Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mason Jar Salad

As usual, I am way behind the trend. I have been wanting to make Mason Jar Salads for a while and had been saving recipes for them on my Pinterest boards. Finally, I got a big box of mason jars at a garage sale ( at the sweet price of $1 for the lot), put them through the dishwasher and decided to give it a go. You can also buy jars at your local hardware store or just save and re-use jars you have. 

You can pretty much use whatever ingredients you want and layer them. This is a variation on a Caprese pasta salad. Start with a dressing on the bottom, then put tomatoes or some veggies, then a grain or pasta and keep layering up, ensuring that leafy greens are the top layer, and trying not to leave too much empty space in the jar. 

The great thing about using these jars is that you can make a few in advance and they keep the ingredients nice and fresh. Very handy for lunches. 

Pesto- I just blended basil, oil and pine nuts
( I think traditional pesto also has a  garlic)

Diced tomatoes

Pasta, cooked and tossed lightly in oil with salt and pepper

Peas, cooked

Fresh Mozzarella 

Fresh Spinach

My mom had bought me these lids a while ago and they work perfectly for mason jars.  I was so happy that I remembered where I was storing them and that they fit! Ahh...when the stars align like that.. :) They are great because they don't leak so you can really shake up the jar to mix up the salad before eating it  Apparently the metal ones that come on the jars can be a bit of a pain and can sometimes leak.


These are from a Hardware store in Boston, although they should sell something similar in Canada.

I mixed up my salad and poured it out onto a plate for lunch.  If you are on-the-go, eating it out of the jar would work fine too.  It was so delicious! I can't wait to eat and make more of these!

Stay tuned for more mason jar salad ideas!


Monday, June 08, 2015

Product Review: Barking Barista Coffee


This weekend, I went the Ottawa Veg Fest. I had been a few times before, minus last year since for some reason they didn’t have it. In the past, it was held at the Glebe (usually the Glebe community centre, I believe). This year, they hosted it at the RA centre. It was a lot larger at this new location than I remembered in the past with a lot more vendors.

Usually, you see the same vendors every year. This year, there was something new that caught my eye that I wanted to tell you all about: Barking Barista Coffee


First of all, their coffee is amazing. Initially, I had bought a coffee from the canteen at the RA centre, not knowing that this was around. Upon trying a sample, I tossed the other one out and got one from them. Life is too short for bad coffee.

I also sampled their cold brew and bought a bottle to take back home. I’ve only had cold brew coffee three times before, but this one was really good. The cold brews I’ve had before either tasted like pure cold expresso, or just iced coffee, and neither was carbonated. This was carbonated, and had a rich, yet not overbearing flavour.

Another very important thing is that they are passionate about helping dogs, and a portion of their sales goes to dogs in need. I think it’s a great cause, and we don’t come across enough of people doing these. It’s another added bonus on top of the already great coffee they make J Now  I am on the lookout for a coffee roaster that helps cats in need! XD

Restaurant Review: Hareg Ethiopian Restaurant


As the summer time is here, I’m guessing that most of us would want to spend less and less time inside cooking over a hot stove. Eleanore decided that it would be a good idea to review restaurants around Ottawa instead.

I want to tell you about this great new find that I discovered last weekend. It’s called Hareg Café and Veggie, located in the Glebe. It’s very tiny and hidden, and given the name, you would probably not realize it’s a restaurant, but it is one of the best restaurant experiences I had in a while in Ottawa.

My foodie friend actually found out about it online and recommended that we try it. We had both only tried Ethiopian food once and both didn’t like it, so we were skeptical. Nonetheless, we decided to give it another shot. We were glad we did because the experience was fantastic!

First of all, the atmosphere was really nice. They had a great ambiance immediately when walk in. Nice décor, but not overbearingly so. There was an area at that back that’s sort of a sitting area, which we initially didn’t know what it was for (more on that in a minute).

The restaurant itself was not that big, and it was pretty quiet. We went at around 7:45pm on a Saturday night and we were a table of 4. We stuck around until about 9:30pm or so and there was only one other small table of three beside us the entire time. It’s a shame that no one else knows about this place yet. I guess right now it’s a secret gem!

The sign for the restaurant says veggie restaurant and café, so initially we were worried because there were others there for dinner that would be really unhappy if there was no meat. But have no fear! They do have meat!

You can either get a la carte, or on Fridays Saturdays, and Sundays, they have buffet for dinner. The buffet is $8.99 for vegetarian section only, and $13.99 for meat section, as well. Naturally, we went for the all you can eat with meat. Everything was amazing.
 

This was my plate. I thought I would be getting more, and this was just my “starter” plate, but that was all I could have. It’s amazing how filling lentils can be. Everything tasted great, really flavourful and I could say I can do without meat, because you hardly realize that it wasn’t meat at all. The only thing I thought they could have done was label the food items, because we weren’t really sure what exactly type of yummy food we were eating.

The injera was really good as well. Injera is sourdough flat bread with sort of spongy texture that you eat the lentils, sauces, veggies, etc. I never liked it that one other time I tried Ethiopian food, and neither did my friend, but we both agreed that it was delicious this time around.

The buffet comes with coffee, which the lady prepares fresh. She does a full on coffee ceremony for you. After dinner, you can go to the back and sit around her to watch her prepare the coffee (which is what that area at the back is for!). She shows you the raw green beans that she makes the coffee with, lets you smell the freshly roasted beans, grinds it, and serves it to you. It was cool watching the whole process.


She apologized for not having popcorn that day, to which my friend and I looked at each other and was like, did we hear wrong? Popcorn? We googled it afterwards, but apparently the coffee is normally accompanied by popcorn.

It was a great experience overall. The lady there was very nice, the service was excellent, the food was great, and the price was great.  Hareg was actually doing a demonstration on lentils the past weekend at the Ottawa Veg Fest! Unfortunately, we had just missed the demonstration when we went, but it's nice to see that the restaurant is getting out there. I highly recommend checking it out for food or coffee. I will definitely be going there again.

Red Juicie



I wasn't sure whether to call this a smoothie or a juice.. I don't have a juicer, so it isn't a pure juice, but it doesn't have milk or much added liquid to it and is thinner than what I'd consider a traditional smoothie. So voila- a juicie.

I make it in the Nutribullet, but it can be made in any blender or juicer.

This is definitely my favourite these days. Especially after a week (..fine several weeks) of over indulging.

Super easy:
- 2 cooked beets (I use love beets from Costco-so conveniant!!) + beet juice from the package
- carrots or baby carrots
- 1 apple
- fresh ginger
- lime juice to taste
- water (if needed to blend)

blend up, enjoy!

Monday, June 01, 2015

Les Fougères- Restaurant Review

Happy first of June everyone!

I haven't posted in a while, as I haven't been cooking or baking too much. Although I have now started to get back into it and it feels so great. Sometimes I just make tried and true recipes and don't have anything new to share. This weekend, I made some Madeleines. Hopefully I will have some new recipes coming your way as well as more restaurant reviews and some more giveaways. Stay tuned!

I thought I would tell you about a great restaurant that my family loves to go to: Les Fougères 

It is located in Chelsea, Quebec (about a 20 minute drive from downtown Ottawa) and the food is delicious. I went there with my parents for Mother's day a few weeks ago and we had various different things from the mother's day menu. Here are some photos:

Soup
Minted pea soup; maro pesto; pine nuts; pea shoots; olive oil

Appetizers


Salade fougères- mixed greens; home cured and smoked bacon;
fresh papineauville chevre; homemade vinagrette

Smoked quail; pickled cucumber; avocado; sesame;
sweet and sour red paper vinaigrette
Mains

Sockeye Salmon; asparagus; fiddle heads; morels; mushrooms;
cheddar pancetta; softly cooked egg yolk

Sous vide lamb shoulder and pan seared tenderloin; tzatziki; olive
tapenade; feta; potato pave,; spring greens; smoked lamb jus

Confit de Canard; roesti potato; fresh Floralpe  goat cheese;
poached pear; spinach and partridgeberry compote

Desserts


Maple Syrup Pie; homemade maple ice cream;
maple profiterole

Flourless chocolate terrine with apricot gelato
and cassis compote
As you can see the presentation is just beautiful. The ingredients are local, fresh and paired to compliment each other perfectly.


To finish off the night, the waiter brought my mom and me each a flower for mother's day. What a nice touch!




The restaurant is on the pricey side (Mother's day Table d'Hote is $55/person), but for the value, it is well worth it. The service is great and the atmosphere hard to beat.  I would recommend Les Fougères for any special occasion.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Liebsteinsky - Review

I've come to terms with me not putting in the time and effort to cook, especially when I'm at work all day and get home super late from the gym, which is when I whip up some veggies with some sort of protein. 

Due to all of this I've decided to start taking photos of the food at the different restaurants I go eat at or get takeaway from for lunch at the office.

Liebsteinsky is what I've decided to start off with. For anyone in Vienna, Austria go HERE! It's at Schubertring 6 and absolutely lovely. There's outdoor seating as well as the inside of the restaurant opening it's huge glass windows allowing the inside and outside to connect making it one big winter garden ?

I had the Chèvre Salad consisting of green salad, grilled goat cheese (two big pieces I may add), orange dressing, pieces of orange, tomatoes and basil.

This salad is something I've been craving for a while now so I was glad when a friend recommended it to me and even happier when it tasted as good as it smelt! 


A bit of the inside, nice and light and clean :) 


My delicious salad, I cherished every bite.

Liebsteinsky is open Monday - Friday 11:30 - 00:00 and Saturday 17:00 - 00:00 

Address: Schubertring 6, 1010 Vienna.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Key Lime Pie



I  have not been cooking or baking much lately. Life has been go go go and I have been catching meals where I can and haven't been in my own kitchen too much. It seems like once the weather warms up and spring hits, there is just so much to do. This was a long cold winter, and I am glad we are starting to see the light..

On that note, nothing says summer like a key lime pie. Tamara asked if we could make one to surprise Matt for his birthday. It was easy enough to make, and went especially fast with two people. We were a good team and it didn't take us long. The recipe is inspired by Ricardo's recipe.

The only labour-intensive part was squeezing the juice of all the little key limes. One cup of  juice is a lot!
our hard work

Tamara prepping the graham crust
The crust and filling 
Lighting the Candles

Happy Birthday Matt! 


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Winter Salad and Food Photography

A few weekends ago, I got together with my food photography friends and we had a great photo shoot. Thanks Deb for hosting!  I always have a nice time with this group and learn a lot from them.  It is really fun to have a set with backgrounds and lighting.  I got light stands for Christmas from D&N and now I just need to take the plunge and order some lights..

We decided to make a salad with beats, almonds, goat cheese and arugula or kale. Perfect colourful winter salad to fight the winter blahs. It has been so cold!  I know salad might not be the first thing that comes to mind on a cold day but this one is hearty and filling and a nice break from stews.

The recipe we used is from Ina Garden, Barefoot Contessa cookbook and can be found here.

Deb roasted the beats in the oven, as per the instructions. They were delicious. I actually still have beets from my fall vegetable share and they are still good. I kept them in the fridge and am amazed at how long they lasted.  If you are short on time, however, you can always pick up some of these ready-to-go cooked "love beets" from Costco or the grocery. They are super convenient to have on hand.

Here are some of my favourite shots from the day

The ingredients






The beets


Naked
Naked 2
With dressing


Valentines heart- I took this shot with Louise's camera and macro lens (I have serious lens envy)
The salad







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