Category Archives: cooking

taco time


Homemade veggie tacos

Besides running, my other love is Mexican food.  I try to avoid meat so I have perfected a veggie taco recipe, and it is quite delicious!

Start with veggie round. I like Yves Original Veggie Ground Round. Saute onion with veggie round until onions are translucent. Add 1 cup of water and any taco seasoning mix. I like Old El Paso Taco seasoning mix. Let simmer until water has evaporated and you have the right consistency. You’ll find the veggie round a perfect substitute for meat and you won’t be able to taste or tell the difference!

Next I mash up some avocado with diced onion, squeeze of lime and some chopped coriander. For salsa, chop tomatoes, add diced onion, coriander and I always add some extra spicy hot Thai chili peppers! Add salt and pepper.

You can buy round tostidos or simply use hard shell tacos broken in half. Lie shells on baking sheet, add veggie mix, spicy salsa and top with cheese. Bake in 350-degree oven for 20-minutes. ENJOY with homemade guacamole! Ole!

Lisa’s Twice-Baked Granola

Also known as Hairy Legs Granola, here’s my favorite recipe for homemade granola.

1.5 cups oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
2 cups various dried fruits*
1/2 cup flax seed (ground)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
dash salt

* I especially like dates and dried cranberries. Raisins are good too, as are dried apricots. Try dried apple, or if you like sweet, dried pineapple. You can use almost any dried fruit!

Various dried fruit

I always make small batches because I like to mix and match the dried fruit and nut combinations. Small batches give me the opportunity to make different flavors.

I use 1 cup of the regular oats and 1/2 cup of organic oats. Toast the oats in the over at 350-degrees for 5 minutes. Then I toast the sliced almonds and then the coconut. I toast everything separately because all ingredients toast at different speeds. It takes a few extra minutes but ensures the coconut doesn’t burn and your oats get nicely toasted!

Organic Oats

While toasting, I cut up the dried fruit. Dried fruit has sugars which make them sticky. To ensure the fruit doesn’t stick together I mix with ground flax seed. Then I dump all ingredients in a big bowl and start my “glue”.

The “glue” is the wet mixture that holds everything together. Start by melting the butter over low heat in a saucepan. Add honey and a splash of almond and vanilla extract. I’ve never known any recipe to mix these two extracts but the smell is just heavenly that I cannot help but use them both! Then a dash of salt to even out the sweet flavors.

Melt together the honey and butter

Once the mixture is melted I slowly drizzle over the dry ingredients, ensuring everything gets covered. Then I press into a pan and bake for 5 minutes at 350-degees. Remove from oven, let cool and ta-tah! You have delicious granola! Try it with some plain yogurt!

Really delicious granola

Bon Appetite!

Finally getting my appetite and love for cooking back, I thought I’d share some of the local cuisine we sampled on our trip to south east Asia.

These are fresh spring rolls we ordered in a restaurant/bar in Hanoi. The owner was a young guy who has an uncle in Toronto. Delicious food. If you will be in Vietnam, check out Caballos!

Spring Rolls in Hanoi, Vietnam

Spring Rolls in Hanoi, Vietnam

This was categorized under the “drink” section on a Malaysian menu in Kuala Lumpur. The food in Malaysia was hands-down the best. This “drink” is just a sampling of the strange and wonderful  items on the menu (…and yes, that is corn and nuts in there)!

"drink" in Kuala Lumpur

Drink in Kuala Lumpur

We had the fortune of finding a night FOOD market in Malaysia (Langkawi island). The market was filled with rows of locals selling The Most Amazing food. The BBQ chicken (below) is among many of the delicious wares.

BBQ Chicken (malaysia)

BBQ Chicken (malaysia)

Okay, now these scallops that were BBQed in their shell were without a doubt mouth-wateringly amazing!! I think we ordered them twice and went back the next night! These sea-fresh scallops were prepared with lemon, oil, garlic and shallots – cooked to perfection over a hot coal BBQ!

Delicious Scallops!

Delicious Sea-side Scallops!

Among the delicacies in Asia was the Dim Sum! And among the superb Dim Sum were the steamed pork dumplings. Large in size, these dumplings were soft and moist on the outside and warm and flavorful on the inside….

Pork Dumpling

Pork Dumpling

One cannot count their food blessings in Asia without chicken satay. A peanut sensation, these BBQ skewered chicken loved their peanut sauce. The pairing was to-die-for!

Chicken Satay

And at last, I leave you with this seafood noodle medley from Vietnam. Noodles are high on any Asian menu and do not disappoint with fresh veggies, squid, shrimp and tender noodles done to perfection!

Seafood Medley

Scalloped Potato Casserole

When needing a little comfort food I look no further than my potato bin. Scrounging together what few ingredients I have (grocery shopping is low on my to-do list) I whipped up a tasty and heartening potato casserole. It was actually a hybrid of scalloped potatoes and a casserole. Delicious and satisfying – whatever it was!

4 medium-sized potatoes (peeled and scalloped)
3 tbsp butter
1.5 cups of milk (I use 2%)
1/2 cup flour
1 cup of cheddar cheese
1 roasted garlic glove (optional, onions work well too)
Salt & pepper to taste

In a saucepan, warm the milk on medium low heat. In another saucepan, melt the butter. Sift the flour into the melting butter, stirring constantly. Once flour is absorbed, add the warm milk to the roux, half a cup at a time. Add the finely minced garlic (or onion), cheddar cheese, salt & pepper.

In a casserole dish, arrange the scalloped potatoes in a single layer. Add 1/4 cup of the mixture to cover the layer of potatoes. Keep layering until you’ve finished the potatoes. Pour any remaining mixture over the potatoes.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven at 375-degrees for 1-hour.

Enjoy !

Lisa's Scalloped Potato Casserole

my love affair with the food network

I don’t watch much TV. It’s not the first thing I turn on when I get home, nor the last thing I see before nodding off to sleep at night.

But I will turn on the tube for the food network.

My favorite shows have evolved over time. Certainly, Restaurant Makeover was at the top for a while. Another watch-worthy show is Unwrapped; which takes you through an interesting history of various food items such as pizza, Shreddies cereal, gum, etc…

My favorite host is probably Ina Garten. Perhaps it’s her continually sunny disposition, she exudes happiness and a true love for food and entertaining. Also a favorite is Jamie Oliver. I was apprehensive about him at first because I thought, a British chef? But he’s got a raw edge with the Jamie at Home series; wherein he goes into his garden, pulls fresh produce from the ground and makes quite hardy and simple dishes.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of the food network is its infectious nature, how watching and hearing can inspire anyone to cook. The simplicity of it, and the joy derived from it… I’m certainly enjoying the results!

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