Summer is such a social time, isn't it? I tend to feel like I'm bouncing between barbecues, beaches, picnics and patios (oh, and working too)! Add the heat and humidity an Island summer brings and you have yourself a recipe for take-out. It can be so challenging to find time to prepare healthy meals or snacks at home during the chaotic (but incredible) summer season.
Today is no exception. Temperatures are expected to reach 34 degrees Celsius with the humidity (a real corker of a day) and we have friends coming over this evening for a visit. Our house is not blessed with air conditioning and as a result, the thought of turning my oven or stove on practically has me sprinting towards the beach. In the name of good planning, I woke up early to get a start on prepping some homemade treats for our guests to enjoy later. This saves me from doing an expensive grocery store run later and also from heating my kitchen in the peak heat of the day (win-win!)
Is there anything better to cap off a busy week (and to kick off the weekend) than an order of takeout? Usually by the time the clock strikes 5 on a Friday evening, the last thing you want to do is spend your precious time cooking supper (and cleaning those darn dishes).
Believe me, I get it.
Takeout can absolutely have a place in any home as a special treat - not a weekly (or daily) habit. Plan for days that you'll pick up take-out, try not to rely on it as a mealtime crutch. It's a slippery slope that will not only impact your health goals, but may prevent you from saving your money for things you really want (hello vacation)!
Instead of ordering in tonight, give these spicy peanut Thai noodles a try. The noodles cook in your slow cooker for about an hour and a half, take that time to unwind after your busy week. After supper, throw the slow cooker insert into your dishwasher and the dishes are done!
PEI is in for a doozy of a snowstorm today. As I type this, I’m gazing out the window watching the winds gusting and snow falling. There's really nothing to do but get cozy inside and hope the power stays on!
As an entrepreneur there is really no such thing as a snow day (boo!), but I do still love the excitement of a good old-fashioned island storm. With a fire roaring and hot coffee poured, I’m all set for a cozy workday at home. It's the perfect opportunity to put my slow cooker to use! After checking my fridge, freezer and pantry, I’ve decided to put on a batch of spicy rice and beans for supper tonight. I chose this recipe because I have everything needed on hand (I dread going to the grocery store before a storm hits). The smell of chili spice has already begun to fill the house, which adds warmth and comfort on this blustery day.
This recipe was featured in my last Slow Cooker Class and makes a lot. Tonight, I'll top each bowl with jalapeno peppers, green onion, cheddar cheese,...
In my mind, macaroni & cheese is synonymous with comfort. When I think of mac & cheese, my mind drifts to visions of my mom’s homemade dish, oozing with a creamy cheese sauce and topped with crunchy breadcrumbs. There is no surprise that this was the very first thing I cooked when I moved out of my family home, searching for that connection to comfort and familiarity.
I set out to make a healthier version of this family favourite without sacrificing the smooth creamy texture or taste. I also wanted to streamline the recipe to reduce the cooking time and be mindful of the mess (because who wants to clean all those dishes?)
A number of swaps led to this new and improved recipe – whole grain pasta, broccoli (gasp! It works though… think broccoli with cheese sauce), evaporated 2% milk and lower fat cheese. The outcome is probably the creamiest and most flavourful mac & cheese I’ve ever had!
Give it a try, and let me know what you think!
Those little flecks in the sauce are from whole wh...
Who doesn't love the simplicity of splitpea soup? It's warm, comforting and filling - an autumn trifecta!
Pea soup has been a cold-weather staple in my household for as long as I can remember. When I haul out my grandmother's recipe, I know I need to dedicate at least half an hour to washing, peeling and chopping all sorts of vegetables. That's why I have been so keen to streamline her recipe without sacrificing flavour. I think I have a winner here!
Using frozen chopped vegetables significantly reduces that precious prep time without losing any of the great flavour my grandmother worked so hard for. Give it a try!
Hummus was one of my first foods, given to me by my loving grandmother (or “Sittie” as my sister and I called her). My great-grandparents came to Canada from a small village in Lebanon in the early 1900’s bringing their cultural traditions with them. When my family arrived from “the old country”, they wanted to assimilate as much as possible (hence my very English last name, Michael). They were one of the first families from Lebanon to settle in Prince Edward Island and they simply wanted to belong. While I completely understand why assimilation was important to them at that time, I also feel saddened at this thought. I can’t imagine them having to leave behind so much of who they were, trying to fit into a foreign land.
I am eternally grateful that their cultural cuisine wasn’t lost to assimilation. My great-grandmother taught Sittie to cook traditional Lebanese recipes that had been passed down from generations before. The practice of learning your fami...
This recipe doesn’t need much introduction (or direction). It has been my go-to smoothie recipe for the past year or so now, I simply can’t get enough!
How can you possibly go wrong with chocolate, peanut butter and bananas? Of course if you (or someone in your household) has a peanut allergy you can simply leave the peanut butter out or you can replace it with a splash of vanilla extract for a flavour boost.
I buy bananas in bulk knowing we can’t possibly eat them all before they turn brown. When I start to see those amazing little spots form, I peel and slice the bananas and freeze them for my smoothies. I used to toss my overripe bananas into the freezer with the peels on which was a huge mistake! Working with whole frozen bananas is awkward and messy; instead try peeling and slicing before you freeze.
Frozen bananas add an amazingly creamy texture when blended, similar to a soft serve ice cream. It honestly tastes more like a shake than a smoothie. Don’t take my word f...
I have a quick, cool-down treat for you today, and one that is both parent and kid approved - Homemade Smoothie Pops! We've featured smoothies on the blog before (Mint Chocolate Smoothie); I like them because they're easy, versatile and most of all because they taste so darn good! I'm not one to fuss with a smoothie recipe because as long as there is a solid amount of fruit in the mix, it will no doubt taste delicious.
I picked up a frozen pop mould for .98 cents at a local grocery store (summer sales are amazing for this) with the intention of making a more traditional frozen treat made with 100% juice, however with my smoothie blend all ready to go, and the frozen pop mould still sitting on the counter, it was a no-brainer...I poured out two servings for my daughter and myself to enjoy as a yummy drink right away, and the rest I poured into the mould for a frozen treat we could both enjoy later that day.
This recipe is easy-peasy. I used what we had in the fridge at the time; you'll li...
Is there anything better than a picnic with someone you love? Whether you’re on a beach, in a park, on your deck or on your living room floor – picnics make mealtimes sweeter.
I’ve never had a picnic basket of my own, so over the years I would make do with a canvas bag and plastic plates, cups and utensils. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this – especially if you can reuse your dishes for environmental (and economical) purposes. I have had many memorable picnics this way; usually on a beach somewhere on Prince Edward Island’s breathtaking North shore.
Last winter, I was out doing my usual thrift store browse and I saw this sweet little wicker suitcase. It caught my eye until I saw the $8 price tag. Quickly in my head, I tried to place this little piece somewhere in my home. A dog bed? No, my pup Trixie already has her fair share of cozy spots. A blanket holder? Nope, don’t need another. On and on my mind raced until I just couldn’t justify the expense. I...