Archive | July, 2013

Iced Almond Milk Latte

19 Jul
Iced Almond Milk Latte

Iced Almond Milk Latte

We are under extreme heat alert.  Toronto is sizzling!  At 9:30 am the temperature already reached 30 C and factoring in the humidity if felt close to 40 C.  A tall glass of iced cold coffee in a morning is my remedy for this scorching hot weather. I make my iced coffee with almond milk.  I switched to it over 7 years ago and never looked back Here’s another twist; – any grocery store offers almond milk  in different varieties, regular, vanilla, chocolate, sweetened and unsweetened.  All delicious and you can create different flavours. OR Try your milk over frozen coffee ice cubes!

The version below is kind to your waistline (and your wallet) 🙂

All you need is this!

All you need is this!


  • 1 small espresso
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk, unsweetened
  • ice cubes


  1. Brew a pot of espresso.
  2. Fill the glass with as much ice as will fit and add the cold milk.
  3. Add espresso and stir to combine.
  4. Refrigerate any leftovers for later.


Broccoli, Cherry Tomato, and Pesto Pasta Salad

17 Jul

 Are you suffering from a heat wave? Toronto had 4 consecutive days of high temperatures (+32C, humidex reaching to +42C). I kept close to a pool yesterday, and stayed out of a steamy kitchen 🙂  If you are suffering too, a cooling bowl of this pasta salad won’t go unnoticed!  It makes the perfect lunch or a light dinner on a hot summer day. Make this dish early in the day to allow time for the flavors to blend.  Enjoy and stay cool!

Another cooling tip:    used the same water to cook both pasta and a vegetable.  Additional bonus – it cuts down a pot to clean!

Adapted from the Flat Belly Diet Cookbook.


  • 4 oz whole wheat rotini pasta
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup packed fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup pesto
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add the rotini and cook per the package directions.
  2. Add the broccoli during the last 2 minutes of cooking.
  3. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again.  Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Add the tomatoes, onion and basil to the bowl with the pasta.  Stir the pesto and oil and toss well.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cold Pasta Salad

How do you beat this heat?

Apple-Chocolate Chip Pancakes

14 Jul

Apple-Chocolate Chips Pancakes

Great for Sunday mornings! Fluffy and moist and oh-so-sinful with all the chocolate…

Putting the chocolate chips in before cooking the pancakes may seem a little strange but they don’t sink to the bottom of the batter and are evenly dispersed and melt a lot more in the actual pancake.

For those who don’t like chocolate these pancakes will be excellent with fresh blueberries too.

Adapted from the Flat Belly Foods Guide


  • 2/3 c whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 c fat-free plain yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and grated
  • 1/3 c semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Whisk flours, cornmeal, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, yogurt, egg and oil in a large bowl until combined.
  2. Fold apple, then chocolate chips into batter.
  3. Coat large nonstick skillet with spray and heat over medium heat.
  4. Spoon 2 to 3 tbsp of the batter into skillet for each pancake.  Cook 2 minutes, or until bubbles appear on surface and edges set.  Flip to the other side.
  5. Cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.


Dinner Made Easy

12 Jul
Oven-Roasted Tomatoes & Mushrooms

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes & Mushrooms

Oven roasting brings out the incredible flavour of tomatoes and is a great method for intensifying the sweetness of just about any vegetable.  Pair some roasted vegetables with either grilled fish, chicken or steak, and some kind of salad (click here and here).  Your family or guests will be impressed!



  • 12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 16 white mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper or red-pepper flakes if you like it hot


  1. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Toss everything in a large bowl and arrange on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the tomatoes are very soft but still hold their shape.
  4. Transfer to a serving platter and serve warm or at a room temperature.
Oven-Roasted Tomatoes & Mushrooms

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes & Mushrooms

Canada’s Largest City is Now The Wettest – Toronto Storm

10 Jul
Getting ready for blackout with some coffe-flavoured Patron and sheesha

Getting ready for blackout with some coffe-flavoured Patron and sheesha

It has been a wet summer indeed but Monday storm was out of the ordinary!

I  was heading for my Hot Yoga class with a friend on Monday just as the storm was starting.   The rain was coming in Biblical proportions and I was seriously considering staying home.  My friend laughed off my concerns saying that we are going to get wet anyway.  Well, wet we got!  We walked to the studio in a gushing ankle-deep water and arrived fully soaked (even my family-sized umbrella didn’t help!).   Surprisingly, the class was full 🙂  As we got to the floor series of poses the power in the studio was out – we finished our class in complete darkness and without the heat.  Luckily my place had electricity but no hot water.  I didn’t get it back until 2 pm Tuesday – our basement became flooded and building management shut off the hot water tank as a precaution.   My friend spend the rest of her evening in a coffee shop as her place didn’t have power and she couldn’t even charge her phone.

But I can’t complain about my misadventure considering many people had it much worse.  Toronto got a record-breaking 126 mm of rain onto which flooded the city within 1 hour.  About 300,000 homes and business were without power, some of them are still without electricity even today.

There was no subway service and GO trains were stranded at some stations. Water was up to the lower deck windows, some passengers were rescued by the police Marine Unit by floating devices, then they were talking about getting the upper deck passengers out by Zip line… I am attaching some photos of the disaster taken by my friends:

Flooded subway in Toronto

Flooded subway in Toronto

This was only half the line for a shuttle bus! The line went around the corner and up the stairs outside!

Latest news – Environment Canada just issued another severe thunderstorm watch expected later this afternoon. Toronto, brace yourself one more time!




Spinach Salad with Pears, Walnuts, and Blue Cheese

5 Jul

Spinach Salad with Pears, Walnuts, and Blue Cheese

This is one of my favourite salads, I have it at least 4 times a week 🙂

Blue Cheese goes very well with any nuts and berries or fruit.  Strawberries, melon, or peaches make suitable stand-in.  I’ve used different nuts  – almonds, pecans, and pistachios.

The combination of all ingredients is exquisite and just right for a festive table.

Adapted from the Flat Belly Diet Cookbook


  • 1/2 cup walnuts (or any other nuts you like)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp chopped red onion
  • 1 large red or green pear (quartered, cored, and cut into thin slices)
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins
  • 1 bag pre-washed baby spinach
  • 3 oz Blue cheese, crumbled


  1. Toast the walnuts in a large skillet over medium heat until fragrant, no more than 4 minutes.l
  2. Whisk the oil, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper in a salad bowl.  Stir in the onion, then the pear and raisins.  Add the spinach and toss to coat.
  3. Divide the salad among plates and top each with the reserved walnuts and Blue cheese before serving.

Millet Salad with Oranges, Fennel and Olives

1 Jul

Millet Salad with Oranges, Fennel and Olives

It’s a long weekend in Canada!  I just came back from a 3-day stay in Mont-Tremblant where I had this wonderful and colorful salad.  The ingredients are simple but full on flavor.  It can be eaten on its own or as a side dish.

Millet has numerous health benefits but feel free can experiment with different grains; barley or quinoa will work equally well.


  • 1 cup uncooked millet, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 large or 2 medium fennel bulbs, halved and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 large orange, washed and unpeeled, halved and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup pitted olives
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Toast millet in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and just golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and carefully add water. Return to heat and bring to a boil over medium high heat then reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed and millet is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Transfer millet to a large bowl, fluff with a fork and set aside to let cool.
  2. While your millet is cooking preheat the oven to 450 F.
  3. Lay the fennel, olives and orange slices into a pan and pour 2 tbsp olive oil over the top; toss with your hands
  4. Place in the oven to roast for about 35 minutes, or until fennel has softened and browned around the edges.
  5. Transfer the cooled millet into a large salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil with white wine vinegar and pour over the millet; stir to combine.
  6. .Fold roasted fennel, olives and orange the millet. Add salt and pepper, stir and serve.
  7. Sprinkle with chopped parsley or coriander (I didn’t have any this time).

Millet Salad with Oranges, Fennel and Olives

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