Recipe : Avocado Toast

IMG_1645(1)

O M G ! I love A V O C A D O S !

Smashing it onto toast is an extra special creamy delight and  it’s nutritious too!

I originally was introduced to this concept at an Australian-inspired brunch cafe in Philadelphia and since then I’ve been hooked. If you try this out, I’m sure you will be addicted too!

Avocados are loaded with healthy heart-healthy fats, fiber and vitamins & antioxidants. Not only do they contain a variety of vitamins, but they have more potassium than a banana. Although 77% is made up of fat (oleic acid), studies have shown that this is in fact healthy monounsaturated fatty acid that can reduce inflammation and is beneficial on genes linked to cancer! Being high in fiber is also great for weight loss and to assist with blood glucose control. (reference)

img_1635.jpg

Ingredients:

  1. A slice of Bread
    • I prefer a whole grain toast with seeds – use your favourite!
  2. Butter
  3. Honey
    • I use raw honey, can either skip this step or use maple syrup, agave, etc.
  4. Half of a ripe Avocado – save the other half for the following day!
  5. Grape Tomatoes – three to four needed per slice
  6. Feta Cheese
    • a small cube is all you need, no precise recommendation, add as little or as much as you like

Instructions:

  1. Toast the bread
  2. Once toasted, smear on butter and then honey over top – this is your base and the butter and honey will give a wonderfully sweet (but not overbearing) taste to the toast
  3. Smash your 1/2 avocado and place it on the toast
  4. Cut the grape tomatoes in half and place over the avocado spread
  5. Sprinkle feta on top

Yum! Crunch crunch. Enjoy!

 

img_1633.jpg

Recipe : Quick and Easy Overnight Oats!

IMG_1644

Problem: Find yourself skipping breakfast? Not enough time in the morning to make something to eat? Hungry?

Answer: Overnight Oats!

Well, that used to be me but here is a quick and very easy fix to that problem – make your breakfast the night before! Plus there are so many different variations you can make, that it never gets boring!

Ingredients:

  1. Oatmeal – buy an instant one (I use Quaker Old Fashioned Rolled Oats)
  2. Chia Seeds/Flax seeds
  3. (optional) Nuts
  4. Milk/Dairy Substitute/Yogurt – I use coconut milk
  5. Fruit/Berries – whatever you like!
  6. Sugar/Sweetener
  7. Extras – honey, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg etc!

Instructions:

  1. Use a container that has a leak-proof lid. The beauty of overnight oats is that you can bring it with you to eat on your commute or during a break at work so you’ll definitely want to use a container that won’t spill if you throw it into your bag.
  2. Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of oatmeal to your container
  3. Add equal parts of milk to the container (i.e if you put in 1 cup of oats then do 1 cup of milk)
  4. Add a teaspoon to a tablespoon of chia/flax seeds
  5. Add your fruits or berries – can either add this before placing it in the fridge to soak or first thing in the AM after the rest has soaked – I generally put in a handful size total of fruits/berries
  6. Add your sugar/sweetener
  7. Mix in your extras such as honey, maple syrup, sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg, vanilla extract etc.
  8. Stir it all together and put it in the fridge overnight – recommend at least 8 hours to soak

That’s literally it! In the morning, you can either give it a stir and start eating it as is or  add any extra fruits/berries/toppings that you want to be “crunchier” such as sliced nuts, yum!

Ready to eat? Get out your spoon and enjoy!

 

Recipe : Gnocchi Gratin with Gorgonzola Dolce

IMG_1335Doesn’t that name sound so fancy?

See the original recipe here: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/gnocchi-gratin-with-gorgonzola-dolce

Alright, this recipe I made back in 2012 and it was delicious! I made it again a few years later and I used pappardelle instead of gnocchi, but I recommend sticking to the original recipe. It uses rosemary and Gorgonzola, two ingredients that I would’ve never thought to pair together in a creamy dish but it’s brilliant!

The recipe guides you through how to make gnocchi – it’s really easy to do but to be honest, unless you have plenty of time to spare, I recommend buying ready-made pasta so let’s skip the first few steps. If you want to make gnocci from scratch, go to the Bon Appetit website and follow from there, I have deleted those ingredients/steps from my version.

Ingredients4 to 6 Servings

  • 6 ounces Parmesan, grated – can definitely add more if you want!
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 sprig rosemary – either use fresh or dried rosemary (maybe 1 1/2 tsp if using dried)
  • 1 1/4′-thick slice fresh ginger – says slice but I find using finely grated ginger works a bit better
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 3 tablespoons fine dried breadcrumbs – measurement isn’t necessary, use what you have available
  • 4 ounces Gorgonzola dolce or other mild blue cheese – stick with this amount otherwise the cheese will overpower the dish
  • 1 bag of Gnocchi – roughly 500g

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180°C or 375°F.

Start off with a smaller pot and add the cream, rosemary and ginger. Let this boil but immediately take off the heat once boiling. Set this aside (with the lid on) for approx 30 mins to let the flavours blend together while you prepare the rest.

Now get a larger pot and boil some salted water. Add the gnocchi, these will initially sink to the bottom of the pot, but as they cook, they will float up to the surface. When they reach the top, scoop them out and put into your baking dish. The recipe recommends coating the dish with 1Tbsp butter.

Next, the recipe recommends mixing the bread crumbs, butter and parmesan in a small bowl. If you know me, you know I’m all about efficiency and using the least amount of dishes. So skip the mixing step, it’s going to be baked together so it can mix then.

Break the gorgonzola into smaller pieces and mix it up with the gnocchi. Then sprinkle some of the grated parmesan over top.

Strain the cream/rosemary/ginger mixture that you have set aside and pour it over the gnocchi/gorgonzola/parmesan. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese/butter/breadcrumbs over everything. You’re ready to bake!

Bake for about 25-35 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Enjoy! This dish is best served HOT!

IMG_1336

 

 

Recipe : Spinach and Artichoke Dip.

So cheesy and so easy.

I’ve made this recipe numerous times for friends and family, and every single time, people go back for seconds/thirds/even fourth servings and the plate is wiped clean. So many people have asked me for the recipe and I’m happy to be able to share it.

It’s super easy and simple, literally anyone can make this. I don’t really use a recipe anymore, I just throw a few ingredients together in a baking dish, mix with my hands and bake away.

The Original Recipe is from Kraft see link: Easy Spinach Artichoke Dip with Cheese. Here is my tweaked version.

  1. 1 can artichoke hearts, drained, finely chopped – don’t rinse the juices off, it adds more flavor, just drain the excess then chop
  2. 1 pkg. (10 oz.) chopped spinach – recipe says use frozen, but why? get some fresh spinach!
  3. 3/4 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese – I recommend mixing most of this with the dip, but save a handful to sprinkle on the top
  4. 3/4 cup KRAFT Light Mayo Reduced Fat Mayonnaise   – I don’t use Mayo, I use 3/4 cup plain cream cheese instead
  5. 1/2 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese I add more cheese because I just love cheese – sometimes Italian five cheese blend in addition to mozzarella
  6. 1/2 tsp. garlic powder – meh skip this step too

Heat the oven to 180°C or 350°F before you start combining ingredients.

Mix your ingredients, use a spoon, or I prefer to use my clean, washed hands.image1

Transfer the mix into a oven-safe baking dish, size doesn’t matter, use what you have available.

Bake for 15 minutes until the top is starting to get golden, then change the oven to broil for 2-5 minutes for an extra crispy top.

While it’s baking, prepare your tortilla chips or cut up pita to eat it with.

Take it out of the oven, let it cool a little bit, grab your friends and family.

(Note – the photo attached is from the first time I made this back in 2012, before my final edits and before I started adding an extra crispy broil to the Parmesan on top.)

Bon appetite, this dish is best served HOT!

This recipe is very versatile, you can add whatever you want to it and I’m sure it’ll come out great. I try to keep it simple and cheesy.

 

 

 

 

Celebrating the First Day of Spring!

#Ritas Ice : First Day of Spring !

Today, one of my work colleagues, told me about Rita’s offering free Italian Ice to customers. I had no idea what Rita’s was so I searched it up and saw that it’s their 25th annual First Day of Spring Celebration!

They offer a ton of Italian Ice flavours which change every day – ranging from Mango (customer favourite and what I got) to Jolly Rancher Watermelon to Sour Patch Kids! They also sell Frozen Custard and Gelati which is frozen custard on the bottom, with a layer of Italian Ice in the middle and a swirl of frozen custard on the top!

It was started in 1984 by a former Philadelphia firefighter who started selling flavoured ice during one hot summer from his front porch. He subsequently opened a store under his wife’s name, Rita, selling Italian Ice often mixed with chunks of fresh fruit. The store is basically famous in Philadelphia and now they’ve expanded to over 100 outlets in 9 states.

Literally every person who I asked about Rita’s, becomes ecstatic and their eyes immediately light up just talking about their favourite ice flavour.  The lady behind me in line started talking to me about how long I was waiting for and then she started asking me where I was from – I told her Canada and that it’s my first time trying Rita’s. She was proud as a Philadelphian to have been attending their first day of Spring celebration for the last 5 years. She explained to me that they have different daily flavours so I asked her what she recommends, without hesitation she said “definitely Mango!” The three younger girls in front of me overheard and added to her comment – they told me to get the Gelati- especially vanilla flavour since it’s “simply the best”.

After waiting in line for about 25 minutes, I took the locals advice and got a Mango Gelati. I have to say – their ice is very smooth.  I was a bit hesitant, thinking that it would taste artificial or have too much sugar, but I was happily taken by surprise. It was delicious and even the gelati was like a yummier version of thick whipped cream. Yum!!! I can’t wait to go back on a hot summer’s day to try another flavour of Italian Ice!