Zucchini Noodles with Lemon Balm Pesto

White bowl with zucchini noodles, lemon balm pesto, roasted peppers and fresh tomatoes, topped with goat cheese and pine nuts
Zucchini Noodles with Lemon Balm Pesto

Have you tried zoodles? It might surprise you how delicious zucchini is as a noodle!  There are many ways to make them into a noodle; with a spiralizer, vegetable peeler, julienne peeler or a mandolin.  Zoodles can be enjoyed raw in salads or cooked with water, lightly fried with oil or baked.  Fun and flavourful, they are completely delicious combined with pesto, fresh or roasted vegetables, pine nuts and creamy cheese.

Zucchini Noodles with Lemon Balm Pesto

1-2 zucchini, spiralized or made into noodles with a vegetables peeler or julienne peeler

2-4 tablespoons lemon balm pesto or your favourite pesto blend

tomatoes, chopped

roasted peppers, chopped

pine nuts, lightly toasted

goat cheese or cashew cheese

Directions:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place zucchini  noodles in a single layer on baking sheets and bake about 10-12 minutes until tender. Add pesto to medium size bowl and mix well with zucchini noodles (silicone tongs work well). Add tomatoes and roasted peppers.  Put into serving bowls and dot with goat or cashew cheese and garnish with pine nuts and fresh herbs.

Ranch Salad Dressing or Dip

Ranch Salad Dressing

Ranch Dressing has the classic flavours of chives, parsley, and black pepper.  This one is simple to prepare and easy to vary.  It comes together in minutes and can easily be a dip or a dressing.

1/2 cup greek yogurt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

fresh lemon or lime juice

finely chopped chives, parsley, garlic chives

fresh ground black pepper

Refridgerate to blend flavours

To make a thinner dressing use more buttermilk, to make thicker use more yogurt or a thicker greek style yogurt.

Variations – add feta cheese and oregano

                   – add cilantro and hot or smoked pepper sauce

Mexican Rainbow Salad Bowl

Large salad with carrots, cucumbers, corn, avocado, tomatoes, black beans and coucous with a dressing in the middle
Mexican Rainbow Salad Bowl from www.makinghealthychoices.ca

Bright and colourful, this Mexican Salad comes together quickly.  Layer bottom of salad plate or bowl with romaine lettuce.  In a rainbow pattern, add Mexican Spiced Whole Wheat Couscous, Mexican Spiced Black Beans, Cooked corn, chopped cucumbers, grated carrots, sliced avocado, and quartered tomatoes.  Serve with pepitas and Ranch Dressing

Mexican Spiced Whole Wheat Couscous

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 cup whole wheat couscous

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons cilantro

1 tablespoon chives

salt and pepper

lime wedge

Add 1 cup boiling water and mix well.

While stirring add 1 cup whole wheat couscous, cover and let sit for 20 minutes.

Fluff with a fork and add olive oil, chives, cilantro,a spash of fresh lime juice, salt and pepper.


Mexican Spiced Black Beans

1 cup cooked black beans

1 cup homemade salsa or your favourite prepared salsa.

For this recipe I prefer a more sauce like salsa.  Mix together and refridgerate for 2–3 hours for flavours to develop.



a collage of 6 pictures of recipes that highlight raisins
Recipes with Raisins

Raisins bring back childhood memories for me.  My Mom used them a lot, from snacks to baking and even in salads and savoury dishes.  I especially remember her carrot coleslaw, topped with raisins, probably to trick us kids into eating more vegetables.  These sweet little gems are delicious and flavourful, providing natural sweetness along with vitamins, minerals and fiber.  They are a concentrated energy source of primarily sugar, so keeping portions modest is advisable.

For raisin inspiration check out these ideas.  I’ve teamed up with some terrific ladies to bring you some new ideas and remind you of some old favourites too.  I have updated my Mom’s coleslaw by adding super healthy kale, complete with kale massage to sweeten and tenderize it in my Kale Slaw with Apples, Carrots and Raisins.  For a super healthy whole grain salad try this Indian Style Lemony Quinoa and Chickpea Salad from The Tiffin Box where raisins add sweetness to compliment the light curry flavours.  It’s a delicious salad, I added 2 grated carrots, double the raisins and also chopped pecans.  Make Ahead Breakfast Cookies from Kitchen Frau and Raisin Bran Muffins from Within the Kitchen are perfect to have on hand for a grab and go breakfast or snack.  The cookies are substantial, filled with seeds, whole grain flours, and dried fruit including raisins to provide energy and sweetness. I made both of these recipes with less sugar than called for with perfect results. I also reduced the dried fruit in the Breakfast Cookies to 1 cup of each.

Recipes that work for breakfast, snacks or dessert are total wins for busy schedules.  Swirls and Spice created this terrific Carrot Spice Granola, where the cardamom adds a sophisticated flavour. It would make a wonderful Mother’s Day gift. Creamy and delicious, the Brown Rice Pudding from Our Fresh Kitchen is so comforting!  I subbed the rice with barley, which works equally well.

What are your favourite recipes with raisins?


Tropical Smoothie with Spinach and Mint

Tropical Smoothie with Spinach and Mint

Leafy greens are just so important in our diet we should aim for 1 serving every day!  Sometimes it is not easy to fit them in and an easy way is to include them is in a smoothie for breakfast, a snack or anytime throughout the day.  Adding mint brightens the flavours and adds a refreshing energizing taste.

Tropical Smoothie with Spinach and Mint

1 frozen banana

1 cup frozen mango

2 cups fresh spinach

2 cups coconut milk

10 fresh mint leaves or to taste

Blend everything together until smooth, adding water or extra milk to thin it if necessary.

Spring Greens Layered Salad

Spring Greens Layered Salad

Fresh Spring Greens highlight this beautiful layered salad! Blessed with an extra warm sunny spring, my garden has perked up early this year. I was delighted to pick some beautiful greens and herbs to create this gorgeous salad.  


A simple salad, lightly dressed highlights the flavours of the herbs and tastes like Spring!   Start with greens to cover the salad plate (tossed with dressing or spritzed with flavoured olive oil and balsamic, salt and pepper), layer or arrange other vegetables or fruits on top. I used tomatoes, grated carrot, sliced avocado, and grated beets. I love this salad platter from The Gourmet Warehouse which shows it off beautifully.

Pecan Date Granola with Carrots!


It’s ‪NationalPecanDay‬ ! Try this amazing Pecan Date Granola sweetened with dates, honey and cinnamon with an extra nutritious boost from carrots!
Pecan Date Granola with Carrot

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup pecans
1/3 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup pureed carrot
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chopped dates

Mix oats, coconut, pecans and wheat germ into a large bowl and stir until well combined.
In a small saucepan add carrots, coconut oil, honey, salt and cinnamon. Heat gently over low heat until well combined and coconut oil is melted. Add vanilla and then add mixture to dry ingredients and mix well.

Spread out onto cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees F for 35 minutes, checking every 15 minutes to stir it and spread out again. When it is almost done, add dates and bake another 5 minutes.

Caesar Salad (with Kale and Romaine)

Caesar Salad

 I recently attended a special dinner at a new creative local restaurant and tried the Kale Caesar salad.  It was delicious!   I loved the smoked paprika on the croutons which gave the salad a smoky flavour…kind of like bacon.   Adding a variety of lettuce and greens to a salad just makes it more interesting (and nutritious) too!

 My kids love this salad dressing.  It alone is the reason they eat more greens!  My daughter even uses it on a cabbage salad she makes.  She calls it Caesar Slaw.


Caesar Salad Dressing

1/2 cup yogurt

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 hard boiled egg

1/4 cup water

2 tbsp Parmesan cheese or more to taste

4 tsp lemon juice or to taste

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and blend until smooth.


Whole grain croutons

Rub whole grain bread with a cut garlic clove, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with smoked paprika.   Cut in cubes and toss, bake at 350 until toasted on the outside but still soft on the inside, about 10 minutes.


Mix of Romaine lettuce and Kale (tender, small leaves work well)

Toss lettuce, kale and dressing in a large bowl until lightly coated.   Add croutons and sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese.   Serve immediately.


The Caesar salad dressing is adapted from Looneyspoons Low Fat Foods Made Fun.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice “Cream”

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice “Cream”

 We have been enjoying making banana ice cream since I first read about it over a year ago.  We have tried many combinations, all good, with added nuts, toasted coconut, chocolate, cocoa powder, berries, other fruits, but when I came across adding spinach I really wasn’t sure.  However, there are greens in my favourite smoothie and it tastes great!. I had nothing to lose by giving it a try! The original recipe uses mint extract but I love the flavour of the fresh mint leaves, fresh from my garden.  Currently it is the house favourite and amazes everyone who tries it!


2 frozen bananas

1 cup spinach

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup coconut milk  

Using blender or food processor, blend all ingredients until smooth.  Stir in 2 tbsp dark mini chocolate chips.  Freeze until firm.

Thanks for the inspiration www.cleananddelicious.com.  

Food Experiments – Fresh Mozzarella

When planning our Spring Break food experiments my son suggested making cheese. After some research,  we chose a fresh cheese so we could taste it and enjoy it right away!  We found a terrific tutorial online and we can honestly say it was easy, fun and very tasty! It was also very educational to see the changes the milk goes through.


 I found vegetarian liquid rennet and citric acid at The Gourmet Warehouse, Vancouver, BC, where they have a good selection of cheese making supplies.  http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-homemade-mozzarella-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-174355