ABC – Apple, Beet, Carrot Juice

If you go to Whole Foods they sell this as an ABC- An Apple, Beet, Carrot juice.

 It makes me feel like I am sitting with Damon Salvatore (of course I like the bad brother better! those eyes!) in the library drinking. Come on, I like the way they take it out of the bag and pour it into a crystal glass.  I mean really. That’s what all the civilized Vampires do!

You will need:

  • 1 small beet
  • 1 apple
  • 2 carrots (they can be bigger than the ones I have used)
  • juicer
Step 1: get out the Jack Lalanne juicer.
Step 2: chop the apple and beet in half, then juice the beet, the apple and the carrots.

Step 3: Drink it immediately after juicing for optimum nutrition.

Step 4: wash the 29 parts that the juicer breaks down to.

Natural Fruit Vodkas

“I went out with a guy who once told me I didn’t need to drink to make myself more fun to be around. I told him, I’m drinking so that you’re more fun to be around.” 
― Chelsea HandlerAre You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea

I have been making my my own fruit vodkas for years. As the spring and summer approaches I make whatever fruit comes into season and then leave the fruit steeping in the vodka until at least Christmas. It makes a great gift and you always have something special on hand if someone stops by for a cocktail. I have made some that I have left for as long as 1 year and they are all good. You can make so many different kinds. They are better than the store bought variety because they are made with two things fruit and vodka, not full of artificial flavours. I try to make something new every year. Last fall my neighbour Shelley gave me a huge box of apples she brought from the Okanagan Valley. Her son said “why don’t you make some apple vodka?” and I thought…..why not. It was the breakout hit of the year!! I love to serve it like a liqueur in a shot glass with a couple of the same fresh fruit in the glass. I put a few fresh raspberries in the glass then pour over the raspberry vodka. This is fantastic with raspberry/blueberry and the pomegranate is really fun. It gives you a pop of fresh flavour at the end. You can also use them in your favorite martinis.

I have made:

  • pomegranate- put seeds in jar (this is made in Nov/Dec when in season)
  • apple 
  • blueberry
  • raspberry
  • strawberry
  • blueberry/raspberry
  • blueberry/ strawberry
  • blueberry/strawberry/raspberry
  • orange/vanilla/coffee- you stick coffee beans in slits cut in the oranges and add a fresh vanilla bean
  • clementine- peel them and stick them in the jar whole
  • lemoncello
They are really so easy to make.
You will need:
  • vodka (lots!) I start a pot with one bottle, then add more fruit and vodka as the pay checks get deposited. That way you don’t feel the pinch all at once. They also don’t look at you like you are a complete drunk at the liquor store.
  • fruit (lots) when something is in season go to a farm and buy a flat of fruit
  • a large container with a lid that will seal the fruit and vodka mix.
  • strainers/ coffee filters once completed- some fruit has sediment on bottom and needs to be poured through a coffee filter or several to make it clear.
Step 1: gather your fruit, your vodka and a clean glass jar with a lid. If you can use organic especially with something like apples which are typically a fruit on the “dirty dozen” list of fruit that is high in pesticides do it.
Step 2: wash and core apples. I use a melon baler. I then remove stems and chop into quarters. I do not peel the apples because the skins give the vodka a nice amber colour. Put in as many pieces of apple as you can fit into the jar.
Step 3: fill jar with vodka.
Step 4: seal jar and leave in a dark place for at least 2 months. If you have soft fruit like raspberries or strawberries I would leave it for at least 6 months – 1 year. This works perfectly if you start the vodka in the Spring when Strawberries are ripe then keep it until Christmas when you would serve it. You can make apple vodka at any time because they are available year round but, normally you need lots of fruit so you buy it when its at it’s best and also cheapest.
This is after about 1 month-you see the fruit at the top of the jar is starting to get brown but the bottom is not yet. 
After approx 2 months or when all the apples are brown. I strain out the fruit (make sure you put a bowl under that strainer-you don’t want to let your precious hooch go down the drain!) and disgard.
I then fill with another bag of apples and return the vodka to the jar and leave it another 2 months and strain.The apple vodka needs to be strained through coffee filters a few times to make it clear. The apple vodka is very smooth and similar in taste to Ice cider (not the hard cider you buy like a cooler) this is like “Neiges”- which is an iced cider made in Quebec and very similar  to Ice wine where they pick the fruit after the first hard frost and it is sweet and concentrated. (Neiges is a gorgeous product if you haveb’t tried it it is excellent!)
This was my collection from last Christmas. I like to save my favourite Prosecco bottles that have great resealable lids for my moonshine! I also buy small vinegar bottles from the Dollar Store for gift bottles, they come with a nice little spout and they cost a buck! I try to pretty them up with labels and ribbons etc…

They are great served in a shot glass with the fresh fruit and really are like a liqueur or you can add them to a drink like a martini. They are so much nicer than the artificial flavoured vodkas in the store.

Drink it cold.

Make a lovely Martini like the Apple Martini or the Raspberry Martini shown here. Go to my other post called Raspberry and Apple Martinis for the exact recipe.

Chicken and Mushrooms

Chicken with Mushrooms and garden salad. 
Another quick fry chicken and a side salad. It’s the weekday quick protein and veggie dinner.

You will need:


  • 2 chicken breasts- sliced to butterfly and pounded flat
  • 2 cups -any mushroom you like
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 tsp dry oregano (more if you like)
  • 2-3 tbsps white wine
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley 
  • cucumber
  • romaine lettuce
  • tomato
  • 1 tsp oregano (dry)
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt/pepper

Step 1: slice chicken until almost cut in two allowing the breast to be pounded flat(butterflied) between wax paper. Sprinkle both sides with oregano, salt and pepper.

Step 2: in a bowl add all vegetables and oregano. Wait until just before serving to add vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper
Step 3: in a hot pan quickly fry chicken on both sides . When cooked remove and deglaze pan with a splash of white wine. Cook for 2-3 minutes and turn off heat, finally add butter and it should make a simple pan sauce.
Step 4: In another pan fry mushrooms, garlic and parsley with a bit of olive oil. Once cooked add the pan sauce you made earlier.
Step 5: Finish salad by adding oil and vinegar. Toss.
Step 6: Serve chicken with mushrooms, sauce and salad.

Leftover 5 Minute Rice Pudding

I always have leftover rice. If you are looking for a quick dessert that takes 5 minutes try this jiffy rice pudding in just 3 easy steps.

Kids and husbands will never know it took you 5 minutes and you can create so many combinations.

You will need:

1 cup cooked rice (double the recipe for 4 portions)
3/4 cup milk (you could use almond, rice or cow!)
1 tbsp sweetened coconut
1-2 tbsp honey (or sweetener of your choice)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Toppings : Strawberries, blueberries, mango, raisins, granola, bananas, grated apple, chopped pineapple- you can also add a tsp of rum or vanilla to the berries if you like.

Step 1: in a small saucepan add cooked rice, (I used brown rice) milk, coconut, honey, vanilla. Cook 5 minutes -it may look too liquid but it will absorb into the rice as it cools.
Step 2: put into 2 glasses (if they are fancy it makes the deception even better!) Chill.
Step 3: serve your fancy rice pudding and your choice of topping and they will never know! 

Czech Roast Pork and Dumplings with Sauerkraut

Bohemian cuisine is influenced by it’s neighbouring countries. Many dishes have a strong Austrian, German or Hungarian influence. It tends to be heavy, hearty fare. There are lots of  roasted meats, potatoes, onions, dumplings, pickled vegetables, soups and breads.
This was called Roast Pork with “Kapusta” and “Knedliky” in my house. (which means roast pork with sauerkraut and dumplings) My mother used to make it for Sunday dinner. Everyone would come over and there was always a fight for any crispy pork crackling and everyone wanted the outside slice. It is fall apart tender and the sauerkraut is a really nice contrast to the rich meat and the soft dumplings which are more like a bread. If you have never eaten Sauerkraut and you think you won’t like it you may be pleasantly surprised. The sour, salty contrast to the meat is so delicious. I always remembered my mother making it but, I never thought my husband would ever eat it. This was the fist time in 24 years I have ever made it and he loved it!
 Who Knew?
You will need:
  • a pork shoulder/butt roast- mine is 1.5kgs (I just asked my favourite butcher to cut one they had in half)
  • 2 tbsp mustard (strong Dijon not hot dog mustard)
  • 2 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic -crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • beer to cook meat in – just enough to provide some moisture and to cover onions. (approx. 1 can)
  • 1 onion
  • apple or applesauce
  • 1 bottle of sauerkraut (usually in cooler where the kosher pickles are in grocery stores)
  • 2-3 slices bacon
  • 1 -2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 onion chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp wine or water
  • stale bread cubed (3 cups)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • cheesecloth
  • Optional I like to add a bit of chopped parsley
Step1: remove roast from packaging and dry with paper towels.
Step 2: prepare a paste with mustard (I have used a hot horseradish mustard), caraway seeds, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic paste. Marinade covered in fridge 24 hours if possible.
Step 3: let the meat come to room temperature at least 1 hour before putting in oven. Set oven to 350 degrees F.
Step 4: chop onions and place in bottom of the pan. Place meat on top. Cover and roast in oven 1 hour. Uncover meat and roast another 2-3 hours, turning every hour. Add enough beer after 1 hour to cover onions and keep pan moist. If the pan gets too dry add a bit more. When meat is falling apart, it’s done.
Step 5: rinse sauerkraut in colander under cool water for a few minutes. Squeeze and return to pot.
Step 6: in a saute pan. Fry bacon and once almost crunchy, remove and fry onions in same pan.
Step 7: add cooked onions and bacon to sauerkraut. Add water to almost cover and cook 20 mins add flour to white wine and mix to create a slurry/paste, add this paste to sauerkraut. Cook further 10 minutes.If it gets too dry you can add 1/4 cup of water.
Step 8: prepare dumplings. add all dry ingredients to a medium bowl: flour, baking soda, baking powder,
and salt.Stir to mix. Add eggs and milk mixing well with a wooden spoon. Add stale bread cubes.
Step 9: lay out a piece of cheesecloth (double thickness) on counter and add half the dough. It is very wet so do not be alarmed.
Step 10: roll up the cheesecloth and tie with kitchen safe twine.
Step 11: boil in salted water for 20 minutes
Step 12: cut ends and remove from cheesecloth as soon as you can handle.
Step 13: remove pork from oven and allow to rest covered with foil for 15 minutes. You can slice the pork or what I do is I separate the meat where it naturally wants to fall apart. I remove every piece of fat and serve beautifully cleaned chunks that can be pulled apart and really do not need a knife to cut.
Step 14: strain juice that is left in the pan, skim off oil and return to a small pan cooking to reduce liquid (you can also add 1 tbsp of cornstarch to 1 tbsp of cold water-stir to combine then add to pan juices to thicken)

Banana Breakfast Wrap

Next time you are thinking of a quick breakfast that you can eat in the car or take on the train. This is it!

My friend Deb made this many years ago. She used Vector cereal but, the options are really endless and very good. Try it!

You will need:

  • a wrap
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • cereal
  • a banana
  • you could use peanut butter, honey, cereal banana
  • almond butter, sliced almonds, banana
  • any nut butter, strawberry jam, cereal,  fresh strawberries
AS EASY AS 1,2,3
Step 1: I used small wraps. Spread a tbsp peanut butter on wrap. Crumble any cereal you like and sprinkle a thin layer on top of the peanut butter (don’t use too much) Top with a banana.
Step 2: roll up tightly and it should stick together. 
Step 3: slice and go!
For some reason I heard Russell Peter’s voice saying “take it and GO!”

Mocha Choco Ice Cream Cake

This is an ancient recipe I found in the Toronto Star in the 80’s. Look how nicely I cut out the article and glued it on paper and put it in a binder! (obviously the work of someone in their 20’s creating something special OMG!) I have modified it in a few ways but, it is based on this recipe called Layered Ice Cream Cake. This is the kind of cake all men go crazy for for some reason. Even when they say they don’t like ice cream cake they love it. It’s right up there with the key lime pie. There is no baking involved (obviously) and it can stay in your freezer for at least a month. This is a perfect dessert for a summer party. You can make it the day before and it feeds a huge crowd. I am telling you they go nuts for it!

*in the first picture I forgot the Oreo crumbs in the second I forgot the almond cookies so, I have included both.

You will need:

  • 9 1/2 inch spring form pan (that s a pan with two pieces that lock together)
  • food processor/blender (unless you buy crumbs)
  • 1  box of your favourite almond cookies 
  • Oreo crumbs
  •  1 cup whipped cream
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • instant coffee/espresso
  • slices almonds
  • chocolate chips
  • Skor bits (caramel toffee chunks- you could chop up a bar!)
  • 1 chocolate ice cream (small high quality tub is perfect size)
  • 1 vanilla ice cream
  • 1 coffee ice cream
It ain’t low fat but, it’s high impact! and you don’t eat it it everyday. I think you have to use a high quality ice cream here- Ben & Jerry’s or Haagen Dasz is perfect for quality and size of container. There are lots of steps and it can be messy but the end result is so worth it. The only real effort is making the chocolate ganache/sauce and making the crust. If you are not a baker this is an impressive dessert and you will look like a star. 
Did I mention? It is crazy good!
Let the ice cream soften for 20 minutes before using.
Step 1: completely line the spring form pan with plastic wrap so it comes over the outside edges.
Step 2: in a food processor add a little more than half the package of almond cookies and grind until fine
powder, add I tbsp melted butter (20 seconds in microwave) and 1/4 cup Oreo crumbs. Press the crumbs into the plastic lined pan making sure its even and in all corners.
*if you have a few cookies that just don’t chop up …just eat them! I used these cookies which are from Sweden and you can buy them at any grocery store or Ikea I like them because they have no artificial additives in them. (kind of dumb to focus on that since there is crap in the skor bits and Oreos but there you have it- these are things I would rarely buy.)  
Step 3: cut the carton in half and pull off of ice cream. Slice into thin slices. I find when you cut the rounds in half it makes the job easier (on this first layer I kept them whole and its not as easy to cut them evenly or to place them)
Step 4: layer the ice cream over the crust and squish with your fingers or the back of a spoon to help fill in gaps. Put back in freezer for 10 minutes and you can add the other tubs of ice cream back to the freezer while you make the ganache (chocolate sauce) You could also make the sauce first before starting the recipe.
Step 4: take a small container of whipped cream and let come to just boiling. Watch it! it will happen quickly and can easily boil over the pot if you walk away. (ask me how I know that!) As soon as the cream boils remove from heat and add 1 1/3 cups of good quality choc chips (don’t buy artificial chocolate, you have invested in good ice cream do not go cheap now, it makes all the difference!) Leave the chips for 1 minute and then stir until all chips melt and you have ganache. Remove from pan add add to something you can easily pour with. I used a large measuring cup. You should have enough sauce to cover the layers and have leftovers for serving with your cake.
Step 5: get cake from freezer and pour a layer of sauce on chocolate layer of ice cream, then add some Skor bits and almond slices.
Step 6: slice vanilla ice cream and quickly layer on top of cake, now its starting to melt.Move it
I find it best to go around the outside first, then fill in gaps, smooth with a spoon
 (it doesn’t have to be perfect)
Step 7: add more chocolate ganache/sauce, sprinkle almonds, skor bits, put back in freezer another 10 minutes.
Step 8: slice final coffee ice cream
Step 9: cover final layer, smooth with back of spoon.
Step 10: cover with chocolate ganache, almonds, skor bits and put in freezer at least 5 hours to firm.
* you should have leftover chocolate ganache which can be served with the cake
 (you can reheat in microwave 10 seconds before serving)
Step 11: remove the spring form outer ring. Peel back plastic wrap and cut with a large knife run under hot water for a few seconds and dried off. It makes a clean cut. You will just need a tiny slice because it is very rich and incredibly divine.
You can also remove the nasty, melty plastic wrap, then just pick up entire cake and put on new clean plastic wrap. You can entirely cover the cake with plastic wrap once it is frozen solid. It is a good idea to cover cake entirely so it does not absorb any smells from anything in the freezer. It can stay in freezer for up to a month. Not that it will last that long!
I know you want to make this!


When you have some good tomatoes and a bit of fresh basil this is such a classic appetizer.
 Bruschetta is pronounced BREW-SKETA not BRA-SHETA its really normally just toasted bread with tomatoes squished on the bread topped with salt and maybe olive oil. Mine is a little more jazzed up.

You will need:

  • bread (I used a french baguette)
  • 2 ripe tomatoes chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • fresh basil
  • good balsamic
  • good olive oil
  • flake salt or grey salt
  • pepper
  • fresh clove of garlic
  • fresh parmesano reggiano
This is the time you want to bring out your best olive oil and a good aged balsamic (but believe me any olive oil and any balsamic is still good.)
Step 1: in a small bowl add chopped tomatoes, crushed garlic, olive oil and pepper.
Step 2: slice and toast your bread. I slice my baguette on a diagonal so I get as much area as possible and then I put 2 slices in each slot of my toaster and just toast lightly. If you want it crunchier… toast it longer. If you have lots to do you can toast under the broiler in the oven (you need to watch it carefully -it can burn quickly) Once toasted and still warm I rub the bread a few times on one side with a raw garlic clove (no more than at least once over the surface area -it can taste too strong if you overdo it) 
Step 3: Drizzle good olive oil on bread..
Step 4: Top the toast with the tomatoes diving the mixture evenly among your sliced bread.
Step 5: add sliced basil, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, sprinkle some course fancy salt if you have it (I used a grey salt)  and finally add a fine grating of Parmesano cheese.
My husband would eat bread dipped in good olive oil any day of the week, you give him this he is your friend for life!
What a start to a nice meal!

Grilled Teriyaki Salmon

Grilled Salmon with a light teriyaki sauce, brown rice and broccoli  sounds like the perfect spring dinner.

You will need:

  • piece of salmon  (mine is perfect for 2 people)
  • 2 tbsp Mirin (sweetened cooking wine condiment avail in grocery stores)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic- crushed
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 sliced green onions/scallions
  • 1 cup rice (mine is brown)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1/2 lemon
  • optional* sprinkle of black sesame seeds

I have selected a piece of wild salmon. I always choose wild  because I think its a nicer fish than Atlantic but, you choose what you like. I wanted to show you this new product I found. It’s a germinated brown rice and it cooks up in 25 minutes vs. regular brown rice which normally takes 45 minutes to cook. I think it’s a great product because the rice cooks up quicker and it’s nice and fluffy. You can use whatever rice you prefer just cook it based on package instructions.
Step 1: prepare rice. In this instance I used 1 cup of rice to 1 3/4 cups water bring to boil, turn down to low and cover. Cook 25 minutes, turn off heat and leave in pot until ready to serve.
Step 2: prepare the teriyaki sauce in a small bowl. I always store my ginger in the freezer where it lasts forever. I grate my frozen ginger right into the bowl and then stick the rest back in the freezer. Add crushed garlic, mirin, soy, honey, sesame oil, olive oil. Mix well to dissolve honey. 
Step 3: you can grill the piece of fish whole or I have divided into 3 portions. I leave the skin on. Marinate the fish in 1/2 of the teriyaki sauce for 30 minutes -1 hour.
Step 4: Heat the grill to medium/high. I put a piece of foil on top of the grill and place the fish skin side down, when I flip the fish the skin stays on the foil and then it makes for an easy clean up. Fish cooks quickly a few minutes on each side and remove.
Step 5: while the fish is grilling I take the washed asparagus with the bottoms trimmed and place it in a large saute pan with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/4 cup of water. I cook on high for a few minutes stirring to coat all spears. Once the water has evaporated they fry a bit in the oil. I add salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
Step 6: Top with the remaining teriyaki sauce, a sprinkle of black sesame seeds and the chopped scallions.

Mushroom Miso Soup

Mushroom Miso Soup in a beef broth. 

You will need:

  • a box of beef broth (you could use vegetable/chicken if you like)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-2 packages of mixed mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp of dried mushrooms (chopped finely)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 large onion chopped fine
  • 4-5 sprigs if thyme
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • salt/pepper
  • 2 shakes of worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp miso paste (Japanese fermented soy beans available in most grocery stores) 
* If you don’t add the miso paste this soup is still very good.
Step 1: chop mushrooms, onions, dried mushrooms, parsley and crush garlic.
Step 2: add onions to saucepan and fry in 2 tbsp olive oil. Add salt/pepper and cook until starting to brown around the edges.
Step 3: add fresh chopped mushrooms and saute until most of water has evaporated and volume is reduced by half.
Step 4: add crushed garlic (in a garlic press) and dried mushrooms, cook for 1 minute. Add broth, water, miso and chopped parsley. Cook for 5-10 minutes on low simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
Step 5: serve