Salmon Lettuce Wraps

Hello!

I love summer, but I love getting back into the routine that Fall brings.  Everything starts up again and it’s fun to start switching things up.  A big thing for me is getting back to cooking healthy.  Summer tends to throw me off track and I’m sure I’m not the only one!

Here’s a recipe I made up for tonights dinner!

Salmon Lettuce Wraps

1 Salmon fillet

Olive Oil

Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb Seasoning

Head of Iceberg Lettuce

Cucumber

Yellow Sunburst Tomatos

Red Onion

Avocado

Greek Yogurt Dip Tzatziki / Dill ( Got mine from Superstore)

Brown Rice

Optional: Feta

1) Preheat oven to 400F.

2) Start the brown rice – I suck at cooking rice, so I can’t give advice other than google cooking times depending on what you have

3) Drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil on the salmon and rub in the seasoning. Bake in oven for 16 mins at 400F.

4) Dice up the cucumber, onion, tomato, and avocado

5) Tear off a few peices of the iceberg for your wraps

6) Assemble any way you wish!

Salmon Lettuce Wraps

 

Lemme know what you think if you try it out!

XO

 

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Healthy Pumpkin & Honey Bran Muffins

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Autumn is my most favorite season, the colors (especially back home), the crisp fresh air, comfort food etc. Every year around this time I start my pumpkin craze, and this year is no exception and last night I made Pumpkin Bran Muffins. They make a great option for a healthy breakfast on the go, they freeze great, just wrap each in plastic wrap and store in a plastic bag in the freezer. These delightful pumpkin treats are moist and pack a nice little punch. Since they are made with bran it means full of fiber. The recipe calls for dried cranberries or raisins, I didn’t have either of these ingredients and I think they turned out just fine.

Each muffin, 218 calories, 5 grams of fat

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
  • 1½ cups honey
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 3 egg whites 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups wheat bran
  • ½ cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or raisins  

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Coat a muffin pan with cooking spray or use paper liners for easy clean up.

2. In an electric mixer or in a large bowl mixing by hand, add pumpkin, honey, applesauce and oil.

3. Stir in egg whites, eggs and vanilla. Mix well.

4. Add wheat bran, oats, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, salt and mix until combined. Stir in cranberries or raisins and mix until blended

5. Fill each muffin cup just about to the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes.

Makes about 16 muffins (each serving, 1 muffin)

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Source: Skinny Kitchen

Summer Salads

I am so lucky to be able to escape to my parent’s cabin on Shuswap lake in BC during the summer months. Although it takes about six hours of driving to get to, once I am there it feels like my own little peaceful oasis (although the water sports can get a bit intense…).

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My family and I all live in different cities, so it’s such a blessing to be able to all come together for a week or two at the cabin and spend some quality time together with the most gorgeous backdrop.

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I think one of my favorite parts about being at the lake is getting to cook up some fabulous summer meals with my mom. This last trip we grilled some killer pork tenderloin on the BBQ and even made some deep-fried chicken wings one night in my dad’s favorite toy – the turkey deepfryer.

One thing I am usually in charge of in the kitchen is the side dish or the salad, and some people may say this is the crappy job…but I disagree! I like to keep it interesting and surprise people with some creative and tasty dishes that have a summer vibe to them.

Check out these two awesome summer salads that are perfect for a dinner on the deck or as an item to bring to an outdoor BBQ potluck.

XOX

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Greek Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half or 1 cup chopped, seeded, tomato
  • 1 small cucumber, chopped

    I threw some black olives on the top because I LOVEE olives :)

    I threw some black olives on the top because I LOVE olives 🙂

  • feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh oregano
  • 10 cups mixed greens

Balsamic Dressing Ingredients: 

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh oregano
  • pinch sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • pinch of salt

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil and add the quinoa. Give it a stir, put a lid on it, then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Allow to cool until room temperature.

To make the dressing, just measure everything into a jam jar, put a lid on it, and give it a good shake. Set aside.   Meanwhile, chop your tomatoes, cucumber, and onion, then toss them in a bowl with a little bit of your dressing. Toss with the cooled quinoa and some feta cheese.   In a salad bowl, layer the greens, and then the quinoa mixture. Top with a little more feta and then sprinkle over some fresh oregano. Drizzle the rest of the dressing over the top.

Recipe from YMC

Chickpea Bean Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (500 mL) chopped green beans
  • 1 can (19 oz/540 ml) chickpeas
  • 1 can (19 oz/540 ml) black beans
  • 1 sweet red pepper, diced
  • 1 cup (250 mL) corn kernels
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh coriander

Chili Lime Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) grated lime rind
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) lime juice
  • 1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) chili powder
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

In saucepan of boiling salted water, cook green beans until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain and chill in cold water; drain and set aside.

Drain and rinse chickpeas and black beans; drain well and place in large bowl. Add red pepper, corn and onions; set aside.

Chili Lime Dressing: Whisk together oil, lime rind and juice, chili powder, sugar and salt ; pour over beans and toss to coat. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate salad and beans separately for up to 24 hours.)

Add green beans and coriander; toss.

Recipe from Canadian Living.

 

A taste of Spain: Ox & Angela

One of the best experiences in my life was spending six weeks in different areas of Spain. The people I encountered and culture I witnessed were beyond what I ever expected.  I was especially impressed by how they use lunch and dinner as a way to create community.  Rarely did I go out for dinner with a large group and be done in less than 3-4 hours. People don’t rush to order their meal, rather multiple people order small plates throughout the night to keep the options lighter and the conversation flowing. It was a refreshing experience.

I am always on the hunt for a great tapas restaurant. I’ve been obsessed with that style of meal ever since my European travels. My good friend was the one to introduce me to Ox and Angela here in Calgary.  I thought it was too good to be true that my new city had not only a tapas menu, but a dedicated Spanish menu! I was in heaven.

I have waited to go there again and had the luxury of taking my sister who came to visit me. It was the perfect atmosphere to catch up and enjoy every bite of food.

We heavily relied on our lovely server to lead us through some of the best dishes on the menu.  We also used him for an amazing wine recommendation.

Pan con tomate with fried goat cheese

Pan con tomate with fried goat cheese

We knew we needed fried goat cheese in our lives (fried cheese is a no brainer) and as much as we were confident we could eat it by itself, we were told to get an order of the pan con tomate to accompany it.
This combo is perfect for sharing with up to four people. Luckily it was only my sister and I so we could each have two toasts. The goat cheese flavour was not too overpowering, so if you aren’t normally a fan I would encourage you to step out and give this a try. I’m still dreaming about it.

We then moved onto the pan-friend mushrooms on toasted bread, poached egg, and truffle. It was a flavour experience to say the least. You cannot miss out on this. We tried our best to eat it slowly, but no luck!

 

Next up, the spicy merguez lamb sausage sauteed with apricot, sherry and mustard. We did not grab a shot of this one since the picture could not do it justice. It had a good kick to it, but it was best paired with a little bit of the apriocot with each bite.

 

Of course we made room for dessert.  This was a dark chocolate salted almond torte. It was rich, but the dark chocolate was the perfect balance of sweetness that we needed to end this delicious meal.

 

El Porron - The Spanish Wine Pitcher

El Porron – The Spanish Wine Pitcher

 

I can’t leave out the wine. From his recommendation, we ordered the Borie de Maurel Esprit d’Automne. I could have butchered that name, but I’m hoping you’ll be able to find a way to order this smooth red wine.

The coolest part is how they serve it in the Spanish version of a decanter! Our server explained it is used a lot at festivals or gatherings where caring is sharing!

 

Do yourself a favour and check out Ox & Angela.  Perfect for a first date, small gathering, or a unique food experience.

http://www.oxandangela.com/

Love xox

 

 

 

 

Playa Del Carmen – Eats

This past week I had an opportunity to head to the beautiful Fairmont Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen for a quick getaway. What better way to see your friends from Vancouver than meeting in Cancun??
What made it extra special was celebrating my friend Stephanie’s 27th bday. I knew we had to do something a little different, so we found this VERY cool restaurant right in the city.
What did we do before google, trip advisor and yelp? Please tell me.

Alux Restaurant, Playa del Carmen

If you want an experience outside of your resort one night for dinner, I’d highly recommend taking a cab to this place. It had high ratings on every site I checked and it did not disappoint!

Essentially, it is fine dining in a natural cavern. At first we assumed we were just paying for the atmosphere, but then we had food served to us. It was extremely delicious and we all enjoyed our meals!

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Alux1

Alux1

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Check out this photo! Order a Spanish coffee “on fire”.  So cool.

Tough posting on my almost dead iPad, but hope you enjoyed a taste of Mexico with me!

xo

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Carrot & Zucchini Muffins

I feel like my entire theme for cooking is solely based around using up food that is getting close to its expiration date in my fridge….

I find that living on my own and cooking for just one person most of the time can be a tough task. I’m always finding that my fresh items are spoiling before I can eat them up! This is extremely depressing from the simple fact of wasting food – but it’s also a big waste of money as well.

Muffins are a great way to use up some extra ingredients and they can easily be frozen for consumption at a later date. I also just really love muffins…. 🙂

So after looking in my fridge recently I noticed that I really needed to use up some zucchini and carrots, so the search for a quick and easy muffin recipe began!

This recipe is extremely simple and they honestly taste fantastic! They have a carrot cake taste and texture and make for the perfect start to your morning (or just a random snack – lets be honest).

The recipe only makes six muffins – which is perfect for me but can also easily be doubled.

There are only five in this picture because I ate one as soon as they came out of the oven….just couldn’t resist.

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Yum Yum Yum

Xox Brenna
The recipe: Carrot & Zucchini Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose gluten-free blend)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Method

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare a pan with 6 standard muffin cups (or 20 mini-muffin cups) with paper liners or cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, salt, and egg. Add zucchini, carrots, cinnamon chips (if using) and pecans.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to the batter. Stir until just combined. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Let the muffins rest for 10 minutes before placing them into the oven.

Bake the muffins until the edges are lightly browned and they feel firm if gently pressed, about 18 to 25 minutes. A cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin should come out clean. Cool muffins in the pan for 10 minutes; transfer to a rack, and cool completely.

Makes 6 standard muffins, or 20 mini muffins.

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Initially found on Gimmesomeoven.

 

Fall in Love with Hoi An

Happy Wednesday my travel loves! The sun is shining and it is a beautiful spring day. I feel inspired by this gorgeous weather, which takes me back to one of the places I fell in love with on my recent travels to Vietnam. Hoi An is an amazing destination and a MUST SEE if you are headed to ‘Nam. Not only are there tons of activities (biking, beaching, tailor shops and site seeing anyone?), the quaint, lovely vibe of the small city will instantly relax you.

Here is a list of my top things to eat, see and do in Hoi An:

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WHERE TO STAY

Two words for you: Sun River. This magical place just opened when we visited Hoi An and I have no doubt it will get popular really quickly. It is an unbeatable price point (about $35 dollars a night for a water view), fantastic service and beautiful clean rooms. The location is about a 5-10 minute bike to old town and it is right on the river. Very peaceful but close to the action! Did I mention it has a pool and the bikes are free!? Need I say more…

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WHERE TO EAT

In Hoi An there are so many restaurant options, it can be overwhelming! If you are looking for yummy Vietnamese food in a laidback atmosphere, Coco’s in the place for you. Situated on the river on the way to the beach, you will enjoy a wide variety of local food! Try the seafood noodles….mmmm….

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WHAT TO DO

When in Hoi An, one MUST get clothes made. Famous for tailor shops lining the streets, you can get some amazing items made for a great price! I got an amazing J Crew inspired jacket, a fur vest and a leather skirt made, just to name a few (I may have gone a bit overboard). We used Quoc Huy Tailor in old town – they were great. Very helpful and decent prices. One recommendation: look around quite a bit before settling on a tailor. Lots of hotels get paid a commission for recommending tailors so don’t go to the first one! Take your time…

I hope you are feeling inspired after this post! Happy Travelling, my loves.

Erin

I fell in love… with Boston

I came to Boston for a Risk conference and ended up falling in love with this city. I’ve been here since Tuesday night and minus a luggage snafu it’s been great. I am actually shocked how much I enjoy it here. So much green space!! Seems like every few blocks there is a small green space or a park. People here seem to be quite active which I suppose makes sense, as home to one of the world’s largest and most recognized marathon’s I really shouldn’t be surprised. The people here are beyond friendly which I wasn’t expecting. They remind me of people from back home, must be an East Coast thing 😊.

This city is rich with history and we got a glimpse into some of it via the local Duck Tour, which is hilariously educational if you haven’t heard of it. It’s a land/sea tour aboard a “duck”, a W.W.I.I style amphibious landing vehicle that cruises by many of the historic landmarks here.
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As a non baseball fan I must say that there is just something enchanting about Fenway Park. I’ve been to other MLB games but this one was a neat experience for sure.
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BUT on-top of everything I’ve already mentioned it’s the food here that really makes this city a home run. I haven’t had one bad meal since I’ve been here. Mike’s Pastry’s PB cannoli are so good they ought to be illegal. I haven’t had any left overs from any restaurant on the North End which is a feat because the portion size of the homemade breads and pastas are gigantic. (Definitely going to have to have a mini detox when I get back home)

There was one spot in particular we tried in the North End called Giacomo’s, a local favourite as judged by the line outside. This gem of a spot has no words to really describe it. Don’t let the line out front deter you because this is a spot is not to be missed on your trip. Italian and delicious, loud, a little chaotic, and obnoxiously amazing. The portions for the price they charge are insane, we’d never see something like this in Calgary. We ordered the chicken and cheese agnolotti, and the 1/2 lobster mussels clams over linguini which my boyfriend described as “fucking delicious” his words not mine. This no frills cash only restaurant with bottles… Yes Bottles of wine starting at only $18! Boston you my friends know food.
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With a couple days left of my visit there are still quite a few things I want to see, Harvard Square and Frost Bar to name a couple but obviously as Canadiens and hockey fans were are clearly busy Saturday night when game 5 rolls into town.

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Chocolate: A love story

I am confident in saying most of my friends associate me with chocolate. Immediately you must think it’s because I’m super sweet. I assure you, while true (toot toot! – tooting my own horn?) mainly it’s because I grew up with a father that worked for a chocolate company for my whole life. Good choice Pops. It really helped my lunch bartering when I was in elementary school.
Then to help the association really stick, I decided to follow in his chocoatley footsteps and work for a chocolate company as well. I will post another time as to why I’m now more associated with mac & cheese…tbc.
Are you wondering if you are a choco-holic? Have you almost gone into work with chocolate smears on your forehead?
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It’s okay, I’m a special breed. However, I have created a list for people who join me in that specific breed!

1) You can name the top 5 chocolate bars in Canada (HINT: no one ever guesses right)

2) White Chocolate is dumb. You know this is not real chocolate, right?

3) Dark Chocolate is extremely healthy. I mean, I couldn’t even link all the articles to support this. Mix it with red wine? Anti-oxidant overload?! You’re welcome body.

4) You know 75% is the best percentage…and 85% when you are feeling daring

5) You know Cadbury chocolate from the UK is vastly different than Cadbury NA – Please note you can find Curly Wurly’s at your local Walmart.

6) You know when you diet, chocolate is the only cheat that doesn’t really count

7) You know a bowl of fruit for ‘dessert’ is beyond laughable.

8) “Girl, give me a square” is a super cool way to ask for chocolate

9) You have woken up from a nightmare where you are floating down Willy Wonka’s river uncontrollably

10) You know, you + chocolate = happiness and whoever doesn’t get that, just doesn’t get you!

Love xox!
Amanda Signature

Burger love

canvas1We were hoping to be among the first to take advantage of ‘Burger Week’ here in Calgary, but in true Amy fashion, I mixed up the start date and we found out that it doesn’t start until May 2nd – whoops. Already seated on their patio, we decided to give Canvas a shot (it helped that Calgary finally blessed us with a gorgeous day).

Sensing our disappointment, the waitress did us a solid and asked the chef if we could still take advantage of their feature burger. Sunshine AND advance burger week screening? Not today it seems. They did however mention a special lamb option forcing our hand to select the intriguing offering.

Ordering the bison burger with rainbow carrot fries, this messy contraption was the bomb! There was zero worry of me going hungry after devouring the hefty portion. It  was surprisingly very moist and flavorful. The rainbow carrot fries were ok. Tossed in a lime dressing, they really just tasted like carrots covered in a lot of oil, yet somehow I didn’t feel as guilty as if I had ordered the fries.

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Ken, ordered the lamb burger with a cesar salad, which I obviously had to try… you know quality control. As with the bison, the lamb was incredibly juicy and packed full of flavor. The use of fresh herbs really elevated the taste and paired with the light aioli, made for some tremendously satisfying bites. I mean quality control checks.

Canvas has been re-opened for about 3 months now, so it isn’t overly busy – meaning less wait times and cheaper bill totals. You can get in and out in decent time without damaging the pocket book too much. The patio at Canvas Bistro is a great gem that gets lots of sun light, if only they lost an umbrella or two, this might become a fantastic summer lunch option.

Ps: Did I mention they have wine deals on Thursdays?

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