About Me

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Avocado's- my absolute favourite fruit.

Avocados contain “oleic acid”, a monounsaturated fat that  helps lower cholesterol.

Avocado is a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure

Creamy rich avocado is considered the world's healthiest fruit, because of its nutrient contents such as vitamin K, dietary fiber, potassium, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin C, copper, and reasonable calories in it.

Avocado is one of the most recommended fruits as well as a food for bodybuilding and medicine for cholesterol-related heart diseases.

Avocado and Salmon Salad- Heavenly.

Avocado with Tomatoes and Chicken.

 and did you know...

To preserve.. mash and place the avocado in the freezer. In this way, you can keep it for several months. Do not keep the avocado fruit as is in the freezer.

as where we live, we can't always find avocado's at their desired ripeness, so it is hard to plan a recipe around it.  Now I know I can freeze the meat.

Here are ten  more reasons to eat an avocado a day that I found on the Internet. The fact that they taste so good when ripe and creamy is enough for me to eat one a day, but here they are...

Prostate Cancer Prevention

Avocados have been shown to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer.

Oral Cancer Defense

Research has shown that certain compounds in avocados are able to seek out pre-cancerous and cancerous oral cancer cells and destroy them without harming healthy cells.

Breast Cancer Protection

Avocado, like olive oil, is high in oleic acid, which has been shown to prevent breast cancer in numerous studies.

Eye Health

Avocados have more of the carotenoid lutein than any other commonly consumed fruit. Lutein protects against macular degeneration and cataracts, two disabling age-related eye diseases.

Lower Cholesterol

Avocados are high in beta-sitosterol, a compound that has been shown to lower cholesterol levels. In one study, 45 volunteers experienced an average drop in cholesterol of 17% after eating avocados for only one week.

Heart Health

One cup of avocado has 23% of the recommended daily value of folate. Studies show that people who eat diets rich in folate have a much lower incidence of heart disease than those who don't. The vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, and glutathione in avocado are also great for your heart.

Stroke Prevention

The high levels of folate in avocado are also protective against strokes. People who eat diets rich in folate have a much lower risk of stroke than those who don't.

Better Nutrient Absorption

Research has found that certain nutrients are absorbed better when eaten with avocado. In one study, when participants ate a salad containing avocados, they absorbed five times the amount of carotenoids (a group of nutrients that includes lycopene and beta carotene) than those who didn't include avocados.

Glutathione Source

Avocados are an excellent source of glutathione, an important antioxidant that researchers say is important in preventing aging, cancer, and heart disease.

Vitamin E Powerhouse

Avocados are the best fruit source of vitamin E, an essential vitamin that protects against many diseases and helps maintains overall health.

One of my favourite quick snacks is sliced avocado served in between 2 slices of extra dark rye bread. YUM!  Perfect for after a work-out.

Beef/ Vegetable Stew in Bread Bowls

I have been making this stew for years. I have never followed a recipe and tend to just use what I have around the house.  My husband loves this stew, but I thought he was just being polite all these years. It's JUST Stew. What is the big fuss? But he swears it is the BEST stew out there..and thought I should share the recipe.

ok, but this is going to be hard? I don't  measure anything and I add a bit of this, a bit of that...etc...

Not a huge fan of this picture, it isn't normally "  muddy" looking like that?

Beef/Vegetable Stew  in bread bowls.   this serves my family of 4 with lots of yummy leftovers. It tastes even better when heated up again.

1. Make your bread dough in your bread machine...hit START!

4 Tbsp oil
1.5 lbs stewing beef
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced.
3 large carrots
1 cup of quartered mushrooms or while mini button mushrooms
1 bottle of dry red wine
2 cans of diced tomatoes in their liquid
1 cup flour, seasoned with all the herbs you like! 
salt and pepper.
 ( any left over vegetables in the fridge)

2. Add 2 Tbsp of oil in the bottom of a good pot.  This is mine. It is used all the time. A good investment.

Place chopped onion in hot oil and cook, until softened, set aside.

Put seasoned flour in a plastic bag. ( I am all over the map with this one. I think I add a good tsp of salt, 2 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp. oregano, 1 tsp basil,  2 tsp cayenne, 2 tsp garlic powder, anything you like!   You can't go wrong, just don't add something weird like Lavender  or cloves!

Toss your bite sized beef in the seasoned flour until coated. Add to HOT oil and sear the outsides of the meat, but don't cook through. You may need to do this in batches.

 Return onions to pot, then add 2 cans of diced tomatoes with their juice. You want to completely cover the meat and have it slowly simmer all day in a liquid. Never let it dry out, keep it on a low, but bubbling heat for as long as you have. Minimum 2 hrs. This is not a quick, after work type of meal, but the leftovers are!

At this point your bread machine is beeping. The dough is ready. Let sit to rise until you have the time to roll it out.

Divide into balls ( depends on how much dough you made) 
Roll into rounds. Put small bowls upside down on a cookie sheet.  Spray with Pam. Place dough on top to shape the " bowl". Bake at 375C until lightly brown. Again, I am SO bad with time...just watch it!  Maybe 20 minutes? or less?

Keep adding wine to keep the stew covered. Cover the pot and let simmer for an hour or two. Have a glass of wine, while admiring your stew and bread bowls baking.... stir occasionally as you check on it for liquid. Meat should  be covered.

Add potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and any other chopped  ( stew type) vegetable you have  ( I have added zucchini  , peppers as well) 1 hr before you want to eat it. Add more wine to make sure everything is covered in liquid.

Serve when potatoes are starting to fall apart...

In those cute little bread bowls you made!


Healthy, Satisfying, Afternoon Coffee/Tea Break Muffins

I swear by these for a filling, healthy, satisfying snack.

These are ideal muffins for Diabetics as well, since there is no sugar in them, just Splenda for sweetener. HIGH fibre as well.  Your colon will love you! xo ha!  I have a funny story about a Raccoon getting and eating an entire batch of these babies and I can only imagine how frequently his bowels were working after that!?

They are so satisfying and exactly what I need when I have my 3pm hunger/ need a pick me up slump!

I grab a cup of coffee or tea, take one of these out of the freezer. I keep them in zip lock bags, and nuke one in the microwave for 15 seconds or so.


 Banana/Walnut Muffins - 12 servings

1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup water
2Tbsp vinegar
1 1/2 cup Kellogg's Original All-Bran
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 Splenda sweetener ( or less, or use real sugar)
1 medium over-ripe banana
3 egg whites
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/4  chopped walnuts or a mixture of chopped walnuts and mini chocolate chips. Your choice. I am not a chocolate fan, so I stick with the nuts.


Combine milk, water and vinegar in a large bowl. Mix in All Bran and let sit for 20 minutes, until soft.
Mix all dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
Add mashed banana, egg whites and applesauce to bran mixture.
Add dry ingredients to bran mixture and mix with a spoon.
Fold in nuts/chips.
Bake in a  non-stick, sprayed ,muffin tin, no paper ( will stick to the paper) but use a spray to prevent muffins from sticking.

Bake 375C for 18 minutes or until done and look like this.

I'm a huge fan of Presidents Choice- Chocolate Mint Black Tea....that is what I was having with my muffin today.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The LOVE of the Bread Maker- Dedicated to Mindy and Tara!

Some people aren't big fans of Bread Machines. They only think they can do one thing and that is produce a funky looking loaf of bread with the paddle hole in the bottom.

However, the Bread Machine can be your very best friend! with endless possibilies.  I LOVE mine.

 Here's a few idea's for you!

Within 2 hrs I can make a last minute meal if I need to.

Make your dough in the machine-- do not bake, just the dough. On my machine, it will be ready in less than 2 hrs.

I take out the dough, roll out out into a rectangle and have fun! Sooo many options to fill this dough up!

My kids favourite:  STROMBOLI

1. Make plain bread dough in machine.
2. Pre-heat oven to 375F
3. Roll out dough into a large rectangle.
3. Place whatever ingredients you want...
    eg:  Pesto sauce, cheeses, salami, Italian meats, spinach leaves, pepperoni, sausage, etc...
4. Roll up and seal with your fingers, place seamed side down, it will be a long roll. Place on a baking stone ( Invest in one of these, as you will use them every time you make bread) At this point you can apply an egg/milk wash on the bread or spray some olive oil on top.
5. Bake, until the bread looks done. I am terrible with time, but guessing around 30 minutes.
6. Go crazy with the lovely smells in your house...get really hungry!
7. Enjoy! Slice, dip in tomato sauce, or don't.  Really good served with soup.

Artichoke Bread:

( can't find a picture, but I will take one next time I make it)

I found this type of bread while cruising around in California. It was amazing, so I had to try and duplicate it.

Again: Make basic bread DOUGH, in your machine.

1.  Roll out into a large circle.
2.  Place canned artichokes in oil on top, along with lots of shaved Parmesan and minced garlic.
3. Drizzle with more oil.
4. Gently bring up the sides of the dough, all around the circle, but leave a little bit of the middle showing, so you can see a little bit of the artichokes. Place on baking stone.
5. Bake 375F, 30 minutes until the bread looks done. Again, terrible with time.
6. Slice into wedges, serve.


yes, you heard that correctly, PASTA!  I loooove home-made pasta, nothing beats the real deal. A bit of work though, right? Fun, but yes, a little bit of labour for that love.  Well, I found a way to use the bread machine to do the kneading for you.   Then you take it to this machine to make your strips, or whatever shape you want. Try some Ravioli!

That's my husband...we use a basic board when we are working with fresh pasta as that is what we were taught to do in Italy when we took cooking lessons with the locals. It works well. Flour it up a bit. Have fun!

He must of been making lasagna noodles that day, as he has them hanging on everything! See. You don't need special equipment for drying, but this thing works well for linguine.

and here is someone making home-made ravioli. Wouldn't a Pumpkin/Sage/ Ricotta filling be good!?

the possibles are endless and once you try home-made fresh pasta with one of your most fabulous Tuscan sauces....you won't even want to go back to anything else!

So, I can hear you know..yelling at me!  WHERE is the Pasta Dough Recipe!?

I found it here. This guy will show you everything you need to know.

The Amazing Pasta Man~!

I also make bread bowls for my stews, soups, chili...so yummy! Just make your dough, then roll into thin rounds, place on a bowl, upside down with a little oil sprayed in the oven. Bake.

 or make your very own pazarotti's that you can have ready in the freezer, for quick week-day meals. All personally done to your liking.

The possibilities are endless...I make cinnamon rolls, ( make the dough in my machine, then do my thing)  foccacia, cheese bread, braided bread, you name it. You can do it.

Have fun!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Steph's Make Ahead- All in 1 Chicken Dinner

" Steph's RELAXED, gourmet all in one Chicken"

Steph's Easy- Prepare ahead, ready when you are, ALL in ONE chicken!

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
6 slices of prosciutto
6 slices of herbed goats cheese
1 small jar of roasted peppers in oil ( or make your own)
1 small jar of artichoke hearts
1/4 cup pistachio nuts , shelled and chopped. ( or pecans, almonds, walnuts)
1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves

12 small baby potatoes
2 cloves of minced garlic
baby carrots
1  chopped pepper- red
Any chopped root vegetables of your choice
1/2 cup white wine ( or more so chicken doesn't dry out)
2 Tbsp Olive oil to drizzle on vegetables and potatoes before baking

salt and pepper to taste

1. Place a slice of goats cheese, spinach, roasted pepper, artichoke heart and tsp. of nuts on each chicken breast.
2.  Wrap prosciutto around  each chicken thigh and place in a large baking pan.
3. Place root vegetables and mini potatoes all around chicken.  Splash with wine, salt and pepper and minced garlic.

Leave in refrigerator until ready to bake. Can be made 24 hrs ahead of time. Put in a 375F oven and bake for 1 hr until ready...poke potatoes and make sure they are tender.




My husband came home from work tonight...still on-call, the kids smelled the house and were excited.  11 and 9 yr olds ate every last bite.

So easy, I love make ahead dishes, as I love to enjoy my company and only have 1 dish to clean!

Entering another Chicken Dish Contest! Excited!

Remember how I won a contest a couple of years ago? Just a fluke?  But I won a Brick Oven and was published in the WISH magazine,  Website and in the Toronto Newspaper. I actually had a strange old man call me, asking me if the chicken breasts needed to be bonless or not?! wow. That scared me a bit!?

Here is the recipe, in case you are curious or need an easy, SUPER easy recipe that I have been making for years...

Stephanie's Easy Chicken

My only regret? I just wish I gave it a more interesting name!  lol

But now they have another contest, this time the prize is a

which I could use right now, as mine is giving me grief.

I just need to submit a one dish chicken dish, by the end of the month with pictures. SO today, I am off to the grocery store to get some chicken, some ingredientst that inspire me and give it a whirl!

Wish me LUCK!

ps: I will be sure to post the recipe I create ( with pictures) on here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Grapefruit- not only do they taste good and in season...but

Eating grapefruit can benefit weight loss in many ways. They are low in calories, low in sodium, high in potassium and high in fat burning enzymes. These can benefit weight loss in different ways. The low calories means we can eat grapefruit freely without consuming too many calories. A low sodium intake helps flush away excess water weight caused from high sodium foods. And, the enzymes present in grapefruit help increase fat burning.

Another positive benefit of eating grapefruit is the high water content. Grapefruits are almost 90 percent water. Eating any fruit with a high water content helps boost water ingestion and research has shown that increasing water consumption can give more energy and help increase the metabolism. Many people are discovering the benefits of eating high water foods like grapefruit and many other fruits for help in losing weight.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Oatmeal = Comfort food, stick to your ribs, GOOD for you...but

you say...

I don't have time to make oatmeal from scratch in the morning.  There is NO way you want to eat the instant stuff. ick. Most of the nutritional value is robbed of those packets as well.

So what do you do?

You buy this.
 and put it in THIS!

So you wake up to...


In a glass bowl that will fit in your large crock pot add:

1 cup of steel cut oats ( steel cut so they don't get all mushy)
1 diced up apple
1/2 milk
4 cups of water
3 Tbsp Cinnamon Sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla, dried cranberries, raisons... ( optional)

Mix in bowl. Place in Crock pot, and pour water all around bowl, but stop about 1 inch below the bowl.
This helps the oats get steam.

Turn on LOW before you go to bed and wake up to Oatmeal!

Garnish with berries if you'd like. I like this, as everyone can just help themselves when they are ready. No prep for me in the morning.


Still not convinced?

Read this!

Let oatmeal increase your health one bowl at a time. But stay away from those flavored oatmeals because they are usually full of lots of sugar.

1.Lower blood cholesterol: Oatmeal contains a soluble fiber known as betaglucan, and betaglucan helps to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood stream. The way this works is the oatmeal sort of gathers the bad cholesterol to itself while traveling through the body, then takes the bad cholesterol with it as it exits. Just a bowl of oatmeal a day can help your body.

2.Losing weight: That fiber in oatmeal also helps with weight loss. The oatmeal makes your stomach feel full, and the oatmeal itself normally only has about 150 calories per half cup. And, of course, the extra fiber intake allows your body to more easily pass along food.

3.Energy: Oatmeal has a good number of carbohydrates, and while in some circles carbs have become a dirty word for those who are dieting, you body needs carbs to keep up its energy levels. That’s where oatmeal can come in handy. Low fat and relatively low calorie, a single bowl of oatmeal can help to boost your energy levels (very important in the morning) while not loading your body with fat. Just don’t over do it and eat nothing but tons of oatmeal, because those carbs will add body weight eventually.

4.Fighting cancer: Oatmeal is no cure for cancer, because a cure has yet to be discovered, but oatmeal does contain plenty of insoluble fiber which helps the body to fight against bile acids, and their toxicity, which helps to lower the risks of cancer. At least according to the American Cancer Society.

5.Memory: Oatmeal has plenty of vitamin B, which is important for the brain and nervous system to function properly. Help keep your mental faculties alert and active by having a little oatmeal each day.

6.Dry skin: Have dry, itchy skin? Applying an oatmeal pack or mask can help. The natural, lubricating fats in oats allow oatmeal to be a great moisturizer and can leave a thin layer of protection on the skin. How to make an oatmeal mask? Ground up some oatmeal in a coffee grinder until it’s quite fine. Mix in a bowl with warm water and honey, then let that sit for five minutes. Wash your face, and while it’s still slightly damp, rub your oatmeal mixture onto your skin. Leave it on for ten minutes, then wash off with water. Easy!

7.Acne: Since oatmeal is good for dry skin, it’s also good for acne and cleaning the skin. Cook up some oatmeal, let it cool, then apply and let it sit for about ten minutes. It’s really that simple. And oatmeal and a little water are much cheaper than many of the face cleansers on the market.

8.Neurodermatitis: In case you don’t know, neurodermatitis is a skin disease that can leave one with itchy, sometimes inflamed skin. Oatmeal baths are supposed to be good for relief of neurodermatitis, which makes sense because oatmeal is good for dry skin. But don’t just take my word for it. Ask your doctor. And no, oatmeal baths aren’t just a giant bowl of oatmeal; it’s a regular bath with a bag of oatmeal dumped into it. Again, ask your doctor for advice and directions.

9.Hair: Yep, oatmeal is good for the hair. Don’t believe me? Mix up some oatmeal, then apply it to your hair while in the shower. Rub it in just as you would a shampoo, then let it sit for a minute or so. Wash it out completely, dry your hair, and then feel your hair. I’d bet your hair will feel soft and strong, and it’ll be clean, too. Lots of shampoos have oatmeal in them.

10.Colon cleaner: Ooo, gross! But cleaning the colon helps the body in many ways, including reducing the risk of cancer. Remember all that high fiber content in oatmeal? Well, it’s also good for helping to keep the colon clean by forcing along food particles out of the system. I know, you don’t like thinking about it too much, but it can improve your health.