Cucumber Sesame Salad

Light and refreshing - the perfect summer salad!

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So I need to start off by saying today’s recipe is soooo easy - but isn’t that how cooking should be in the summer. Growing up we always had cucumber’s and cream and it was so delicious, but, since dairy is semi-off limits in our house it’s not a side that I tend to make.

So while this salad has different flavours, the style is reminiscent of the salad of my childhood, so it does the trick. I love to serve this alongside basically anything you have barbequed, a beautiful piece of salmon with Asian spices, grilled chicken, or even a burger. The best part is that you can make it up to 24 hours in advance. I mean really, the earlier the better because it gives your cucumbers time to soak up all the wonderful flavours of the sesame oil, soy sauce and red pepper flakes.

Now, if you don’t like things spicy you can certainly skip the red pepper flakes, but I think that they add a nice little kick. So slice up your cucumbers super thin, julienne some carrots and you are set - it’s so easy I almost feel guilty calling it a recipe. But if you are anything like me you know that simple is best, and sometimes, no one even needs to know you threw it all together in minutes!

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prep time 15 minutes

marinading time 2 - 24 hours

total time 15 minutes + marinading time

servings 4

Ingredients

1 large English cucumber

1 large carrot

1 tbsp peanut oil

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp honey

2 tsp soya sauce

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Instructions

In a medium bowl place thinly sliced cucumber and julienned carrots then set aside.

In a small bowl combine peanut oil, rice vinegar, sesame oil, honey, soya sauce, sesame seeds and red pepper flakes.

Pour the dressing over cucumber and allow to marinade for 2 - 24 hours.

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Garden Fresh Tomato Soup

What’s better than fresh tomato soup using everything that is in season right now! This soup is stuffed full of garden product plus a secret ingredient that throws the flavour over the top!

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Happy Monday everyone! Can you believe that July is already over halfway done? This year we have been really really focused on enjoying the summer and for me, that also means trying to cook as seasonally and locally as possible!

The one thing that I love about summer is tomatoes - seriously they are one of those things that I could eat any time of the day. As a kid, my favourite thing to do was to run to the garden, pick fresh, ripe tomatoes and have them as a snack. Seriously, you can’t beat vine ripen tomatoes.

So last week when I had an overabundance of ripe tomatoes there was only one thing to do - make a bowl of beautiful, fresh tomato soup. The best part about this recipe is that it’s stuffed full of vegetables, is super rich and creamy, yet it has absolutely no dairy. I mean really, can you get much better than that?

I also love that this recipe has a full zucchini in it because if you grow zucchini, you most likely have an overabundance of it plus, it adds great nutritional value without changing the flavour of the soup. In my opinion, zucchini is one of the best ways to sneak vegetables into so many different things, so if you can do it why not right!

So next time your tomato all come ripe at once or your craving a delicious soup whip up a batch, it's quick, easy, and meets all your tomato soup needs!

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prep time 15 minutes

cook time 55 minutes

total time 1 hour 10 minutes

servings 4

Ingredients

1 medium onion

1 tsp olive oil

2 small carrots

4 cloves of garlic

1 small zucchini

8 cups tomatoes

4 cups chicken stock

1 tsp Worcestershire

1 tsp oregano

2 tbsp balsamic

1/4 cup pesto

1 can unsweetened coconut milk

salt + pepper

Instructions

In a large stock pot place chopped onion and olive oil and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat stirring often. Add in chopped carrots, zucchini and whole cloves of garlic and sauté for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add in chopped fresh tomatoes and cook another 10 minutes or until tomatoes start to break down then add in chicken stock, Worcestershire, oregano and balsamic and simmer another 15 minutes.

Carefully pour the soup into a high-powered blender and blend until smooth (or alternatively use an immersion blender to puree the soup).

Return the pureed soup to the blender then add in pesto, coconut milk and season with salt + pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes then serve.

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Bruschetta Chicken with Prosciutto and Basil

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Grilled chicken wrapped in prosciutto then topped with fresh bruschetta - can you get much better than that? I mean seriously, it’s like a fancy Italian chicken finger and let’s just say I’m not mad at that!

Not only is this dish super delicious it is also soooo easy to make. You can prep it in advance and throw it in the oven to finish it off just before your ready to serve it. Imagine putting this on the table for your next dinner party alongside a beautiful salad and roasted potatoes, I mean seriously your guests will be in love!

So I will admit this dish is just perpetuating my obsession with bruschetta, I mean I think I could put it on almost anything and probably love it. The funny thing is that even though I have been obsessed I haven’t made traditional bruschetta in so long - so, I guess know what I need to do this weekend.

So seriously you need to make this recipe as soon as you can - you will not be disappointed.

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prep time15 minutes

cook time 25 minutes

total time 40 minutes

servings 4

Ingredients

1 cup cherry tomatoes

3 basil leaves

2 cloves of garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

salt + pepper

2 lb chicken tenders

12 basil leaves

6 slices of prosciutto

1 cup mozzarella

Instructions

In a small bowl combine cherry tomatoes that have been halved or quartered, 3 basil laves thinly sliced, finely chopped garlic, olive oil and salt + pepper to taste. Toss then set aside.

Preheat oven to 350. Slice each piece of prosciutto in half (length wise) and set aside. Take one of your chicken tenders, place a basil leaf in the centre then wrap with the prosciutto. Continue until all of your chicken has been used. Season with salt + pepper then place in a large frying pan that has been heating over medium heat. Fry until chicken is browned and the prosciutto is crispy.

Remove from the pan and place on a cookie sheet. Top with mozzarella then bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 365 degrees and the cheese is melted.

Transfer fully cooked chicken to a serve plate and top with bruschetta then serve immediately.

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Hawaiian Mule

Pineapple and ginger beer - the perfect tropical combination!

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Nothing says tropical vacation more than pineapple drinks and little umbrellas right! I mean seriously, a Pina Colada is the quintessential Hawaiian cocktail that instantly comes to mind when I think about lying on a beach. So any time I go on vacation somewhere warm it just seems like a good idea to order one, that is until I taste it and it’s so sweet and sugary and rarely lives up to my expectations. That is where this Hawaiian Mule is a great alternative to give you all the feels without the fake sugary taste.

Now I am not trying to claim that this drink is healthy, I mean it does still have juice and ginger beer, which we all know has a fair amount of sugar, but what it does have is a more natural flavour and the classic ginger beer “bite” which for some reason feels like a better option. Plus, you don’t get the brain freeze that goes along with those slushy drinks.

The other great thing about this drink is that it can very easily be made non-alcoholic. Kids and your alcohol-free friend will seriously love this treat just as much without alcohol.

So serve this up at your next get together and treat your friends to a tropical getaway in your very own backyard!

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prep time 5 minutes

total time 5 minutes

servings 1

Ingredients

2 oz vodka

3 oz pineapple juice

non-alcoholic ginger beer

1/2 lime

1 pineapple spear

1 slice of lime

Instructions

In a cocktail shaker combine vodka, pineapple juice, the juice of half a lime and ice. Shake vigorously then pour over ice into a cocktail glass. Top with ginger beer and garnish with pineapple spear and lime slice.

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Pineapple, Zucchini + Carrot Loaf

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Pineapple, Zucchini + Carrot Loaf - I think it’s such a great alternative traditional banana bread, though this recipe does have a secret banana hiding inside!

So, this recipe is a take on muffins that my mom use to make when I was a kid, but sadly it’s a recipe that seems to have disappeared which means a bunch of recipe testing to try to get it just right. Now, while I know this isn’t a muffin recipe it can easily be baked in muffin tins, and I must say its a dead ringer of the recipe from my childhood.

So, there are a couple of things I have changed from that classic, and that is the addition of zucchini and banana. Most healthy-ish baking recipes tend to use applesauce, which is a good way to cut back on sugar and keep it nice and moist, but I don't know about you, I don’t usually have apple sauce on hand, so that is where the banana comes in. I am way more likely to have bananas, and even if they aren’t super ripe and brown they still work just fine. Now while this recipe has a decent amount of sugar it also has almost 3 cups of veggies and a bunch of fruit so you can feel pretty good about that!

This is a great recipe to make if your garden has produced an overabundance of zucchini and carrots, or you just want a super yummy breakfast or snack - either way, it’s perfection!

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prep time 20 minutes

cook time 55 minutes

total time 1 hour 15 minutes

servings 16 - 20 slices

Ingredients

3 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1 medium banana

2 cups white sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups shredded zucchini

3/4 cup shredded carrots

3/4 cup finely chopped pineapple

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup walnuts

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare 2 loaf pans with cooking spray or parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine eggs and oil and whisk to combine. Add in the banana and mash until it is fully broken down. Stir in sugar, vanilla, zucchini, carrots and pineapple.

In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and walnuts. Add the flour to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Evenly distribute the mixture between the loaf pans then bake for 45-55 minutes or until loaf is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning onto a cooling rack.

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