Category Archives: new flavours

Citrus Almond Meringues

Holiday feasting can get to be a bit much by the time December 25th rolls around, so sometimes it’s nice to keep dessert a little lighter. These meringues incorporate seasonal citrus flavours, and make the perfect airy end to a heavy meal. Meringues are inexpensive, easy, and super low calorie. You might say they’re the new “super food”. This recipe  makes 12-16 meringues. You’ll need:

  • peel from 1 large grapefruit and 2 tangerines
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsps slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (equal to about 4 lg eggs, but I buy them in the carton)
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup super fine sugar

Peel your fruit with a vegetable peeler so that you get just peel without the pith. Finely chop the peel, or pulse it in a food processor until you have tiny pieces. Scatter the chopped peel on a parchment lined baking sheet and dry it out in the oven for about 10 minutes at 250 degrees.

On low heat, toast your almonds in a small sauce pan tossing them frequently. Finding the perfect balance between deliciously toasted nuts and burnt garbage can be a challenge, so watch them carefully. When your almonds are slightly brown, and a nutty flavour is wafting from the pan, take them off the heat and put them in a bowl to cool. Don’t leave them in the pan or they will continue to cook (and will probably burn).

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees. In a metal mixing bowl, combine your egg whites and cream of tartar and whip on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add your vanilla, and whip on high, adding the sugar 1 tbsp at a time. Continue to whip until very stiff peaks form.

When your meringue is stiff, slowly fold in your dried citrus peel (reserve 1 tbsp) and 1/2 cup of your toasted almonds. Line two baking sheets with parchment, and drop 1/4 cup spoonfuls of your meringue mixture onto it. You can create oval shapes by filling a large spoon with meringue and scraping it off with another spoon, or just drop haphazard dollops. The great thing about meringue is that it will hold its shape perfectly without expanding, so you can be creative. Check out these Meringuebows for inspiration.

Sprinkle the rest of your toasted almonds and citrus peel on top and bake your meringues in the middle rack of the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. You can vary the time depending on how crunchy or chewy you’d like them.

Feel free to indulge in 2 or 3 (or 10) of these without feeling guilty. They’re basically air, right? I mean, you’re probably burning calories just chewing them. I’ll be sharing another meringue recipe this week, so keep your eyes peeled. Happy baking!



Filed under cookies, holidays, new flavours, relatively healthy

Food Crush: PC Cran/Raz Greek Yogurt

I go through phases where I become so completely obsessed with a food that I eat it to death. Right now, I am majorly crushing on: President’s Choice Cranberry & Raspberry Fruit on the Bottom 2% Greek Yogurt

I have been on a greek yogurt kick for the past few months, but this stuff totally kicks it up a notch. It’s indulgently rich and creamy, and the fruit bottom topping adds the perfect amount of sweet to  the tart yogurt. It’s also less expensive than a lot of other greek yogurts, so bonus there.

It is particularly delicious with a little bit of warm fruit compote on top. Just take some ripe fruit, chop it into little bits, and simmer it on the stove with a few spoonfuls of sugar. When it thickens up a bit, let it cool and spoon a few mouthfuls over your yogurt. The contrast between hot and cold is unbelievable.

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Filed under new flavours, relatively healthy

And then my dad ate a bee

The other day I made some delicious fried zucchini blossoms from a recipe in Bon Appetit magazine. The zucchini in my garden has been growing out of control, and we just can’t eat it fast enough. So I went out to harvest some blossoms to batter and fry. Little did I know that collecting the ingredients would be the most challenging part of the recipe.

Apparently bees are highly attracted to zucchini flowers. They like them so much, in fact, that some of the flowers that I picked had more than 10 bees buzzing around inside. Now, I wouldn’t consider myself a wimp, but I was panicking, envisioning a swarm of blossom-hungry bees chasing after me as I ran off with their dinner.

I managed to gather a dozen blossoms without being stung, and shook out what I thought was every last bee from the blossoms. Then I coated them in batter, deep-fried them, and served them up to my mom and dad. “Mmm, delicious,” they cooed… And then my dad ate a bee. I guess one of the little guys just wouldn’t be ousted from his blossom. Apparently bee isn’t an overly unpleasant flavour, just a hint of extra crunch.

For anyone who is willing to brave the swarms, you can find the recipe here. I swear, it’s worth the risk!


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Filed under new flavours, savory, super simple

Carrot Cake, To Go


Who doesn’t love carrot cake? It’s moist, and sweet, with thick creamy icing. And the best part is that you can trick yourself into thinking that it’s good for you, ’cause you’re eating VEGETABLES!

I’ve taken everything you love about carrot cake and packaged it up in a perfectly portable snack. My “carrot cake trail mix” can follow you to work, on a hike, just about anywhere. This recipe makes about 8 cups worth, and trust me, you’ll eat the whole batch. You’ll need:

  • parchment paper
  • 6 cups grated carrot
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups yogurt covered raisins

 Dried carrot: Preheat your oven to 250 degrees, 225 if you have convection (preferable). Toss spices, sugar and carrot together, and spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Slowly dry your carrot mixture in the oven for 2-2 1/2 hours, tossing occasionally, until almost all the moisture has evaporated. Set aside to cool.


Granola: If you wish, you can save time by purchasing 4 cups of store bought granola (without added fruit and nuts), or use this recipe. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with your oil, and set it in the oven to heat up. When the oil is hot (about 10 minute), toss in your oats until they are coated, and then spread them in a thin layer. Bake them for about 1/2 hour, then add your corn and maple syrups, coating the oats evenly. Place them back in the oven and continue to bake for another 45 minutes to an hour, tossing the mixture frequently. They will be ready when the oats are golden brown and slightly crunchy. Set aside to cool.


When your granola and carrots have cooled, toss them together in a large bowl with your yogurt covered raisins and walnuts. Keep in an airtight container for up to a week. If I were you, I would plan to take this on a very long, and very steep hike, because it’s deadly. Once you start eating, you won’t be able to stop. Enjoy! 



Filed under new flavours

Ladies Who Lunch…with Anna Olson!

Here are a few more updates on the happenings at the RWoP gathering in Toronto. I spent the morning catching up on the forums at before heading off to a lovely lunch at Scarpetta. We were accompanied to a private dining room by Anna Olson herself, and sat down to a beautiful table lined with copies of Anna’s cookbook “Fresh” which she later signed for us to take home.

The Thompson hotel’s head chef,Robert Mills, prepared a sumptuous meal of seared tuna, tender lamb, and chocolate tarte. The tables were turned when he came into the dining room to introduce himself and his dishes, as he had judged our creations at the cook-off yesterday. Everything was delectable, and in true “foodie” style, we were all snapping away trying to capture each course on camera.

Lyndsay was in full form channeling Lurleen by popular demand.

Anna moved down to our end of the table half way through lunch, and we chatted about food, travel, and of course, RWoP. She is even lovelier in person than on camera, and she personally signed each of our beautiful new cookbooks. I can’t wait to try her Blueberry Corn Toss, one of her favourite recipes from “Fresh”.

Other highlights of the afternoon included a trip to the St. Lawrence market, and a walk through the distillery district. Anna suggested we visit Soma, a chocolate shop that transforms their product from bean to bar on site. It was well worth the trip.

We finished off an incredible day by treating ourselves to the epitome of Toronto dining at Canoe restaurant. Each course was spectacular, and Chef John Horne surprised us with a tour of the kitchen. To say that the day was memorable is a major understatement. Gourmet overload!



Filed under new flavours, pop culture, Real Women of Philadelphia

Chocolate Drizzled Lavender Shortbread

As you may know, I love to cook with lavender. It is so aromatic, and adds sophistication to otherwise ordinary desserts. Lavender is also a favourite of my mom’s, and so, in honour of mother’s day, I made her these shortbread fingers infused with lavender and drizzled with bittersweet chocolate. The are buttery and subtly sweet, and the lavender flavour shines through, without being overpowering. Whether for mother’s day, or any day, these cookies are perfect for an elegant afternoon tea, a thoughtful hostess gift, or a reward at the end of a long day. Lavender is said to relax the mind, so why not whip up a batch for someone in your life who needs a break from all the hard work they do for you. This recipe will make about 30 1″x4″ fingers. You’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp lavender flowers
  • 3 cups white flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 pound room temperature butter
  • 1 1/4 cups super fine sugar (fruit sugar, caster sugar etc.)
  • 1/4 cup high quality bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line your baking pans with parchment paper so that it comes up the sides. I used one 9″x13″ pan, and one loaf pan, but you can use whatever you have around that will fit all of your dough. In a food processor, pulse lavender flowers until they begin to break down. Don’t worry if many of your flowers are still intact, the purpose of the pulsing is mainly to release their aroma.By now, your kitchen should smell like heaven.

In a medium bowl, combine your lavender with both flours and salt. Whisk the ingredients together until they are fully combined.

In a large bowl, beat butter until it is fluffy. Slowly add in sugar, and continue beating until you have a light, airy mixture. With your hands, slowly add the flour mixture, and toss it together with your fingers until you have a crumbly dough.

Spread the dough between your pans, and press it down until you have a flat, even surface. Your dough should be about 3/4″ thick. Prick holes in your dough with a fork, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove your pans from the oven, and score your dough into rectangles roughly 1″x4″. Scoring the dough while your cookies are still soft will make it easier to cut them when they are finished. Return your pans to the oven, and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

When the surface of your dough is firm to the touch, your cookies are ready. Remove them from the oven, and score them again. Once they have cooled completely, cut them into fingers.

here's my mom, observing the process (and taste testing)

Now it is time to temper your chocolate. Tempering is a process by which chocolate is heated, then cooled, and then reheated to ensure that it crystallizes in the ideal form. To melt your chocolate, place 2/3 of it in a zipper bag, and microwave it for 20 seconds. Remove the bag from the  microwave, and squish the chocolate around. Repeat this process until all of the chocolate has melted. Add the remainder of your chocolate to cool down the melted chocolate and squish it around in the bag. Once it has melted, microwave it for another 15 seconds.

Line up your shortbread fingers, cut a small hole in the corner of your zipper bag, and drizzle chocolate back and forth across your cookies. Don’t go overboard: you still want the lavender to be the star flavour. Let the chocolate cool fully at room temperature, and prepare your cookies to give or serve.

Happy mother’s day to all of the moms out there, particularly mine! I hope you take this day as an opportunity to relax, with or without the aid of lavender shortbread.



Filed under cookies, holidays, new flavours

Big News!

So, if you’ve been following my blog over the past couple of weeks, you’ll know that I have been competing in Kraft’s Real Women of Philadelphia casting competition. My last post will fill you in if you have no idea what I’m talking about. Yesterday, the second set of finalists was announced (for the side dish category) and guess what? I’M IN!!!

I am absolutely elated to have been selected. I’ll be competing in a cook-off in Toronto in July against 15 other finalists for four prizes of $20,000 and the honour of hosting Kraft’s Real Women of Philadelphia website. The recipe that won me a spot in the side dish category is called Cauliflower Creme Brulee, and you can find it here:

Before being chosen as a finalist, I submitted two other recipes to the competition that I thought I would share with you. One is an entrée, the other is a dessert, and they are both totally decadent.

First off, here is my recipe for Fully Loaded Mac and Cheese. It combines creamy, gooey mac and cheese with your favourite baked potato toppings. Holy delicious! This recipe serves about 6 people and takes roughly 45 minutes from start to finish.

You’ll need:

  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 4 cup(s) of dry pasta
  • 1 tbsp. of flour
  • 2 cup(s) of milk
  • 8 ounce(s) of Herb and Garlic Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 3 cup(s) of shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 cup(s) of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup(s) of chopped green onion
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of pepper
To prepare this dish, you can watch my instructional video below, or simply follow the written directions.
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place six slices of bacon in a large skillet, and cook on high heat for 5-10 minutes until crisp.
  2. While your bacon is cooking, place a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil, chop your green onion, and grate your cheese.
  3. When water boils, add dry pasta, and cook it
  4. When bacon is well cooked, remove it from the pan, and chop it into small bite sized pieces. Leave the bacon drippings in the skillet.
  5. Reduce the heat under your skillet, and to the drippings, add your flour and stir quickly. Once flour is incorporated, slowly add the milk and continue stirring. Now add your cream cheese, and raise heat to medium, until it is well melted.
  6. Cook your sauce mixture on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until it thickens. Add 1/3 of your grated cheese (about 1 cup), and stir until melted.
  7. In a large bowl, mix together cooked pasta, cheese sauce, and another cup of grated cheese. Add sour cream, bacon, green onion, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until pasta is evenly coated.
  8. Pour mixture into a casserole dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, and cover with remaining cup of cheese. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, then broil for 5 additional minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.
  9. Remove your mac and cheese from the oven, serve, and prepare to accept the accolades of your friends and family as they bite into your delectable concoction.
This second recipe is a dessert fondue that mimics the flavours of your favourite cheesecake. Feel free to experiment with dippers and toppings until you’ve mastered the perfect flavour combination. Depending on how much room you’ve left for dessert, this recipe will serve 4-8 people and takes about 25 minutes to make.
You’ll  need:
  • 1 cup(s) of fresh fruit per person
  • 2 cup(s) of various toppings (cookie crumbs, chocolate chips, coconut)
  • 1 cup(s) of chopped Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup(s) of milk
  • 1 tbsp. of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 12 ounce(s) of white chocolate
Again, you can follow along with my video for directions to this recipe, or just use the instructions below.
  1. Cut fruit of your choice into bite sized pieces, roughly one cup per guest
  2. Select a variety of cheesecake inspired toppings that you think will pair nicely with your fruit. Choose as many of as few toppings as you like, and pour them into serving bowls. If you wish to make your own cookie crumbs for dipping, pulverize about eight cookies in a food processor to yield one half cup of crumbs. You should have a total of about 2 cups worth of different toppings. Arrange the table with your fruit and toppings so they are ready for your fondue when it’s nice and hot.
  3. Zap your cream cheese in the microwave for 30 seconds, and then place it in a medium pot over low heat.
  4. Whisk in milk, lemon juice, and vanilla, and continue stirring the mixture until the cream cheese is fully melted (3-5 minutes).
  5. Light the burner under your fondue pot so the pot is nice and warm when you pour in your fondue mixture.
  6. Add white chocolate to your cream cheese mixture, and whisk until it is all melted. Pour the mixture into your fondue pot and serve immediately.
  7. To eat, dip pieces of fruit into your cheesecake fondue, and then roll them in as many toppings as you like. And remember, don’t drop any fruit into the pot, or you’ll have to lay a wet one on your neighbour!

Both of these are major crowd pleasers, so give them a try at your next gathering! Thanks so much to everyone who has supported me up to this point in the competition, and good luck to all of my ladies at RWoP!
I’ll keep you guys updated along the road to the finals in Toronto. Can’t wait!


Filed under a party, food on a stick, new flavours, pop culture, savory