Pepperoni Pizza Delicata Squash Boats

Pepperoni Pizza Delicata Squash BoatsDelicata squash are also known as sweet potato squash because their taste and texture is quite similar to sweet potatoes. Unlike most other winter squash the skin can be eaten once cooked so it is an easy vegetable to work with- no peeling required and nothing goes to waste. There’s nothing wrong with some real pizza now and then and this swap might be sacrilegious to some but it is a good way to get the flavours of pizza with some extra nutrients. For those trying to eat healthier or cut down on simple carbs there are lots of little swaps that can modify a traditional dish to be lighter in saturated fats, free of refined sugars and flours and richer in complex carbs, fiber, lean protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Continue Reading →

Chicken Tomatillo Soup

Chicken Tomatillo SoupTomatillos are a staple ingredient in Mexican cuisine and were used as far back as 800 B.C. by the Aztecs. Their more authentic name is “tomato verde”, Spanish for “green tomato”, and they make up an essential part of the famous green Mexican sauce called salsa verde. They are similar to regular red tomatoes except that their taste is less sweet and more tart and their texture is firmer and meatier. Their seeds are really tiny and their skins are very thin so they neither need to be peeled nor de-seeded like regular tomatoes often do for soups and sauces. Continue Reading →

Tomato Artichoke Frittata

Tomato Artichoke FrittataI had some fresh, very flavourful cherry tomatoes from my friend’s mom’s garden so I wanted to put them in a dish that would let them shine. Mrs. Gill is one of the best cooks I have ever met so I was really excited to see her new garden and to get to try some of the fruits of her labour. For me, something homegrown, just like something homemade, has a really special quality to it that the stuff in stores just can’t compete with. Frittatas, the fancy word for egg pie or crustless quiche, are great for using up leftover odds and ends as well as showcasing an ingredient. Continue Reading →

Black Rice Stuffed Pumpkins

Black Rice Stuffed PumpkinsStuffed pumpkins are a very seasonally appropriate and healthy side dish. The best part is that the filling can be made the night before or morning of serving and the pumpkins can be hollowed out, placed in a pan, covered tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated. Then the mixture just needs to be spooned into the pumpkins and it all bakes for 40 minutes. This makes it ideal for serving guests because it does not require much attention at this point, so you don’t get tied down to the kitchen and have more time to visit. The pumpkins themselves have a sweet, dense flesh that goes nicely with heavy whole grains and legumes. The outer skin is inedible and acts like a bowl, keeping everything together. This is a very grounding dish, with enough fiber, healthy fats and protein to slow down digestion and leave one with a comfortably satiated feeling. As the weather gets colder we can maintain balance by choosing heavier foods and something like this offers a lot of nutrients.

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Honey Sesame Glazed Butternut Salad

Honey Sesame Glazed Butternut SaladAdding some cooked squash to a salad makes it a bit heavier, a transition between the light food of summer full of raw produce and richer, cooked fall food. Butternut squash is a good option for salads, it is really sweet, slightly nutty, vibrantly orange and when warm and dense is highly qualified as healthy comfort food. Continue Reading →

Spanish Stuffed Peppers

Spanish Stuffed PeppersHalved mini bell peppers are excellent bases to stuff for two bite appetizers and snacks. They stay sturdy enough to hold heavier meat-based fillings, but once cooked they are tender enough to easily bite through. Their freshness and sweetness compliments richly flavoured chorizo but keeps the whole dish light. They are high in fiber, which makes them filling and helps the digestive process, as well as vitamin C, a nutrient necessary for strong immunity, wound healing and energy production. Continue Reading →

Strawberry Almond Milk

Strawberry Almond MilkHomemade almond milk has a fresh, light taste and a silky smooth consistency. It is not as stable as commercial versions- it only lasts for a few days and it doesn’t heat well for warm drinks like hot chocolate. That being said, its richer flavour makes it worth trying. Plus, there is an upside to its fragility- since it does not contain any of the stabilizers and preservatives that commercial versions do, it is a viable option for those with digestive issues and sensitive systems. Continue Reading →

Kale Chips

Kale ChipsThe unimaginable happened the other day when my dad asked for kale chips. His usual response to vegetables, especially leafy green ones, is to snub them or drench them in cheesy or creamy sauce. For him to request a vegetable dish is uncharacteristic, but for him to request kale, well I have a hard time believing I’m not dreaming. I made them several years ago at a family gathering in too hot of an oven and burned most of them so I was surprised that he remembered that and wanted more. They do still taste like kale but there is a richness from olive oil and then just salt or flavoured salt makes them that much more palatable. Continue Reading →

Sugar Pumpkin Soup

Sugar Pumpkin SoupSugar pumpkins are a small, sweet variety of the famous round orange squash synonymous with autumn. They fall into the hardier winter squash family (unlike lighter summer squash like zucchini) filling bins and tables at all the markets and grocers this time of year. Cooking with winter squash can be very rewarding or very disappointing, especially with the simpler dishes like soup. Continue Reading →

Salt Baked Purple Potatoes

Salt Roasted Purple PotatoesRoasting potatoes in a bed of coarse salt makes the inside light and fluffy while crisping up the outside. Baked potatoes are a simple and classic side dish but it can be tricky to get the right texture when preparing them on their own without a big piece of meat in the same pot to provide moisture and seasoning. Using a few handfuls of salt takes all the guesswork out and works consistently, even if the ratios, time and temperature are a bit off.  Continue Reading →