Friendly Food Snobs

easy bbq chicken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This bbq chicken is huge on taste and short on prep time. I came up with it the summer Oscar was born and just remembered it the other day. Depending how much time you have you can marinate it for as little as one hour or overnight. I’m often short on time and dinner hour is approaching (eeek..again!) and I’ve  had success marinating in just one hour. My three year old loves this chicken. Feel free to add more siracha if you like more spice.

Ingredients:
6-8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp siracha
2 tbsp ketchup
3 cloves garlic roughly chopped

Combine all ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl, cover and refrigerate. Grill on the bbq at 375 degrees turning once. I’ve served this with quinoa and a kale salad or arugula salad.

beef kebobs and mint garlic yogurt sauce

beef kebobsbeef kebobs beef kebobsThese are the best beef kebobs for a winter supper. Middle eastern flavours served with rice and a yogurt sauce that tastes amazing and takes two minutes to assemble. I’ve been making variations of this recipe for about 10 years and I think I’m finally happy with it. Warming, filling, and perfect for this polar freeze Toronto has experienced this winter. The recipe made enough for our family of three (and a prego me) to have for two dinners. So I would say serves 4-6 people. Want to do a veg on the side? I make a simple green salad with cucumber and greens, or roasted cauliflower florets with olive oil, s&p and lemon.

Ingredients for beef kebobs:
600 grams lean ground beef
1 egg
1 large cooking onion grated (or 2 small)
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp yellow curry powder
fresh black pepper to taste (I like a lot)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Soak 8-10 wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using your hands or paper towel squeeze all the excess moisture from the grated onion. Combine all ingredients and using the back of a dinner fork blend and mash together. Let beef mixture rest five minutes.

Holding the skewer with your left hand over the parchment lined pan, scoop some of the meat mixture with your right and form it along the skewer. I find it easiest to lay it on the lined pan and form the kebob along the skewer. Put only four or five skewers per pan at once. Bake for 17 minutes or until slightly browned. Then remove the cooked kebobs to a waiting plate and form the last batch. Makes 8-10 beef kebobs. I serve with basmati rice cooked to package instructions and chopped Italian parsley. As well as the following super simple mint garlic yogurt sauce.

Ingredients for mint garlic yogurt sauce:
3/4 cup full fat plain Balkan yogurt
1 tsp dried mint
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Combine and store in fridge until ready to eat. Keeps well in fridge for three days.

no sugar breakfast cookies

no sugar breakfast cookiesI have bought way too many muffins and cookies on our weekend adventures. I was inspired to make a refined sugar-free, yummy, healthy breakfast cookie. I’ve been making these easy breakfast cookies on repeat since nailing the recipe. They’re a great road trip snack or simple breakfast with a coffee when you need to get out the door. Packed with oatmeal, walnuts, coconut and bananas, pretty much all my favourite things and also pantry staples. Sweetened with only a drop of maple syrup and two bananas. Recipe makes 24 small cookies. I will often keep half the batch on the counter and the other dozen in the freezer in bags to grab and go. I often make these with dark chocolate chips + walnuts, or raisins + hemp hearts/chia seeds.  If you like these cookies you might also enjoy my no sugar banana muffins that follow the same style with no added sugar, but also taste delicious.

no sugar breakfast cookies

Ingredients:
2 ripe bananas mashed (can be previously frozen)
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 egg
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (or raisins)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (or hemp hearts or chia seeds or chopped pecans)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheer with parchment paper. Combine all wet ingredients in one bowl. Mix all dry ingredients in another bowl. Combine and stir until just mixed. Scoop teaspoon size balls onto a baking sheet. Bake 13-15 minutes until cookies set and bottoms are lightly brown. My oven takes exactly 13 minutes, and runs hot. Enjoy!

Where to eat in Prince Edward County

Parson's BrewingParson's BrewingSandbanksSandbanksPrince Edward County, that beautiful beach, plus the wineries, breweries, it’s all foodie heaven. Last time I was there I wasn’t a mom and the vacation was about wine, the beach and relaxing. Fast forward five years, and a two year old and our week in Prince Edward County (PEC) is more about reconnecting as a family in that way you do when you’re away from it all on holiday, playing in the waves at Sandbanks and of course eating amazing food.

Here’s my short-list of the best spots we ate, and all were super kid friendly. I picked late August as our week to go (warm water) and rented a little two bedroom cottage in Picton on Airbnb (because two bedrooms).

The Agrarian Market in Picton has a gorgeous old wrap around porch where we ate our breakfasts – coffee, a pastry, some cheeses and peaches. Their selection of cheese, meat, preserves, breads wowed me. Delicious coffee too. One could pack a killer picnic basket with just ten minutes in there!

Lunch at the Midtown Brewing Company in Wellington was one of those stumble upon gems. They brew their own beers and ciders which were lovely, but it was the food that blew me away. Fish croquettes for Oscar, Neil had a meatball sandwich topped with fior de latte (I stole a few bites) and I had a wild greens salad and shared my charcuterie board. Best part? The owners have kids and there was a beautiful thoughtful nook with shelves of toys, trucks and games. And every table has a clear view of it.

What’s summer without gelato and ice cream, right? Nice Ice Baby in Wellingon makes all their own ice creams and gelatos in house, made all natural with nothing artificial. Their cones are also all made on site: waffle, cookie, and gluten free sugar cones. We shared the mint chocolate chip, and vanilla (made with coconut milk), which were both awesome. The shop has a lawn out back for littles to run and lots of Muskoka chairs for you to kick back and lounge.

Wood fired oven pizza is my weakness. No surprise I loved the pizza at Norman Hardie Winery. A spot that also produces some of the best wine in PEC. We arrived starving after spending the morning at the beach, right at the time when Oscar takes his midday 90 minute nap. A 45 minute wait for a table – yikes. What’s a foodie mama to do but order two pizzas to go, eat them sitting on the grass among the grapes and then pile back into the car so her boy can nap? True story and the staff were lovely and accommodating. I look forward to going back here maybe next summer with my husband (only) and a reservation.

Best for last. Had my favourite meal at Parsons Brewing Company. A new spot that opened up recently. Neil had the flight of beer, and loved every single one. And the three of us played teetherball, horseshoes, Frisbee and climbed the giant wooden playground while we waited for our food. The meal was some of the best tacos I have had outside of Mexico. All served on house made blue corn soft tortillas. I loved the pulled pork carnita taco, Oscar ate two [!!] of the roasted cauliflower, beet mouse, toasted pepita seed veggie tacos. Neil’s fave was the carne asada (steak).

I hear great things about PEC in October, when they harvest the grapes. Whenever you go, hope you love the laid back vibe and food as much as we did. Tell me in the comments if you’ve been and any places you love. I think our family will probably go back every summer.

grilled halloumi caprese salad

grilled halloumi caprese saladRipe tomato slices play well with grilled salty halloumi in this grilled halloumi caprese salad. A rethink of the traditional tomato and mozzarella caprese, and I think maybe even better! It was a super busy weekend at our house Oscar turned two and we hosted a big family BBQ and Sunday was Father’s Day. My quick to make but still yummy Father’s Day dinner for Neil was BBQ flank steak and this salad, and some fresh garlic thyme pita bread and hummus. Fresh and tasted like summer.

I first tried halloumi about 15 years ago backpacking in Cyprus and we’d have it wrapped with grilled meats in a pita (usually at 2am after a night out). This meal reminds me of all those flavours.

As with all simple recipes, quality ingredients are key. Thankfully they’re not hard to find for this salad. I let my tomatoes ripen on the window sill for a few days, and just bought the halloumi from my local grocery store. You can get cow or sheep and both are great. The basil came from my garden, the olive oil from my mother-in-law’s recent trip to Italy and the balsamic reduction is store bought. You can find balsamic reduction at any major grocer now. It’s reduced balsamic vinegar (make sure you read the ingredients) and so handy to drizzle over a salad, BBQ meats or cheeses. I use it for salad dressing instead of honey often too.  My boys gobbled this salad up and used the fresh pita bread for the leftover olive oil on the plate. So if you occasionally eat carbs like we do, serve up a little good bread for this recipe – worth the calories to sop up that good olive oil! Makes four side portions.

grilled halloumi caprese salad

Ingredients:
250 gram package halloumi cheese
2 large or 3 small ripe tomatoes
salt and pepper
10 whole basil leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic reduction

Cut the halloumi cheese into 1/4 inch pieces. I usually get 10-12 slices per package. Pat dry with paper towel. Heat a non stick pan or case iron skillet to medium heat. Grill cheese for 2 mins a side until golden brown. Use a rubber spatula to check it every minute or so. I do it in two batches to not crowd the pan. Slice tomatoes in 1/4 inch slices and layer on serving platter. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Layer grilled halloumi on top of tomatoes. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and toss basil leaves over top. Eat right away or can sit on the counter for 30 minutes or so until serving.  Recipe can easily be doubled. Enjoy and happy summer eating!

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