And the winner of the KitchenAid® Torrent™ Blender GIVEAWAY…

….LEANNE CZED. She promised to make:  “I would for sure make an extra chocolatey milkshake because, well, you know, preggers. And then I would try my hand at almond butter. And then put that in a milkshake”


Congratulations, Leanne! Please get in touch with me at thegoualife [at] gmail [dot] com and we’ll get your new baby sent off ASAP.  Many thanks to KitchenAid Canada for this amazing giveaway.

KitchenAid® Torrent™ Blender GIVEAWAY!

Strawberry Mango Spinach and Oat Baby Food
KITCHENAID TORRENT GIVEAWAYI don’t often get to play with new toys in the kitchen. In fact, I’ve had the same blender for over 10 years… and it barely does it’s job. So when KitchenAid got in touch asking if I’d like a chance to play with the new KitchenAid Torrent Blender, I was IN. Like, really in. Really, really.
I may as well have skipped home with it from the Purolator pick-up. It was like Christmas. I tore the box open and heaved out the new appliance with enthusiasm of a rabid dog…which was no easy feat given it’s heft (which I love). I sat and inspected, pulled, poked and prodded at it’s shiny bits. And then, we got down to business.KITCHENAID TORRENT GIVEAWAYThis blender is the sh*t. For real. I was thinking it would probably blend things up pretty well, being new and from KitchenAid and all, but it surpassed all expectations. I made smoothies, soups and even almond butter and damn if it didn’t blend them all to the perfect consistency. The key to this blender is in the presets. Fill the bowl, lock it into the magnetic drive (it uses the same technology as an induction burner and blends using the power of magnets), push the pre-programmed Adapti-Blend settings (juice, soups/sauces, milkshakes/creamy drinks, icy beverages/smoothies) and walk away. The blender takes care of the rest. It starts slow, getting all those big bulky pieces into smaller more manageable ones, and then as the speed picks up you start seeing the true power of the Torrent. With jet-engine like power, it turns even the toughest chunks into silk. When making baby food, I prepared my fine-mesh sieve over a bowl to strain out any skins or extra bits that didn’t get blended (which is common with my usual blender) but as I pressed the mixture through the sieve I as surprised to find that there was really nothing left in there. SAY WHAT. Hardly a speck of spinach left over, nay a strawberry seed. Well I’ll be damned. From a chicken/rice/sweet potato baby food which blended the meat into the SILKIEST smooth mixture to an iced coffee that was so smooth and creamy. I had half a mind to just start throwing random items from the fridge into the Torrent in a “WILL IT BLEND?!” frenzy. The top cap, complete with measuring cup, allows you to add liquids and other ingredients in while you’re blending and the magnetic drive makes it easy to pop the bowl of the blender in and out, much like a coffee pot,  making it ideal to store under cabinets.Because the blades aren’t removable like most blenders, cleaning is a bit different. I found putting some warm soapy water into the bowl and blending on high speed cleaned it up perfectly. If you have a dishwasher, a quick rinse to remove any seeds or stuck-on residue and then into the dishwasher would likely tidy it up perfectly. Needless to say, this is a welcome addition to our kitchen. Especially as our baby approaches her solid-food stages and I’m becoming more and more invested in making her food myself. And the bowl is BPA free, to boot!


The Torrent is slick looking and combines style and functionality for those of us who like to display our appliances on the kitchen counter rather than stashed away under the cabinets. I’m looking forward to many loving years with my Torrent by my side.BUT THERE’S MORE! Because KitchenAid is amazing and wants you to be able to play with the Torrent too! One lucky winner will receive a KitchenAid® Torrent™ Magnetic Drive Blender (MSRP $599.99) in Sugar Pearl Silver, Onyx Black, or Candy Apple Red.
Leave a comment below answering the following questions:
WHAT WOULD YOU MAKE FIRST WITH YOUR KITCHENAID TORRENT BLENDER?Entries open through Thursday, September 3rd at 11:59pm. I’ll be selecting the winner via random number generator on the morning of the 4th. This giveaway is open to CANADIAN Residents only. Be sure to use the correct email address as I will be contacting the winner via email and if I don’t hear back within 48 hours, I’ll pick a new winner.

For extra entries (leave a separate comment for each entry telling me that you’ve liked/followed):

1. FOLLOW thegoudalife + KitchenAid on Instagram
2. FOLLOW thegoudalife + KitchenAid on Twitter
3. LIKE thegoudalife + KitchenAid on FacebookAnd for the love of nothing, make something delicious when you win this baby! Below is a recipe for a fruity baby food/smoothie that we really enjoy in our house!

********************************************* THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED**************************************************KITCHENAID TORRENT GIVEAWAYStrawberry Mango Spinach and Oat Baby Food (/Smoothie)
makes approximately 4 cups baby food

1 cup fresh or frozen mango cubes
1 cup hulled strawberries
1 cup cooked oatmeal*
1 cup packed spinach leaves
1/4 cup water or milk (soy or cow)

Place all ingredients in the Kitchen Aid Torrent, set to the soup setting (I found this one really got things silky smooth) and press the start button. Walk away and let the Torrent do it’s thing! You’ll come back to a silky smooth baby food that barely needs straining, though I did just to be sure any leftover chunks would be taken out… there were none!*I cooked mine in both milk and in water and found both to work well for this. Use whatever your child likes best.

Back At It

Cheesy Charred Corn | Black Pepper | Honey Biscotti

Cheesy Charred Corn | Black Pepper | Honey Biscotti

Here we are! Back again and feeling more like myself every day. That last post was intense but felt so important for me to share for a multitude of reasons. The most important being that a) I needed to get it out. They say the truth will set you free and while I surely didn’t feel free after, I felt slightly lighter and more able to keep going. b) I felt like sharing might help me meet/gain support from/be able to help other struggling mothers. And boy did it. Though I’m still not done responding to you all, I have read ALL your comments, emails, notes and they made my heart swell. And at times break all over again for you and for what seems to be such a normal struggle of new motherhood (and even for some veteran moms). So thank you. I felt the love and outpouring of support and it helped me get over that hump.

Cheesy Charred Corn | Black Pepper | Honey Biscotti

Last week, as Ruthie and I grooved into a bit more of a daily routine, I found some time to get back in the kitchen and play with some flour + butter. These biscotti were born from a desire for sweet summer corn and simple one-handed snacks to be able to grab while your other 6 hands are filled with diapers and bottles. They are decadent and buttery with a lovely sweetness from the charred corn and luscious honey and a bit of spice from lots of fresh ground black pepper. I also added in some chunks of old cheddar as I wanted to use it up. While the cheddar was delicious, I feel they would be wonderful just the same without it. So use your discretion on that front. Though, gooey cheese never hurt anybody, am I right?

Cheesy Charred Corn | Black Pepper | Honey Biscotti

Cheesy Charred Corn | Black Pepper | Honey Biscotti
makes approx 2 dozen biscotti

1 1/2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup 1/2″ cubed old cheddar (or other favourite sharp cheese)
3 large eggs (2 for biscotti, 1 to brush tops)
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup honey

Place a dry heavy skillet on the stove over med-high heat. Pour in the corn kernels and let cook, tossing every so often so they char evenly, until they are cooked through and lightly charred all over., about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cumin and ground pepper. Fold in the corn and cubed cheese. In a smaller bowl, whisk 2 eggs, buttermilk and honey until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold together until no clumps of flour remain.

Knead the dough gently just until it comes together in a ball. Divide it evenly into two pieces and form each into a long, skinny oval (14×4″) on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Beat the extra egg lightly in a small dish and brush each log with the eggwash. Bake until firm and lightly golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool and set for at least 20 minutes.

Using a sharp serrated knife, cut both logs across diagonally into 1/2″ slices. Place back on the parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake, rotating pan half-way through,  for another 18-20 minutes until each cookie is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before eating.

This Too Shall Pass [on bringing home baby]

tumblr_nr2iis3X311uaricco4_1280…or so I’ve been told.

We were thrilled to billions of tiny pieces to welcome our daughter, Ruthie Mae Viola, into the world on July 3rd weighing in at a booming 10lbs1oz. After worrying relentlessly that I would need to have a c-section after carrying for 42 weeks, we were also quite thrilled to be able to have that chunker in the comfort of our own home, as we planned.

She came in 12 hours, which I hear is not so bad for a first-timer, but it certainly felt like forever when I was in it. After labour, when that little lump of a human was placed on my belly, I felt like a warrior. I felt proud of my body for allowing me to do what I’d so badly wanted. I felt proud of my support group for helping me through those long hours where I spoke to no one and expected them to read my mind. Especially my Allan, who was the first hands to welcome to our girl into the world. He placed her on my tummy and we gazed at her, awed by the fact that she had literally moments before been in my stomach. It was magic. Absolutely, no question about it, magic. A miracle, for those who might believe in such things.

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The first few days were bliss and I wondered why anyone would ever complain about the “newborn days”. She slept peacefully in our arms, in her bassinet, in our bed… it was so easy. And then day 5 came. And along with the hormones literally oozing from my body came real life. The crying, the fussiness, the difficulty breastfeeding, and the realization that this was actually our life now. What in the HELL had we gone and done? I hear that’s a common thought in those first days. I didn’t know what to do with myself or her. And I certainly didn’t feel bonded to this tiny human. Where was that instantaneous love that everyone talked about? Where was my blissful mother-earth experience? All I felt was exhausted, resentful and sore. And anxious. So very anxious ALL THE TIME. When she would finally sleep, in our bed with us at this point, I would lay awake panicking that she was going to wake up. I wouldn’t sleep, I would just wait. Listening to her grunts, sighs and other plethora of newborn baby noises. And she would want to breastfeed ALL NIGHT LONG.

How in the hell did other mothers do this? Was it normal? Was I all alone? I certainly felt like it. My heart was so heavy with anxiety and feelings of inadequacy and guilt for not feeling that bond with this incredible miracle I had waited so, so long to meet. And it became obvious very quickly that she felt my anxiety and it was causing us a disconnect. I repeatedly told people I was OK, and that I didn’t need them to come over and help. I didn’t want anyone to see me struggle. I had had such a beautiful pregnancy and was able to do it all. But this was different. I was drowning. With no sleep and the black sheet of anxiety slowly covering me over, I melted. Talk of medication came up and that scared me. Luckily, my mom recognized that I had hit rock bottom almost immediately when she came over one day to help. Intervention was coming whether I wanted it or not. She slept over and gave us a full night of sleep and I made the hard decision to purchase and give my mom formula to feed Ruthie over night as I just couldn’t bring myself to wake up and breastfeed her. And of course, that brought a whole other type of anxiety and guilt. But I woke feeling more confident and better able to look after this child of mine. But when my support left, I felt lost all over again. This back-and-forth still continues. The feeling of loneliness and helplessness when people leave our house is intense. No one ever told me how lonely and isolating motherhood can be at the beginning. How your bedroom and home can feel like a prison and your tiny innocent baby like a cruel warden.

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The last few weeks have been the most trying of my life. We’re sitting here at almost 4 weeks and I can’t believe that it’s passed so quickly and so slowly. After weeks of guilt and stress, I made the decision that I wouldn’t breastfeed any longer. It wasn’t working for me and it was causing so much extra stress. And I’ve heard from so many moms that a happy mom = happy baby. And clearly, I was not happy and neither was she. So we adjust and go with the flow. She will survive and thrive despite my not breastfeeding, this I know. And I can handle the judgement with a smile knowing that this is the best option for us. Not for my doctor or midwife or friends or well-meaning strangers. (New moms: please take this advice. DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU AND YOUR BABY. You will feel such relief from going with what works and not forcing things on yourself). Every day is a struggle but we’re still so early in our relationship. We will grow together and find our routine and harmony. And this too shall pass.

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I decided to share this in hopes that new moms might not feel so alone in their early days of motherhood. It is not a walk in the park for us all. It is more work than you could ever imagine and only made more intense by the sleepless days and nights, inability to look after yourself some days, and hormones slowly spewing from your body. I could never have been prepared but I wish someone had told me more about their struggle and journey. We are amazing creatures, us women. To endure the growth of a human in our bodies, to somehow manage to get them out of our bodies, and then to learn how to keep them alive and thriving is the most unimaginably powerful experience. I’m lucky to have an amazing man by my side to champion for me, push me to keep pushing on and support my decisions. I know not all are so lucky.  But if you’re struggling through it, I’m here. Struggling along with you and sending you all my support and love. I know it’s not easy. And at the top of the page here, there is a “contact” button. Use it! Let me be your support if you’re feeling lost and alone and drowning in these most intense days. Believe me, I understand and you are certainly not alone.

Things will get easier, this I know. We will find our groove and start kicking ass together. But we have to struggle and learn to get there and that’s OK.

Sending you all love until I can get back to the kitchen and start feeding my soul again.


Everything is OK

Fennel Cherry & Grain Salad with Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette

Fennel Cherry & Grain Salad with Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette

My life is a living version of Groundhog Day. Each day inevitably starts at 3am, as I stir myself awake and realize all over again that a) there is a 400lb child in my stomach (ok, I have no idea what she weighs…but I’m certain it’s a lot) and b) she doesn’t want to come out. I get up and drag myself to the living room for a snack and watch something on Netflix until Allan gets up around 5am – at least one of us deserves to get a good sleep. I go back to bed around 5am and get up at 9 to the sun hot on my face. Coffee, smoothie, check emails and make a goal for the day. Typically, that goal is to clean [insert room in house] or work on a recipe, get laundry done and try to keep my mind occupied on something other than this pending labour. I water the garden, and usually myself while I’m at it, and go for a walk. Make dinner, greet Allan after work and spend the evening together. Sleep. Repeat. Wait. Wait. Wait.

Fennel Cherry & Grain Salad with Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette
Fennel Cherry & Grain Salad with Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette

Waiting for our baby to actually arrive brings a whole other set of emotions I hadn’t intended on feeling. I wasn’t prepared for the mental game of being overdue. Discouragement, disappointment and frustration. Those feelings are new to this journey that’s otherwise been so positive and joy-filled. I’ve learned so much about my body and how incredible it is during these nine months. I’ve learned to love the hell out of my nooks and crannies, curves and lines. I’ve prepared and planned, researched and spent time with other moms I love and admire. But what I hadn’t worked on was the trust part of pregnancy and labour. To trust that my body will make things happen when it’s ready and to not feel discouraged or frustrated with it’s disinterest in my own timeline. “Are you still pregnant?!” “Is she here yet?!” “Wow – she just doesn’t want to come out, eh?!” These questions, though asked with good intention, are the bane of my existence these days. It’s hard to answer them every day and not feel like I’m doing something wrong. An influx of “Have you tried this?!” “My friend said you should do this” “We did this – it worked right away!” flood my phone and email. We’ve tried it. She’s not here yet. And that’s OK. I’ve decided to stop panicking, stop pressuring myself and start trusting my body. She will come when she’s ready. I would love to have her naturally and at home, as planned. But maybe that won’t happen… and that’s OK too. It’s all OK. My body is OK and doing what it needs to to ensure a healthy baby comes out. I trust that the decisions I’ve made over the last 9 months will lead us into a healthy labour and delivery. And so my groundhog day(s) continues as I wait. And set small goals for myself to accomplish each day as mundane as they may be. And yes, I’ll let you know when she’s here. Believe me. You won’t have to ask.

Fennel Cherry & Grain Salad with Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette

This was a “whatever you got in the fridge” salad that came together beautifully. Hearty and packed with a multitude of textures, flavours and colours. The cherries gave it such a welcome pop of sweetness against the tangy lemon dressing and crunchy fennel and celery. It’s easily adaptable to what you have on hand, too. Swap out the grains, the greens, the nuts. Maybe you prefer a creamier yogurt-based dressing. If you love cheese, some feta or bocconcini would be delicious. It’s all good here, go with your gut.

Fennel Cherry & Grain Salad with Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette


Fennel Cherry & Grain Salad with Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette
makes 6-8 servings

2 cups cooked grains*
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 1/2 cups sweet cherries, pitted and halved
1 small bulb fennel, sliced thin
1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
2 cups spinach, chopped
1/4 cup basil, chopped
2 tbsp fennel fronds (optional)

In a large salad bowl, toss all the ingredients together.

zest from 1 lemon
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp ground toasted cumin
1/2 – 3/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

Add all the ingredients to a mason jar (start with 1/2 cup olive oil) with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Shake vigorously until combined. Taste and add more olive oil, lemon or salt, if needed. Pour over salad and toss to combine.

*I used spelt berries and barley but one or the other would be lovely. Alternatively, brown rice or Bulgar would work!

Guadalajara, Dawgs!

Hot Dogs with Chili-Lime Sour Cream, Roasted Tomatoes and Onions


I have a lot to be thankful for when Father’s Day rolls around. Between my Dad, Allan’s Dad, my Step-Father and soon enough (!!!) Allan, there is certainly no shortage of fatherly love, advice, caring and support.

To my dad, the man who taught me to be brave and kind, get dirty (as long as you get clean afterwards and don’t drag it through the house), to stay true to my word and to always work hard and to appreciate good music (especially if that music is Joe Cocker’s With a Little Help From My Friends) I am eternally grateful. And anxious beyond anything to watch you become a grandfather to our little girl. To watch her fall in love with her silly Pop-Pop and gain the wisdom we’ve been lucky enough to have him bestow on us. Like: Mold can be cut off of everything and expiry dates are merely a suggestion. Try everything once. Be on time – always. Get on all the scary roller coasters even if they make you barf. If you find yourself near an ocean, you’re never too old to jump and laugh hysterically in the waves. You don’t have to boil the pre-cooked lasagna noodles (haaaa!). Your time is the best gift you can give someone, especially your dear old dad.

Guadalajara Dogs

Hug your pops, or your fatherly figure, tight and tell him you love him tomorrow. Life would be a lot less filled with bear hugs, bedtime stories, piggy back rides, delicious spaghetti dinners, good music, belly laughs and fun without you, D-Money. I love you dearly (and I know I’m not exactly sharing these dogs with you tomorrow, but I will soon. I promise). 

Guadalajara Dogs

Guadalajara Dogs
makes 6 dogs

While this would still be super tasty on a grocery store hot dog, if you can find some homemade dogs they will be that much better. If you’re in Ottawa, Hintonburg Market sells some really delicious ones made in-house.

Traditionally, Guadalajara Dogs are made with plain sour cream, diced tomatoes and onions. I thought we could do a bit better for Dad so I mixed things up a bit. The sweet roasted tomatoes with the creamy spicy sauce and biting onions is a killer pairing if you have a bit of extra time to put into them (and doesn’t your dad deserve that much after dealing with you all these years? I think so).

2 cups cherry/grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
3/4 cup sour cream (full fat is best, of course)
1 tbsp spicy chili oil* (more if you like it hot)
1/4 tsp lime zest
1 tsp fresh lime juice
1/2 cup raw onion, diced fine
6 hot dogs
6 hot dog buns
cilantro, to garnish
lime wedges, to garnish

For the tomatoes:
Preheat oven to 350. Toss the halved tomatoes with the garlic and olive oil and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes or until soft and oozy.

For the Chili-Lime Sour Cream
Mix the sour cream, chili oil, lime zest and juice and a pinch of salt. This is best if it has time to chill for a bit, 20-30 minutes up to 1 day in the fridge.

For the Dogs:
Cook hot dogs and buns however you like them – I lean towards roasting or BBQ’ing them. Toast or grill up your buns. Top each dog with a spoonful of the roasted tomatoes, some diced onion, a drizzle of the chili-lime sour cream and some lime and cilantro to garnish. And don’t forget to toast to your awesome Dad before you chow down!

*I use a chili oil from our Asian market. It’s fresh red chili in oil and it is HOT. You can always make your own if you’ve got a little bit of time. Sriracha would be good, too, but would alter the flavour slightly.

Guadalajara Dogs

Eviction Notice

Caramelized Pineapple & Chili Lassi
Caramelized Pineapple & Chili LassiThis lassi had a job. It didn’t do it very well.

After hearing from so many people that a natural labour inducer was, among other things (shwing!), plenty of spicy food and pineapple, I decided I would combine the two and cross my fingers and wait. And wait. For something to happen. Nothing happened. Like her mother, I think this wee girl has a timeline of her own that she’s following and she’ll come around on her own time. When she’s ready and we’re not. When we head out for our last dinner as two, dressed in our best, most likely. I suppose it won’t be the last time I’ll ruin an outfit at the hand of this baby, right parents?

Caramelized Pineapple & Chili Lassi

Caramelized Pineapple & Chili Lassi

Job failure aside, this lassi was so tasty. So so very tasty. Creamy and decadent from the coconut milk and yogurt with a zingy golden sweetness from the caramelized pineapple and a spicy snap that finishes in the back of your throat. I was impatient and enjoyed the first one at room temperature, but the second, third and fourth were ice cold and even better if you can wait that long. It makes a lovely refreshing snack or even a light breakfast and if you double the batch it keeps well for up to 4 days in the fridge or in individual frozen portions!

Caramelized Pineapple & Chili Lassi

Caramelized Pineapple & Chili Lassi
adapted from How Sweet Eats
makes about 4 servings

1 1/2 cups cubed pineapple
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp coconut or vegetable oil
1 (14oz) can coconut milk
1 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (plain)
cinnamon, to garnish

Place cubed pineapple in a sealable bag or container and toss with the brown sugar, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. Let marinate for 20-30 minutes. Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, pour in the marinated pineapple and cook, turning after 4-5 minutes to give it time to caramelize, until deep golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes.

Pour marinated pineapple, reserving a few cubes to garnish your lassi, into the blender with the coconut milk and yogurt. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and enjoy immediately or refrigerate for 30 minutes so it’s cold and refreshing. Garish each glass with a few cubes of caramelized pineapple and a sprinkle of cinnamon.


Zucchini & Oat Bread


Zucchini & Oat Bread

MATERNITY LEAVE. THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING. I think it might be the first time in my life where I don’t have a schedule of sorts to follow. Typically, I thrive on a routine and schedule but knowing that this is likely the last time I’ll have to myself for a very long time, I am trying hard to just let go and bask in it. Really hard. My only real goal for each day right now is to stock our freezer with as many easy-to-grab-and-eat-with-one-hand snacks and meals as possible before she comes. It seems like the most productive way to spend my time and gives me a bit of routine/a goal to work towards when I’m feeling a bit chaotic and life feels somewhat out of control… something that can be difficult for someone with anxiety (like me!).

Zucchini & Oat Bread

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that the two of us will be three of us soon. And that I won’t be pregnant forever, because currently it feels like I might be. And I have been for so long. Imagining myself without this hefty belly attached to my mid section is a bit surreal…and a bit heart wrenching. I have so enjoyed every minute, even the tough ones, of pregnancy. The fascination of watching your body change as a real-live human being grows inside has been the most incredible, awe-inducing experience. I can’t imagine what it’s like to actually meet that human being. I’m sure the moms/dads out there can relate to that feeling of “HOLY SHIT I GET TO MEET THE HUMAN WE CREATED ANY MINUTE NOW!” Absolutely effing bananas.

Zucchini & Oat Bread

This zucchini oat loaf is incredibly good; dense and moist and full of flavour and texture. If I had had carrots on hand, I might have added a bit of both since I love the combination of the two in a sweet quick bread. But the zucchini on it’s own was lovely. Once the loaf cooled, I sliced it up, wrapped each slice in saran wrap and froze them all in a freezer bag so I can grab one at a time, pop in the oven, slather in butter (maybe that’s expecting too much) and enjoy. Even if you’re not expecting a baby, this makes for an excellent grab-and-go breakfast, especially if you double the batch. It’s so nice to have healthy options available whenever you need a little something.

Zucchini & Oat Bread

Zucchini-Oat Bread
adapted from Bon Appetit
makes 1
9×5″ loaf

For something extra, feel free to add your favourite toasted nuts ( 1/4 cup chopped) or some raisins or other dried fruit (1/4 cup). I didn’t have these on hand so I left them out however I would have loved to add cranberries and pecans.

3 large eggs
1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed (freshly ground is best)
teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
cups coarsely grated zucchini (approx 1 large or 2 small zucchini)

1 1/2
cups old-fashioned rolled oats, divided
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 and line a 9×5″ loaf pan with parchment, leaving a good amount of overhang so you can pop the loaf out easily.

In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, yogurt, oil, sugar and vanilla until well combined.

In another bowl, whisk together the flours, flax, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and powder, and 1 cup of the oats.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Use a fork to slowly incorporate the two being sure not to overmix. Add in the zucchini and fold everything together so there are no pockets of dry ingredients left. It’s absolutely OK if it’s still a bit lumpy. Pour mixture into your prepared loaf pan and top with the remaining oats and brown sugar. Bake for 1 hour, 20 minutes or until a clean toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. If you find the top is browning too much before the middle is cooked, tent some foil over it. 

Cake for Breakfast

Maple Rhubarb & Rye Skillet Cake

Maple Rhubarb & Rye Skillet Cake

The idea of a “breakfast cake” has been sounding most ideal to me these days as my cravings lean heavily to the sweeter side of things. When I spotted rhubarb in the market, I could almost taste the sweet and tangy flavours of a rhubarb breakfast cake. But what else? Whole wheat flour didn’t seem exciting enough, and all-purpose didn’t feel hearty enough for what I’d been imagining. I consulted my baking cupboard and locked eyes on a bag of earthy rye flour. Bingo!

Rhubarb + Online Recipe Photos4

I did a little research and found a recipe for a “Rye Rhubarb Anytime Cake” from the masters over at Food52. It seemed like exactly what I wanted so off I went, with a few tweaks here and there, on my quest for the perfect breakfast cake. And it didn’t disappoint. Just barely sweet with a puckering tang from the compote, an earthiness from the rye flour and maple syrup, and just the right amount of spice from some added cinnamon and cardamom, my favourite sidekicks to anything with rhubarb.

The compote recipe makes enough to use half in the cake, and half as a garnish for an extra bit of decadence on top of the cake with a creamy Greek yogurt. If you prefer the cake without it, swirl it into your morning oats, smoothie or yogurt instead.

Maple Rhubarb & Rye Skillet Cake

Maple Rhubarb & Rye Skillet Cake
adapted from Food52

Ok, so this cake has probably a bit more butter and sugar that one should indulge in for breakfast, I admit it. But I’ve found that a thin slice along with my morning smoothie or yogurt is just what I need to get over that craving for something sweet. AND it keeps me away from the sugary morning buns or chocolate-hazelnut croissants at my coffee shop stop on the way to work.

Maple-Rhubarb Compote
4 large stalks of rhubarb, diced
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup 100% orange juice or equivalent of fresh squeezed juice
Zest of 1 orange

For the cake
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
cup rye flour
teaspoon baking powder
teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon
teaspoon salt
cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
cup cane sugar
cup packed brown sugar
large eggs
teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup Coconut Milk*

To Serve:
Greek Yogurt (I use unsweetened, you can use whatever you like best)

For the compote: Add the chopped rhubarb, maple syrup, orange juice and zest to a 9″ cast iron skillet over medium heat. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. It will cook down slowly and you want most of the liquids to reduce. Cook for approximately 20-25 minutes or until a saucy/jammy compote remains. Remove the compote from the skillet and set aside while you put the cake batter together. Clean skillet and give it a quick rub down with some oil.

For the cake: In a large bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder + soda, spices and salt until combined. In a smaller bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment), cream the butter and sugars together. Whisk in one egg at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between. Add the vanilla and milk and whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and use a wooden spoon to vigorously beat together for at least 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl to make sure all the dry ingredients are picked up. The batter should be nice and smooth.

Preheat oven to 350. Scrape the cake batter into the lightly oiled skillet. Swirl half the compote into the cake batter – no need to be too fussy as clumps of compote are delicious! Pop the skillet into your preheated oven and bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, slice and serve with a dollop of yogurt and some of the remaining compote.

*Not the canned variety, rather the carton of milk you’d use for coffee/cereal. Feel free to swap for your favourite unsweetened non-dairy milk or cows milk, whatever you like.

Maple Rhubarb & Rye Skillet Cake

Turkey For Every Occasion

Baharat Turkey, Zucchini & Hazelnut Salad with Feta

Baharat Turkey, Zucchini & Hazelnut Salad with Feta

Someone told me that Spring was here….but I’m not so sure I believe them just yet. We had snow last week in Ottawa. Not a lot, but enough to make your heart sink a little deeper in your chest. Especially after a few days of stunning, sunny weather had us believing that it had finally arrived.

Though the weather isn’t screaming spring, I’ve been cooking lighter and fresher fare in hopes that it might will it to come back to us. This salad was made for Turkey Farmers of Canada. I’ve worked with them for a couple years now and am so happy to be a contributor to their campaigns and website. Before I started with TFC, I hardly ate turkey (save for the holidays). It’s given me every excuse to use more turkey in our day-to-day meals and even when I’m not working on projects for them, I find myself reaching for turkey instead of my previous chicken go-to. Versatile, healthy and easily sourced.

This salad combines boneless/skinless turkey breast with a savory crust of my favourite spice blend, baharat, with salty goat feta, raw crunchy strips of zucchini, roasted hazelnuts and lots of bright zing from a lemon-mint vinaigrette. The flavors were stuck in my head for a few days before it all came together and I’ve been obsessed ever since. This would be even better if you did the turkey on the grill.

Head on over to the Tasty Turkey website for the full recipe!

Baharat Turkey, Zucchini & Hazelnut Salad with Feta