Getting my Italian on! Because I am.

I’m heading away to the mountains with friends this weekend and decided to make my homemade pasta sauce with meatballs for everyone. It’s always a crowd pleaser and enjoyable to make!

These recipes are without measurements which makes them even more special as even though they’re always different, the end result is always the same – delicious! Made from the heart and past down from Great Grandma, to Grandma, to Mom and then me.

Here are the sauce basics:
Crushed tomatoes
Garlic
Onion
EVOO
Salt
Chili flakes
Oregano
Truffle oil to finish
Pasta noodle of choice

And the meatball basics:
Fresh ground pork and beef
Egg
Garlic
Salt
Oregano
Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese

The rest is up to you. I hope you’re inspired to create your own delicious meal from the heart.

From my kitchen to yours, enjoy!

Sautee onions, garlic in EVOO

Saute onions, garlic in EVOO

Add the tomatoes

Add the tomatoes

Simmer. The longer the better

Simmer. The longer the better

Combine the goods for the meat mixture

Combine the goods for the meat mixture

Portion out and place on baking sheet

Portion out and place on baking sheet

Bake for 20 mins at 400 degrees

Bake for 20 mins at 400 degrees

Baking makes for simple clean up

Baking makes for simple clean up

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Falling in love with scarves

I’m developed a new love for scarves. More specifically big, warm, wool scarfs. And flannel ones, too. The thicker and warmer, the better. It’s like walking around with a cozy blanket wrapped around your neck. Only it feels more like a warm cozy hug.

Topshop is to blame for this new love. They have a wonderful selection of fabulous wool scarves that won’t break your budget (if you are able to follow one).

The  Cable Faux Fur Pom Scarf is my favourite. And of course you can get the matching toque!

cablefauxfur

Cablefauxtoque

I’m ready for winter and look forward to getting all bundled up in these great finds. Functional and fashionable!

Holy crap I made Paleo cabbage rolls!

I’ve always thought cabbage rolls would be difficult to make. No idea why! Maybe it’s just an Italian thing. Now lasagna is a piece of cake, but cabbage rolls, forget about it. Until now. The thing is, I’ve been craving these little rolls of cabbage for bit now. Asking my Ukrainian pals to bring me one. Just one is all I need to satisfy the craving. But no. All the good cabbage rolls are back home in Winnipeg or somewhere in Saskatchewan. True story. So I decide to give a recipe from the best damn Paleo recipe book a go. And… The result was pretty impressive! For more great Paleo recipes like this one check out Practical Paleo.

What you’ll need:
1 head savoy cabbage, leaves carefully separated to remain in tact
1 cup grated cauliflower
1 teaspoon butter or coconut oil
sea salt & pepper to taste
1 lb ground beef
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1/2  white onion, diced
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups simple cranberry sauce – recipe below

What you’ll do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Add about 2 inches of water to a large pot and steam the cabbage. If you have a steamer use it. Set cabbage aside. Sauté the cauliflower in the butter or oil for a few minutes until it is slightly softened. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. In a large bowl combine the ground beef, cooked cauliflower, garlic, onion, rosemary and more sea salt and pepper and mix well. Just roll up your sleeves and have at it.

Fill the end of the leaves about half full of the mixture and roll them up into your version of a burrito. Place the cabbage rolls in a deep oven safe dish with the tucked sides down.

Combine the crushed tomatoes and simple cranberry sauce together and pour over the cabbage rolls. Place the dish in the oven, covered with foil.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until the meat is cooked all the way through and enjoy!

Simple Cranberry Sauce -101 15-16 oz fresh cranberries Organic honey or maple syrup to taste -1-4 tablespoons *Simply simmer the cranberries until all the berries have popped open and the texture is gelatinous. Add the honey or maple syrup to taste.

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Dad’s homemade split pea & ham soup

Waking up to a bed of fluffy white snowflakes this morning brought me back to chilly winter days growing up back home and the house filled with a delicious scent from one of Dad’s homemade meals. Split pea & ham soup being my favorite!

What you’ll need:
1-1lb smoked ham hock
1 tbsp EVOO
1 large white onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp each of S&P
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
2 cups dry green or yellow split peas
3 green onions, thinly sliced

What you’ll do:
Using a knife, peel off any skin from the ham and discard. Trim off and discard of any fat. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat oil over medium low heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, salt, pepper and ham hock. Stir occasionally until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add chicken stock, split peas and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, skimming off any foam. Cover pot and simmer over medium low heat until peas break down and meat is tender to a forks touch, about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the ham hock. Pulling off and shredding the meat. Set meat aside. Discard of ham bone and remove bay leaves from the pot. Return meat to the rest of the soup, garnish with green onions and enjoy!

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Homemade nicoise salad

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There’s nothing worse than cooking in the house on a hot summer day. I took the cool route tonight and whipped up a delicious nicoise salad with all the right bits.
What’s inside:
Chopped romaine lettuce
Fresh broccoli sprouts
Roma tomatoes
Olives of choice
Sliced dill pickles
Purple onion
Solid white tuna
Topped with a poached-to-your-liking egg
For the dressing I used half a squeezed lemon, some EVOO, and S&P to taste.

Enjoy!

Paleo Chicken Fajitas anyone?

Happy Wednesday everyone!

I was craving some Mexican food tonight and happened to have everything needed to whip up some Paleo Styled Chicken fajitas. All you need is some ground meat of choice, fresh bell peppers and onions, lettuce for the wrapping, tomato and avocado.

The Deets:
I sautéed the chicken with a hearty amount of chili powder, garlic powder and onion powder.  In a separate pan I then sautéed the onion, red, green, and yellow peppers. 1 of each. Adding a bit of the spice mix to the veggie mix as well. While that was cooking, I mashed up an avocado with fresh squeezed lemon and sliced some tomato to add a fresh flavour to the final product. Wash some lettuce of choice, I used red leaf, and once the veggies are cooked to your liking, you’re all set. I’m big on the spice so I added a spoon of crushed chilies to the mix as well. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm.

Hope you enjoy!

Sauteed peppers just enough that they still have a crisp

sautéed peppers just enough that they still have a crisp

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Save time by preparing the fresh ingredients while the peppers and meat are cooking

Save time by preparing the fresh ingredients while the peppers and meat are cooking

Creating a nice display doesn't always have to be for company

Creating a nice display doesn’t always have to be for company

 

Roasted wild salmon with garlic and spices

Roasted wild salmon with garlic and spices

I get really excited when I try making something for the first time with success! I’ve made my first whole salmon and it was delicious. Not too much prep work as I bought it already gutted, but I did need to remove the fins. I’m not going to lie, I can do without that again.

Here are the details if you’d like to give it a go. If you like salmon, you won’t be disappointed.

Ingredients you’ll need:

1- 3-4 lb whole salmon (I prefer wild)
3 Tbsp. EVOO
3 large garlic gloves, minced
zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 roasting
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 sp. paprika
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

First I rinsed off the salmon and patted dry to begin. If there are still fins on the fish, you can use a sharp knife or kitchen scissors to remove them. (Hope you’re not squeamish!) Then with a sharp knife, I made several 1/2 inch deep slits on one side of the fish, placing the salmon, cut side up, on to a parchment lined baking sheet.

In a bowl combine oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, cumin, paprika, coriander and cayenne pepper. Brush some of the mixture into the cavity of the fish and the remising mixture over the fish. Season with s&p if desired, and slice the remaining lemon into rounds and place on top of the fish. Roast for 40-45 minutes at 400F.

You can serve this along any vegetables you enjoy. I had it along some steamed asparagus and green salad. Enjoy!