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Orange Cinnamon Orange Pekoe Tea

The other day while waiting for some water to boil over the stove (because somehow I still don’t own a kettle), I started thinking about alternative ways to sweetening teas. I have never personally been one to add milk or sugar to my tea, but I understand a lot of people do. I wanted to find a way to make a sweeter, dessert-like tea to enjoy before bed, without the added sugar–because a teaspoon of sugar here, and a teaspoon of sugar there will certainly start to add up! Especially when drinking tea in copious amounts like me. :-)

orange cinnamon orange pekoe tea

This recipe is super simple, and uses common ingredients you most likely already have on hand. It’s a great way to spice up traditional orange pekoe tea. The added ingredients bring out the subtle and mild flavours of the tea, so it’s perfect for those times you want a more powerful tasting drink, without the added sugar that comes along with other beverages.

Orange Cinnamon Orange Pekoe Tea

Makes One Cup of Tea

Ingredients

  • 1 orange pekoe tea bag
  • 1 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Few drops of vanilla extract

Prepare tea, and stir in orange juice, lemon juice, and vanilla. Top with orange zest and cinnamon to serve. Garnish with a slice of orange or lemon. Note: the orange zest sinks to the bottom, so don’t worry about them in your drink.

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Warm Spring Salad Served Cold

All day yesterday I was looking forward to dinner. It was one of those days where I had decided what I was going to make for dinner, before I had even thought about what to have for breakfast. This obviously lead to high expectations when dinner actually came, but because this recipe was adapted from a recipe on my all-time favourite recipe blog, ohsheglows.com, I knew it would exceed these expectations! I’ve been following Angela’s blog for over a year now, and I have fallen in love with every single one of her recipes that I have tried–and there are still many more I hope to try! This salad recipe is adapted (only slightly) from her Warm Spring Salad. Even though it’s not spring, I came across this recipe and just knew I had to make it for dinner. Maybe eventually I’ll get the hang of cooking in-season…

Warm Spring Salad Served Cold

I changed the dressing to a raspberry-lemon balsamic vinaigrette because I had just bought some fresh raspberries from the farm (yum!), and the dressing turned out super spectacular! I was really impressed at how easy and simple, yet so flavourful it was. I thought the raspberries complemented the strawberries nicely in the salad, and the lemon added a subtle tartness, which was also quite nice. I also used edamame beans instead of peas, red onion instead of leek, and served the entire salad mixture cold over a large bed of spinach, instead of hot out of the pan. This salad easily wins the salad of the week award!

Warm Spring Salad served Cold 2

Warm Spring Salad Served Cold

Makes Two Large Servings- With Leftover Dressing

Ingredients
For the Dressing

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 2 tsp agave nectar, or liquid sweetener of choice

For the Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 15 asparagus spears, lightly steamed and chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 10 fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 medium-sized red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 edamame beans
  • 4 cups baby spinach

1. Combine dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until combined. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, asparagus spears, strawberries, red onion, and edamame beans until well mixed.
3. Split quinoa mixture over 2 plates, each with 2 cups of baby spinach.
4. Drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons of dressing and enjoy!

Avocado Topped Tomato with Green Onions and Cilantro

Often when I buy avocados, they unfortunately either go bad, or they get turned in to guacamole. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because I do love guacamole, but because I’m not too familiar with avocados I find it hard to be creative and use them in other recipes.  So lately I’ve been reading about all sorts of recipes featuring avocado to get more ideas to experiment with in my kitchen.

avocado topped tomato 1 tomato topped avocado 3
A common one I’ve been stumbling upon involves mixing avocado and tahini to make a dressing or dip, which inspired me to create my own variation. It’s super simple (I didn’t even have to pull out my food processor for it!) and can easily be modified for all sorts of other uses–as a spread for sandwiches, thinned out for a salad dressing, as a healthier alternative for Alfredo sauce on pasta– the ideas are endless! I’m obviously not the brilliant creator, but I thought I would share my variation to others to encourage them to try it themselves. After trying my own spin on it, I can certainly say I will be making it way more often!! tomato topped avocado 2

This recipe is perfect as a snack between meals, or as an appetizer before a large family dinner as it’s super fast and easy to prepare, and great for presentation! I added chia seeds because you can’t really taste them and they add an extra nutritional kick. You could also blend the cilantro and green onion right into the avocado mixture, I just kept mine separate to use as a garnish to make it pretty for pictures. :) Enjoy!

Avocado Topped Tomato with Green Onions and Cilantro

Makes Three Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1-2 cups spinach or field greens
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • Pepper, to taste

1. In a blender (I used my magic bullet), blend avocado, lemon juice, and tahini until well blended. Add field greens, garlic, and chia seeds, and blend until a thick mixture is formed.

2. Slice tomato into thin slices. Make sure you slice it width wise, or the tomato slices will fall apart.

3. Garnish with chopped green onions, cilantro, and pepper to taste!

Veggie-Packed Spaghetti Squash Comfort Bowl & Netflix

Today was a long day. And it was raining. And all I wanted when I finally got home was to snuggle up in blankets on my couch to watch Netflix while eating a hot bowl of something yummy. So I immediately got to work in the kitchen to work some magic, and oh how magical it was! The idea for the dish actually originated when seeing a spaghetti squash on my counter out of the corner of my eye while scanning my fridge. The same spaghetti squash that had been there for probably close to a month. Immediately I knew it was time to crack er’ open and see what could be salvaged.

 Now one thing that never fails to shock me is the shelf life of spaghetti squash, or any type of squash for that matter. Obviously they will last a lot longer than your average cucumber or tomato, but I always find that when I finally get around to using one that’s been sitting out for a very long time, I usually expect it to be mostly compost-worthy. But once I crack it open I’m always amazed to see that it’s still completely fine and good to eat! And oh how good it was…

I started with the spaghetti squash, because they do take a little while to cook, and then just let my little heart (and big tummy) take control for the rest. Other than the cooking time for the squash, it’s very fast and easy to prepare. I filled half the squash and just used it as my bowl, but I also ate a whole lot more than I would suggest for an average serving. Letting the veggies simmer for a bit let all the flavours combine and mix together as they cooked, so it really fit the “comfort bowl” category quite well in my opinion. The fresh herbs also add a ton of flavour to the dish, so I wouldn’t recommend skipping them.

Veggie-Packed Spaghetti Squash Comfort Bowl

Makes 4 small, or two very large servings

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 white onion, chopped
  • 1 small broccoli floret
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 can chickpeas
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh salsa
  • 4 basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Split spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out insides with a spoon. Place halves face down on baking sheet with one inch of water, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until outside is soft when touched with a fork.

2. While spaghetti squash is cooking, sauté onion and red pepper in olive oil and garlic in a medium-large sized skillet over medium heat.

3. Meanwhile, boil broccoli in a small pot over the stove. Once partly cooked, strain water and add broccoli to onion and red pepper.

4. Once broccoli, onion, and red pepper are tender, add diced tomatoes, chickpeas, salsa, and fresh herbs, and reduce to low heat. Cover and let simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add spinach about 5 minutes before taking the spaghetti squash out of the oven.

5. Take spaghetti squash out of the oven, flip upright, and let cool until manageable to touch.

6. Using a fork, scrape the inside of the squash into spaghetti strands. Add desired amount of vegetable mixture on top, season with pepper to taste, and snuggle up in blankets to enjoy!

Balsamic Portobello Mushroom with Apple Walnut Salad

Today was one of those days where after a good long day of both working and working out, I feel super content and satisfied. I was quite productive throughout the day (even getting my entire kitchen sparklingly clean!) as well as energized and motivated at the gym reaching a new personal best for myself in spin class! It’s just one of those days where nothing particularly exciting happened, yet I’m headed off to sleep with a mega smile and a noonecanruinmymood sorta feeling. Oh how I do love these kinds of days!

Now, for me anyway, a great day like this absolutely must finish off with the same standards when it comes to dinner. So creating a meal to satisfy my hunger and my superb mood of the day was my challenge tonight, and twas accepted and oh was it ever highly achieved! This meal was so light and flavourful, yet it hit the perfect spot after a tough workout.

Both components of this meal were extremely fast and easy to whip up while absolutely not sacrificing flavour, so it’s a perfect weekday meal after a long day! I was super excited to share the recipe the entire time I was trying to savour it (but really inhaling it because I was so hungry) ;-) So I hope you’ll give it a try and enjoy it!

Balsamic Portobello Mushroom & Apple Walnut Salad

Makes two servings

Balsamic Portobello Mushroom 

  • 2 Portobello mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • Pepper, to taste

1. Combine olive oil, water, balsamic vinegar, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, maple syrup, and ginger together in a small glass and stir well.

2. Using a rubber brush (or just a spoon), brush 3/4 of the marinade on the bottoms of the mushrooms.

3. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.

4. Place mushrooms face down onto barbecue.

5. Brush the rest of the marinade on the tops of the mushrooms.

6. Barbecue until soft and tender.

7. Sprinkle with pepper, to taste, before serving.

Apple Walnut Salad

  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted walnuts, chopped
  • 1 small royal gala apple, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

1. Combine spinach, chopped onions, and chopped apple in a bowl.

2. Mix together olive oil, water, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, and sugar in a small glass for the dressing, and pour on top of salad.

4. In a small pan or pot, roast walnuts over the stove on high heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning.

5. Sprinkle roasted nuts on top and enjoy!