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30Jun/12

Vegetarian For A Day.

There have always been picky eaters. Cavemen families had trouble getting their little shaggy-haired fur-clad Ugg to eat his mammoth steak. Cleopatra had to wrestle with her son, Cesarian just to get him to finish his figs. Marie Antionette and Louis XVI found their daughter Marie-Thérèse conveniently preferred cake over broccoli.

Nothing has changed. Children are still notoriously picky eaters. Thankfully I am blessed with a step daughter that loves vegetables especially broccoli. Myself, I have had a colourful past with vegetables. I tried all the old standby tricks: sneaking them into my napkin, covering them with my mashed potatoes, hiding them in my mouth and flushing them later, even tucking them in the leaf of the kitchen table and forgetting about them.

I was approached by Hidden Valley to participate in a challenge with fourteen other Canadian food bloggers. The fifteen of us are tasked with creating a recipe with ranch dressing that makes eating vegetables fun for the whole family.

When I think of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing I think of good old fashioned veggie dipping. Cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, celery, broccoli, red and green peppers and more, something I missed out on as a kid. But when it comes to picky eaters sometimes you have to hide the vegetables and dipping them isn't quite clever enough. I've become a huge fan of using ranch dressing on pizza instead of marinara sauce and I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to show you just how versatile this product can be!

So I took all my favourite dipping veggies and put them on a pizza instead. As a kid I always turned my nose up at vegetarian pizza, but I can attest that this Hidden Valley Cheese Ranch really brings out the best in vegetables. And, young or old, who can say no to pizza?

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29Jun/11

Summer Fresh.

Something I've always enjoyed about food is the vast world of creativity and artistry it opens up. Suddenly bread is stuffed french toast, s'mores are cookies, almonds are flowers, soda is cake. You are forced to look at everything from a different perspective.

When you take an ingredient or a recipe and apply it in a different way or reshape it you not only see the dish differently but also the world. Ingredients are not spices or sugars, but instead keys to a different dimension where up is down and black is white.

So when I was contacted by Summer Fresh and asked to produce an original recipe including one of their delicious dips, hummus or salads you can understand how excited I was. I have never had the opportunity to experiment with anything like hummus and I was so happy with my results. My Greek Hummus Pizza was so good!

Today you can see mine and many other yummy recipes using Summer Fresh products on the Summer Fresh Facebook page. Just for liking one of those recipes you can receive a buy one get one free Summer Fresh coupon and enter for a chance to win a Summer Fresh party kit so you can play with your food too!

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18Jun/11

For Dads Everywhere.

They say that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory. When I think of my dad certain smells indicative of dads everywhere come to mind. Cedar sawdust, freshly mowed grass, crisp soap, gunpowder, campfire smoke, soft leather, pine trees and BBQ. Especially BBQ.

Instead of making a dessert to celebrate Father's Day this year I decided to make something that dads appreciate most. Meat and lots of it. A quarter pound of beef mixed with fresh pesto and grilled to perfection. A dinner any dad would be happy to eat.

Just a little way to say thank you for all the wheelbarrow rides and movie nights. Photography advice and piggy back rides. Butter and sugar on soda crackers. Guitar solos and surround sound. Blueberries and Carnation milk. For patiently sitting through makeovers complete with hair gel and bobby pins. Target practice at the gun club. Grapefruit and Led Zeppelin. Extra rare filet mignon and Lipton noodle packages. Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.

I love you dad! Happy Father's Day!

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24May/11

How To Tuesday: Chopped.

I gave myself a much needed manicure and set about showing you the easiest, fastest and most efficient way to chop an onion.

First let's talk about knives. I would suggest using a chef's knife or santoku. It's very important to use a knife that you're comfortable with. Not too big, not too small, not too heavy and not too light. Consider yourself the Goldilocks of knives. It's dangerous to use a knife that isn't comfortable in your hand because you can easily cut yourself. I enjoy my set of KitchenAid knives because they are light and solid with an ergonomic handle that fits perfectly in my small hands. Lee prefers his set of Henckels knives because of their heft and large wooden handles that are perfect for his large hands.






































Now, there's a sweet spot at the base of the handle that's meant to grip with your thumb and first finger. This is the natural point of balance between the blade and the handle that makes it easy to rock the knife back and forth.

Lop off the end of the onion then turn it on it's end and slice straight through the root leaving you with two equal halves. Peal the skin off the one half and set aside other other.






































Make three to four horizontal slices toward the root but not through it. Place it face down and make a few vertical cuts perpendicular to the horizontal ones, making sure to leave the root intact once again.






































Pivot the cutting board and, with your fingers curled in for protection from the sharp blade, chop the onion across the vertical cuts. Discard the chunk of root and marvel at your perfectly chopped bits of onion.








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6Oct/10

Apples and Cranberries and Pears! Oh My!


I must have The Wizard of Oz on the brain or something. Imagine if Dorothy, Scarecrow and the Tin Man had encountered these fearsome fruits on their journey along the yellow brick road. I'd say that's preferable to lions, tigers and bears.

But then again, that would probably make for a pretty lame movie. More like Veggie Tales than the story we all know and love.

Maybe if Dorothy could have tasted this Pear Walnut Salad or this Apple Cranberry Chicken she wouldn't have been in such a hurry to get back to Kansas. I'm betting Auntie Em didn't know how to make Apple Cheese and Potato Cakes like me. Just saying...

As promised here are my recipes for the entrée of my Autumn Dinner Party. I could have separated them into three different posts, but why leave you in suspense? I'm not a cruel person. Also they're best enjoyed altogether, so here you go!

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