Veggie loaded pierogis

A quick and easy comfort food for the nights when you need it, while using up some veggies in your fridge. I can’t think of a better excuse to prevent food waste.

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Recipe

Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4 servings

Ingredients

24 pierogies (your favourite brand & flavour)
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup of pickled jalapeños or 1 fresh jalapeño, diced
1 cup shredded kale
1 cup of shredded cheese (substitute vegan cheese, if you wish)
1 tbsp of olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°C.
  2. Boil pierogies in water, as directed by the instructions. Chop up the vegetables while the pierogies are cooking. Once they are finished, drain and set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil over medium heat in an oven safe skillet. Add pierogies and cook until sides are crispy, about two minutes each side.
  4. Spread pierogies out in an even layer over the pan, then top with vegetables. Sprinkle cheese all over.
  5. Place skillet in oven and cook until cheese is melted, about 5-7 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately.

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– Magical Properties –

A versatile, quick and easy dish. Try out some of the combinations below or get creative with whatever is in your fridge.
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green onion, bacon, yellow pepper then drizzled with greek yogurt
diced mushrooms, spinach, fresh basi and tomatoes
black bean, avocado, red pepper and corn
olives, mushroom, green pepper and prosciutto

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Avocado & egg on a potato hash

I have never been a huge fan of going out to brunch. The odd time is great but there is something comforting about being at home in the morning on weekends. I’ve collected and created a good collection of brunch recipes because of this.

This recipe is a perfect balance of fried goodness and greens.

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Recipe

Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2 servings

Ingredients

Potato Hash
2 medium potatoes
2 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp of onion powder
1/4 tsp of garlic powder
1/4 tsp of salt
Pepper to taste

Everything Else
2 eggs
2 cups of packed greens
1 avocado, diced
feta cheese

Directions:

  1. Wash potatoes then grate with a cheese grater. You do not need to peel the potatoes.
  2. Add potatoes to a bowl with olive oil, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and salt. Mix well.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Use a cast iron pan if you have one but a regular skillet will also work.
  4. Pour potato mixture onto skillet and spread out to create a thin layer. Press firmly down on potatoes with spatula.
  5. Let the potatoes cook for 4 minutes, until crispy. Split the large potato hash in half, then flip and cook on the other side for an another 4 minutes. You want to ensure that the hash is cooked all the way through.
  6. While the hash is frying, cook the eggs to your preference. I recommend over easy to get a nice yolk drizzle on the hash.
  7. Split greens over two plates. Place potato hash on top of greens followed by the egg. Finish with adding the avocado and feta cheese.
  8. Serve & enjoy.

*Adding a slice or two of bacon on top of the hash would an excellent addition.

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– Magical Properties –

Potatoes are often lumped into the bad food category but are quite the opposite. These delicious nuggets are a decent source of fibre & protein while also rich in Vitamin C, B6 and potassium. The more you process them, the lower their nutrient quality will become so aim to have them in whole food form more often. That doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a potato chip though (which is my favourite food, by the way).
Potatoes are one of the most versatile & delicious foods on the planet and I strongly encourage you to include them in your diet.

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Dressed up oats

For most the word oatmeal conjures up a tasteless gruel served at summer camps or in your grandparents kitchen. I promise you it can be so much more than that. If we are home on a Saturday morning we will cook up a pot of oatmeal without fail. I find it so comforting likely due to the fact it’s also what my parents usually make on Saturday’s. My dad’s speciality? Adding apples to the oats while they are cooking.

Below is the quickest base recipe for making dressed up oats to your liking. You will never go back to plain oats again.

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Recipe

Time: 20 minutes
Serves: Makes 2 bowls

Ingredients

1 cup of rolled oats, cooked according to package*
1/2 cup of your fruit of choice
1/4 cup of something creamy (kefir, yogurt, oat milk, coconut yogurt)
1/4 cup of something nutty (walnuts, almonds, hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds)
1/4 tsp warming spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice or a combination)

Directions:

  1. Cook rolled oats according to package. If you wish to add any fruit while it’s cooking, add at the same time you add the oatmeal. You may have to cook a little longer than the suggested cook time.
  2. Once oats are cooked, take off heat and stir in your warming spices. Let the oatmeal cool slightly before portioning.
  3. Portion into two bowls, and top with something creamy (kefir is my favourite), fruit and something nutty.
  4. Serve & enjoy.

– Magical Properties –

Oatmeal is packed full of nutrients that will support your health including soluble fibre, protein, thiamin, magnesium and iron. Add fruits or nuts for an even more powerful breakfast.

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Notes
* Use any oats to your liking


Chicken & basil rice paper rolls with homemade peanut sauce

We are all strapped for time hence meals that work well as leftovers can be an absolute blessing. These rice paper rolls will satisfy your taste buds and pack up easily for lunch the next day. The Chinese 5-Spice blend brings together a perfect balance of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel and Chinese coriander, while the basil keeps it fresh. Paired with a homemade peanut sauce, you might be tempted to eat all 12 at once.

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Recipe

Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4. Makes 12 spring rolls, with 3 per serving.

Ingredients

Rolls
1 package extra lean ground chicken (approximately 600 grams)
1 tbsp canola oil
1 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp of Chinese 5-Spice
1 large carrot
8 radishes
1 english cucumber
1 bunch of basil leaves
1 bunch crisp romaine lettuce or leafy greens

Peanut Sauce
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (or whatever you have on hand)
1 lime, juiced
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp fish sauce (optional)

Directions:

Rolls

  1. Add 1 tbsp canola oil to large pan over medium heat. Add package of ground chicken, breaking meat up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Once cooked through, drain excess fat and return to heat.
  2. Mix together chicken stock and Chinese 5-Spice. Add to ground chicken and reduce heat to a simmer. Let mixture simmer uncovered for approximately 10 minutes, or until broth has slightly thickened. Set aside.
  3. Peel and slice carrots into small matchsticks, also known as a julienne cut.
  4. Slice radishes into small matchsticks.
  5. Cut cucumber in half and remove seeded middle. Cut remaining cucumber into small matchsticks. *Side note: You can also add the carrots, cucumber and radishes to a food processes on medium grate. The result still works, but will be slightly more watery vegetable mix.
  6. Wash and tear lettuce into 12 pieces about the size of your hand. You want pieces large enough that the vegetables can be rolled into it.
  7. Add chopped carrots, radishes, cucumber and 1-2 basil leaves to middle of lettuce leaf, rolling to make a lettuce wrap. Complete all 12 and set aside.
  8. Take rice paper and wet under cold water. Place onto flat surface and rub rice paper with fingers until it begins to soften. Once soft, place 1 rolled lettuce leaf with 2 heaping spoonfuls of chicken towards the back of the rice paper.
  9. Bring the back of the rice paper over mixture, and then fold in sides. Continue to roll the mixture forward so that the rice paper wraps around mixture. Repeat until you have 12 rolls.
  10. Serve 3 rolls with a side of peanut sauce as a main. Pair with a salad for a complete meal.

Peanut Sauce

  1. Make while chicken is simmering to save time.
  2. Whisk together peanut butter, lime juice, water, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger and fish sauce in a medium bowl until fully blended.
  3. Cover and place in fridge until serving.

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Roasted sweet potato & barley salad with lemon dressing

Vegetables are one the best things we can put into our body but they can be seem boring at times. I get it – steamed broccoli and carrots do get old. Enter above salad. The lemon dressing is refreshing while the barley, sweet potatoes and toasted almonds bring an earthy and nutty taste. Finished with some tang from feta cheese for a flavourful bite each time.

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Recipe

Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 2 as a main, 4 as a side.

Ingredients

Salad
3 cups leafy greens
2 cups arugula
2 small or 1 large sweet potato
1/4 cup of pearl barley, uncooked
1/2 cup of toasted almonds
feta cheese

Dressing
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°C.
  2. Wash and cube sweet potatoes. Place in bowl and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and salt & pepper to taste. Spread onto baking sheet.
  3. Add 3/4 of cup of water and 1/4 cup of barley to a pot (Tip – always cook barley at a 1:3 ratio. 1 cup barley to 3 cups water). Bring barley to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce  to a simmer and cover for 30 minutes. Barley is finished when  water has been absorbed and the texture is light and fluffy.
  4. Place sweet potatoes in the oven when you have started to simmer the barley, as these should both be finished at around 30 minutes.
  5. Roughly chop almonds. Toast in frying pan on medium heat for approximately 3 minutes. Set aside.
  6. For the dressing, whisk together lemon, olive oil, pepper and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
  7. When barley and sweet potatoes are finished and slightly cooled, add to leafy greens/arugula with toasted almonds. Whisk lemon dressing and add to salad. Mix until dressing evenly covers salad.
  8.  Once plated, top when a sprinkling of feta cheese .

* Add meat, fish, poultry or tofu for an extra protein boost.

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– Magical Properties –

It’s easy to always reach for the same grain especially when they can be sensationalized in the media as food that cures all (I’m looking to you, quinoa). The reality is that all grains bring something to table. Barley is fantastic for your health in a few ways, one being its soluble fibre content. Simply put, soluble fibre moves slowly through your GI tract due to its gel-like texture. This is particularly beneficial as it helps to keep you full, reduces cholesterol levels, moderates blood sugar levels and helps keep you regular. Barley is also a source of folate, iron and magnesium.

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Grandma Rice’s ranger cookies

Hot water, Wendy’s and the old Zeller’s restaurant are just some of the things that remind me of my Great Grandma Rice, but I am most nostalgic when I’m enjoying her ranger cookie recipe. Thankfully kept alive by my mother, these cookies were a favourite childhood treat of mine.  A recent craving led me to wipe up a batch of mine own.

Boy, how I have missed these tasty coconut treats.

Recipe

Time: 25 minutes
Serves: Makes approximately 24 cookies

Ingredients

3/4 cup of butter, softened and cut into small chunks
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 cup quick oats
1 cup rice krispies
1/2 cup shredded coconut, sweetened

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°C and set two baking sheets aside.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar until you get a light fluffy mixture. (If you are unsure of this technique, see below). Stir in egg and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining dry ingredients and then add to butter mixture.
  4. With a wooden spoon (or hands), mix batter together until fully combined.
  5. Using about 2 tablespoons of batter, form small balls and place on baking sheet 2 inches apart. Flatten dough slightly once on baking sheet.
  6. Bake in oven for approximately 12 minutes, or until cooked through.

– How to Cream Butter and Sugar  –

Creaming butter and sugar together will help disperse sugar through the batter while incorporating air to get a light fluffy texture. To do this, combine softened butter and sugar in a large bowl. Using a stand or hand mixer, blend together until you have a light fluffy mixture. This can also be done with a wooden spoon but takes some arm work.

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French-toasted baguette topped with strawberries & coconut flakes

I grew up with my Mom’s homemade french toast made from baguettes and would never switch to the more traditional thick bread slices. What I like about using smaller pieces is that you get a bit more surface area to taste that deliciously crunchy outside, while keeping it light and fluffy inside. Serve with a slice or two of bacon for a perfect Saturday brunch.

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Ingredients

1 small French baguette
3 eggs
¾ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 quart of strawberries (about 4 cups sliced)
¼ cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tbsp butter
maple syrup, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°C. Spread coconut flakes evenly on a baking pan. Set aside.
  2. Wash and slice strawberries into quarters. Set aside.
  3. Cut baguette into 12 even slices and arrange in large glass pan.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  5. Pour egg mixture over bread slices. To make sure they are soaked through, leave soaking in egg mixture for approximately 3 minutes, turning over once.
  6. Melt butter over medium heat on a frying pan.
  7. Once bread is soak through, place slices on frying pan without crowding the pan. You may need to cook in two batches.
  8. Cook for about 2 minutes each side, until a dark golden brown.
  9. Once the French toast is cooking, place coconut flakes in oven for approximately 5 minutes, taking care to make sure they don’t burn.
  10. Once French toast is cooked, plate 3-4 pieces per person and top each plate with 1 cup strawberries and 1/3 of toasted coconut flakes.

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– Magical Properties –

It might not be the lowest calorie or highest fiber breakfast, but this recipe can definitely provide you with a nutrient boost on a Saturday morning. Strawberries are they star of the show by providing all of your vitamin C needs in one serving of this recipe. This nutrient is important in collagen formation, strengthening bones and blood vessels,  supporting your immune system and acting as a powerful antioxidant. These bad-ass fruits are also low calorie and contain small amounts of folate, magnesium and manganese for added power.

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