy this with paratha, achaar (Indian pickle) as you sip on your tea Sunday morning. A.K
Here's an easy way to serve up a healthy dessert and it is also perfect for the month of Ramadan. Nida goes in depth to help us understand why. Pop 1 of these at suhoor or iftar and you will have a serious jolt of energy! W.P
No bake energy bites are the best way to have fun with your kids in the kitchen and enjoy healthy treats. These no bites are packed with powerful ingredients including the superfood Maca. This will easily be the coolest "keep your kids busy for a while without electronics" activity while kids are off during the summer! The best part is how versatile they are to make. If your family doesn't care for coconut, try dusting it with cacao powder. Mix the cacao powder in stevia to make it less bitter for the kids. Use dates to make it more moist or sweet. Try it and let me know what you think!
Why I heart these ingredients:
SunFood Red Maca supplies iron and helps restore redblood cells, which aids anemia and cardiovascular diseases. It keeps your bones and teeth healthy and allows you to heal from wounds more quickly.
Cranberries contain a powerful cocktail of protective phytonutrients such as flavonoids and phenolic acids which contain protective, disease-preventing compounds that act as antioxidants in the body. Cranberries may also lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol, inhibiting LDL oxidation, lowering blood pressure and inhibiting the formation of blood clots.
Almonds are high in fat (the good kind). According to Vegetarian Times, 60 percent of the fatty acids in almonds are mono-unsaturated, a healthful fat that can reduce levels of LDL cholesterol. Almonds are also a good source of vitamin E and antioxidants. Almond skins are high in fiber, which act as a probiotic and improve digestive health and strengthen your immune system.
Coconut is a good source of iron which is crucial for the formation of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that is responsible for getting oxygen to each part of your body. Without enough iron, your cells don’t get sufficient oxygen, which can lead to weakness and fatigue.
Sea salt naturally helps you to build up a strong immune system so that you can fight off the cold virus, the fever and flu, allergies and other autoimmune disorders. It is alkalizing to the body, as it has not been exposed to high heat and stripped of its minerals, nor does it have any harmful man-made ingredients added to it.
There is a misconception spread among many people that coconut oil is not good for heart health. This is because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats. In reality, coconut oil is beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in actively preventing various heart problems like high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
2 cups Cranberries
2 cups almonds
2 cups coconut flakes
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp organic coconut oil
red/white maca powder
Mix and form into balls, dusk with coconut flakes for presentation.
Hat Tip: Eating with Sole
Ramadan is an Islamic month of the calendar and is a time when Muslims practice one of the five pillars of Islam, which is fasting. The fast lasts from sunrise to sunset so in northern countries, in the summer, that can be incredibly long. Yes, Yes, I know your first question is “But how do people fast in the Northwest Territories in the summer with 24 hours sunlight?” There is a solution to that too. You follow the country/city closest to you that does have a “night”. There are some cases in which the fasts are 21 hours long regardless. In Toronto, our fasts this year are about 18+ hours a day. It is not an easy one, but it’s absolutely doable for those of you who ask “But how!?” You realize people stay hungry for a lot longer than that all over the world right and it is without choice? Just pretend you’re even poorer than you are. Hah!
So what kind of fasting is it? We don’t eat or drink anything during the 18 hours, and we abstain from being intimate as well. Relax yourself over there Anxious Jane, you have 5 to 6 hours to eat and drink and cuddle your brains out if that’s your sort of thing. People who don’t need to fast? Anyone who is physically unable to; such as, the elderly, sick, children, travellers, or pregnant women. Who wants to mess with a pregnant woman’s food anyways? Can you imagine? Women also don’t fast during that oh so special time of the month, but wait- you have to make up those missed days any time after Ramadan. A-ha!
With regards to the effect fasting has, you may shake your head thinking, “But aren’t we supposed to eat multiple small meals a day because that is healthy for our bodies? Why are you sending your body into starvation mode only to eat all together twice and that too, late night?” It is ONE month out of an entire year. Do you really think your body won’t be there to support you when you have put it through so much? Don’t tell me you’ve never gorged on an entire packet of chips at 3 am or eaten a whole pile of butter chicken on your own. How about those chocolate bars you’re hiding in your office? In fact, fasting for part of the day allows you to eliminate toxins from your body and if you eat well/right at Iftar and Suhoor, you will feel great! The fasting time is just enough that your body first turns to glucose for energy and then to your fat stores, then to protein/muscle mass but by that time you’ll have eaten and probably started the cycle again. So the key? Eat the right things.
There are many tips on how to eat healthy and make the most of Ramadan- just do a quick google search. I personally think the easiest and most practical way to eat during Iftar and Suhoor is to cover all food groups: Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Protein, Water, Dairy, and Healthy Fats. It is easier to keep track of. Here is a good article on Suhoor foods for those of you who are not sure what to eat at 3 am. All over the world people (I didn’t say I haven’t done this) tend to feast at Iftar right up until Suhoor. What is the point then of fasting all day if you break your fast with deep fried spring rolls, fried dumplings, 10 kinds of meat, and all the desserts you don’t even normally have.
Eat real food and don’t waste your time making all those snacks and fried treats. We all plan to eat healthy but when Iftar time rolls around, oh man it’s tempting to eat the unhealthiest deliciousness first and then look at the fruit or something of the sort. To prevent this, you have to be organized. If you find it’s not easy for you to cook during your fast, cook right after Iftar! It will mean you’re not just lying around after eating. Use that time to prepare your Suhoor and Iftar for the next day. Also, just don’t dish out the other food unto your plate with your salads and vegetables. Eat your greens separately and first. It will fill you up and you won’t eat as much of that scrumptious lasagne or steak. I know some of you are looking at your phone or computer screen going “What do you mean no samosas or sambousek?” Look, you’re going to be invited for at least a couple of Iftars at someone’s house, eat that stuff then. At home or at the mosque, go for the healthy items first. It will be worth it. If I can change how I eat in Ramadan, you definitely can!
But the fast is not just for the body, it is for the mind as well! In fact, for me, it is definitely more about the latter. We’re supposed to be patient, kind, thoughtful, charitable, friendly and all things sugar and spice. That is infinitely harder to do when you are hungry, thirsty and possibly low on sleep but are working hard regardless at your job and/or at your home chores. This allows you to practice self restraint and to take everything good that you have turned into a habit during this month and carry it through the rest of the year. “But aren’t we supposed to be like that all year around?”- yeah I heard you say that. Duh. It is a month long training session to remind us what we should be like and doing it under tougher circumstances enables us to focus. It is a time to reflect on your character, behaviour and relationships, especially with God. You will notice that you’re more honest with yourself and are able to reflect on self improvement even more.
So use this time to train your mind, body and soul to learn and reinforce the right habits for your day to day life for the rest of the year until next Ramadan when you’ve forgotten it all and need another reminder. Think THIS:
Now, mandatory shameless plug please check out our recipes to see what suits your needs during this month of fasting.
P.S: Somewhere around 2025 onwards Ramadan will be super short in Canadian winter months. WIN!
I know that the meaty, chewy texture is something a lot of people love about beef ribs, but I have never been too fond of them personally. I find them too tough and the meat gets stuck in my teeth and I just don’t end up enjoying the actual flavour. But, I recently discovered a way I do like ribs. And it starts with the cut. We asked our butcher for ribs and I talked to him about my concern that we would end up with tough short ribs so he said let me worry about that and cut the ribs really, really thin so they absorb the marinade and also cook super fast, compared to slow cooking thicker cuts. He did this by cutting them the opposite way you normally would, right through the bone! Brilliant! We made 3 different recipes with the ribs. Root Beer Marinated Sweet Ribs, Korean BBQ Pan Fried Ribs, and Spicy/Tangy Masala Ribs. The latter were my personal favourite. Try them out, they will melt in your mouth! Mmm MmmMmm!
The holy month of Ramadan will be starting soon and for all those who will be fasting in these very, very long summer days, it's not always easy to work, prepare food for everyone for Iftar and to be out in the heat. We're very fortunate to have ample food, our health, the capability, and immense blessings to be able to fast comfortably but some times a little help can go a long way right? So let us do the work for you and you can spend your free time with family and on various modes of self realization and growth that is an essential part of this special month. Look at our list of specials for this month and see what sounds appealing! Call us and we'll talk more. The question really is, what will you order first?
W.P & A.K
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