Easter Fun – Simple Easter DIY & Kiddo activities


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Easter is around the corner (can you believe it!) and as a first time mama, I find myself looking for fun ways to introduce Easter to my little one. Here are a few snippets of inspiration.

1. Classic Sugar Cookies with ALL natural colored icing… not only are they delicious they are so much fun to decorate! 

I found this delicious recipe on Instagram from talented Nicole from @pepperandpalate. They are quickly becoming a family favorite!! I like to scrape the seeds of half a vanilla bean and use it instead of vanilla extract for a stronger vanilla taste.

For an ALL Natural (read: kid friendly) colored icing I used the following.

 All Natural Colored Icing

1 c icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk

1. In a small bowl mix sugar and milk until well combined.
2. For the COLOR divide icing into different containers and add the following ingredients:

  • Purple- frozen blueberries
  • Pink- hibiscus tea
  • Yellow- turmeric powder

You can vary the amount depending on how intense you want the color, from soft pastels to deep hues.

2. Little details around the house, like some fresh flowers or some Easter chocolates, can really brighten up your place (especially if you are still surrounded by snow outside!)


3. Simple activities, like coloring Easter printouts can be fun for kids (and adults!) 

There are tons of adorable Easter coloring pages available online, they range from the typical bunny and eggs to more religious. Print the ones you like, get some crayons and let the little ones (and not so little ones) go to town!

How are you celebrating this Easter?

Easy peasy- baby friendly & grown-up sous-vide peas


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Here is a super easy sous-vide recipe, perfect if you are looking to add more greens to your (or your kids) plate.

Sous-vide French peas

Grown-up version
Makes 2 servings

2 c frozen peas
1/2 c napa cabbage, shredded
1 slice of bacon, cut into thin strips
1/2 tblsp butter

  1. In a 500 mL mason jar add 4 oz of peas
  2. Layer 2 oz of shredded Napa cabbage on top of the peas
  3. Keep alternating 4 oz of peas, and 2 oz of cabbage until you reach the top
  4. Add butter, bacon, and salt
  5. Fill up with water until the 4 oz mark.
  6. Seal and place in a 90 C Nomiku water bath for 20 min.

Baby friendly
For the baby friendly version skip the butter, bacon and salt. You can add some slices of leek.

Coffee cake


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Spring is almost here and what better way to celebrate than with a tea party… Perhaps one with this coffee cake

1 1/2 c flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 c sugar
3/4 c milk
1/4 c canola oil
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 tsp coffee
zest of one orange
1/4 c muscovado sugar
1/2 c butter, melted
3/4 c almonds
6 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, coffee and salt.
2. In a large bowl add egg, sugar, milk, oil, orange zest and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
3. Fold dry ingredients into wet mixture.
4. Spread batter on a 9×9″ baking dish and set aside.
5. In a small bowl mix crumble ingredients.
6. Spread crumble over batter
7. Bake for 20-25 min. Or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Let the cake rest more than 5 minutes before unmolding. Enjoy!

Sous-vide Smoked Salmon


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Because nothing says I love you like breakfast in bed, here are two easy recipes for homemade sous-vide smoked salmon… perfect for Valentine’s day!

Both of these recipes result in perfectly moist & flavourful salmon. Sous-vide cooking allows for precise temperature control, this translates into great texture and moisture. Smokey lapsang souchong imparts its characteristic smokey-pine quality to this recipe.


Classic Smoked Salmon
225 g salmon filet
1/2 tbsp lapsang souchong
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
fresh dill
salt & pepper

1. Set Nomiku bath to 50 C.
2. In a food safe zip bag add salmon, tea, coriander, mustard, dill and salt & pepper to taste. Remove air from bag.
3. Once desired temperature has been reached, place bag in a water bath for 18-20 min.
4. Remove from Nomiku bath and place in an ice-bath for 2-5 min.
5. Serve with poached egg, bagels or toast, and cream cheese with chives, dill and capers.

BC-style smoked salmon
225 g salmon filet
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tbsp lapsang souchong
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
fresh dill
salt & pepper

1. Set Nomiku bath to 50 C.
2. In a food safe zip bag add salmon, maple syrup, tea, mustard, dill and salt & pepper to taste. Remove air from bag.
3. Once desired temperature has been reached, place bag in a water bath for 18-20 min.
4. Remove from Nomiku bath and place in an ice-bath for 2-5 min.
5. Serve with poached egg, bagels or toast, and cream cheese with chives, dill and capers.


Introducing solid food & sous-vide cooking


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IMG_1605When my baby reached the 6-month mark she was showing all the tell tale signs (sitting up, showing interest in food, smacking lips…) that she was ready to start eating something other than breast milk. We were so excited to start introducing solid food and we were keen on making all her food at home.

With the help of our doctor, we developed an effective strategy for food introduction. Here are a few of the guidelines/tips that helped us in our journey.

Stage 1. Introducing solids one at a time, 2-3 days in a row
This point is pretty self explanatory, we would introduce one veggie at a time and she would eat this veggie for 2-3 days in a row during the first month.

Depending on the country where you live, there will be different suggestions on what to start with (ex. some suggest to start with baby cereal only, while others advise to start with veggies and introduce cereal a few days later). Remember to follow the guidelines set by your baby’s physician.

Here is a list of some great starter foods:
-Sweet potatoes
-Peas and green beans

Our doctor recommended to start with veggies first and then work our way up to fruit to get her palate used to veggies (since babies tend to prefer fruits over vegetables).

Preparing food
Whether BLW or pureeing, the following approach is very helpful to prepare and store baby food. We found our Nomiku super handy for preparing our baby food. This cooking method allows you to cook different veggies at the same time, and is super efficient in terms of portioning and storage because you can store food in the same container you use to cook it.

1. Get a good selection of fresh (if you can) organic fruit/vegetables.
2. Clean them thoroughly.
3. Cut into small bite sized pieces (you can cut into slightly larger pieces if pureeing).
4. Place food in a 500 ml mason jar, add about 150 ml of water, close lid and place in water bath we found that 90 C for 15-20 min works great for most veggies.
Place food in a food safe bag, displace air and place in water bath.

Soft fruits and veggies (i.e. zucchini, apples, etc) will require about 10-15 min, while harder food (like carrots) will take about 20-25min.

5. Once cooked, remove desired serving quantity along with some cooking water, puree and serve once cooled to about body temp. My mom found these nifty little jars where you can replace the lid with the blade of your blender, blend the food, and then store it.

If saving prepared food for later use, here are two methods we found useful.

Method 1.
Puree all the sous-vide food, place in an ice bath, then store in the fridge for up to 3 days or freezer for up to a month. Before serving, remove a portion from the container and heat it in a bain marie until it reaches about 36C.

Method 2.
Place sous-vide food (whether in a mason jar or in food safe bag) in an ice-bath for a few minutes until it has cooled. In a mason jar this will create a vacuum seal which will help the food stay fresh. Foods cooked (and stored) in food-safe bags are already in vacuum so they will remain fresh. Place in refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for upto 1 month. Before serving, portion out desired amount, puree (optional) and heat over bain marie.

Stage 2. Mixing it up
Now that you know what your baby likes (and dislikes), it’s time to mix it up! Pair popular veggies with not so popular ones. For example in our case, chayotes and carrots were instant hits, while zucchini not so much, so we paired them in a 2:1:1 ratio and she loved it!

In this stage you can start adding some legumes, grains and meats. Try getting your baby used to flavour combinations you use at home and try to use veggies from different color families to make sure she is getting a variety of vitamins and minerals.

Remember be patient and positive, but most of all have fun!!

If you’re interested in sous-vide cooking at home head over to Nomiku their blog is full of awesome recipes, you can also head to bagsoakeat for recipes and reference values. For more info on baby food and parenting Mama Natural is a super useful resource.

Do you have any helpful tips about baby food? Please share below!

Best Mtl food moments 2014


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IMG_0389A round up of our favorite Montreal food moments of 2014. Let me know if you agree!

Best Brunch

538 Place St. Henri

Passé compose
950 rue Roy Est

The sparrow & the Cardinal tea room
Sparrow: 5322 rue Saint Laurent 514-507-1642
Cardinal: 5326 rue Saint Laurent 514-903-2877

For more on MTL brunches click here

Best coffee: latte at Cafe myriade and latte freddo at Café Olimpico

Cafe Myriade II: 251 rue Saint-Viateur Ouest 514 507-4092
Cafe Olimpico:124 Saint-Viateur Ouest 514 495-0746

Best pastry: croissants at la bête à pain & canelés at Patrice patissier

La bête à pain: 114 Fleury Ouest 514 507 7109
Patrice patissier: 2360 rue Notre-Dame Ouest 514 439 5434

Best treats: mini pies at Rustique
4615 rue Notre-Dame Ouest

Best dessert: Le vert at Patrice patissier
2360 rue Notre-Dame Ouest
514 439 5434

Le vert : apple, pistachio, olive oil, creamy yogurt, cilantro

Le vert : apple, pistachio, olive oil, creamy yogurt, cilantro

Best veggie dish: celeriac bagna cauda at Vin et papillon
2519 rue Notre-Dame Ouest
no reservations

Celeri root bagna cauda

Celeri root bagna cauda

Best soup

Bum bo hue (Saturday special spicy soup) at Pho Bang New York and White onion soup at 400 coups
Pho Bang New York: 1001 Boulevard Saitn Laurent 514-954-2032
400 coups: 400 Notre-Dame East 514-985-0400

Best summer outing: Picnic at Parc de la Petite-Italie from dinette triple crown
6704 rue Clark

Best sandwiches: poached egg on your face at olive & gurmando, Friday fish
burger at depanneur le pick up and cajun chicken sandwich patisserie & Boulangerie Clark

Depanneur le pick up

Depanneur le pick up

Olive&Gourmando: 351 Saint Paul Ouest 514-350-1083
Depanneur le Pick Up: 7032 Rue Waverly 514-271-8011
Patisserie & Boulangerie Clark: 29 Rue Saint Viateur Ouest 514-276-7827

Best burger: nouveau palais
281 Bernard Ouest
514 273 1180

Best service Because great service goes a long way!

48 Rue Dante
514 508-6508

400 coups
400 Notre-Dame East

Vin et papillon
2519 rue Notre-Dame Ouest
no reservations

Best pizza: pizzeria Gema
6827 Saint Dominique Street


Best ethnic meal:
stuffed lamb Boucherie abou Abed (need to order in advance – kharouf mahshi)
11495 Boulevard Gouin Ouest, Pierrefonds, QC
514 685-2362

La Khaima
142 Avenue Fairmount Ouest

Best Lunch: Impasto
48 Rue Dante
514 508-6508


What were some of your favourite Mtl food moments? This was definitely mine!/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/670/29414279/files/2015/01/img_0859.jpg

Sablés de Noël ~ Christmas butter cookies


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I don’t know about you, but baking Christmas cookies pretty much marks the beginning of holiday season in my house. I love everything about them, their smell, gobbling them up, but most of all I love the memory of decorating them with my mom in anticipation of Christmas.

Love the versatility of this recipe. You can add any combination of spices you like!

Butter cookies
Makes about 3 dozen 2 inch cookies

1/2 c butter, room temperature
1/4 c powdered sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
1 1/4 c flour
zest of half an orange
a pinch of salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves

1. In a bowl cream butter, sugar, orange zest and vanilla.
2. In another bowl mix flour, salt, nutmeg and cloves.
3. Add dry ingredients to creamed butter and mixed until combined.
4. Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
5. Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll out dough between two sheets of parchment paper, to about 4 mm thick. If doughy becomes to sticky chill for 15 min
6. Lightly dust rolled out dough with flour and cut with your favourite cookie cutters.
7. Arrange them 2 cm apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets.*
9. Bake until light brown about 12 min.

*Go to town with the decorations. You can decorate with coloured sugar before baking or with royal icing after baking and completely cooled.


Christmas Menu – Holiday Inspiration


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Can you believe Christmas is only one week away!

I love browsing for recipes to get ideas for the Christmas menu. Here are a few images to help get you inspired. Enjoy!

Lobster and fennel entree & foie gras

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/670/29414279/files/2014/12/img_0368.jpg Braised bisquet, sauerkraut, chikory salad, cucumber and dill salad, and garlic potatoes

Bacalao a la vizcaina, roasted bell peppers, chiles and pickled onions


IMG_0370and something sweet… two types of profiteroles, pastry cream and chocolate mousse!

Happy Holidays!

Looking for more ideas click here .

Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole


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I love this sweet potato casserole, it’s citrus and caramelized and everything nice! Oh did I also mention it’s super easy to make?

Rustic sweet potato casserole
serves 4

2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1″ squares
1 c fresh orange juice
1/4 c muscovado or brown sugar
1 tbsp butter cut into small cubes
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
zest of one orange
grated ginger
pinch of salt

Preheat oven 375 F. In a large bowl mix all ingredients except butter. Place mixture in baking dish and scatter butter atop. Bake until sweet potatoes are cooked through and caramelized, about 40min.

For a dressed-up version you can cut the sweet potato into thin rounds and arrange them concentrically in the baking dish.

Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving!

IMG_0273.JPG If you want the recipe for the stuffing pictured above click here.

Nani’s Egyptian Kunafa bil kishta


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I remember the first time I tried this dessert… It was love at first bite. Two delicate layers of crispy, buttery phyllo dough, cut thin like vermicelli noodles, and a luscious creamy interior all drenched in a sweet syrup. So simple and elegant.

It took me years to try and replicate this dish, but three weeks after my daughter was born it was time. It took me two more tries to get the perfect recipe and here it is.

I took the liberty of being creative with the filling. Traditional versions of this dessert are filled with either cheese, custard, or nuts. I decided to create a cream spiced with cardamom and orange. Hope you love it as much as I do!


3 1/2 cups milk
7 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom
orange zest

1/2 c sugar
1 1/4 c melted butter
1/4 c soft butter
456 g (1 package) shredded phyllo dough (aka. Kataifi)

1 c sugar
1/2 c water
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp orange blossom water

Heat 3 cups of milk, cardamom, sugar, and orange zest in a small pot over medium heat, stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Let mixture simmer for 5 min. Meanwhile in a cup dissolve cornstarch in remaining milk. Add cornstarch to simmering milk, while stirring constantly to avoid any lumps. Bring to a boil, stirring often, and cook for 5 min. Remove from heat. Strain mixture into a glass bowl. The filling can be made a day ahead, just cover surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Heat oven 350 F. If using frozen dough, follow instructions in the package (thaw overnight or 8hrs in the fridge). I like to remove mine from the fridge 2 hrs before use. With your hands, kitchen scissors or food processor cut the long strands of dough into 1 inch (~2 cm) strands. In a bowl mix dough, sugar, and melted butter. Make sure sugar and butter are well distributed. If using a food processor you can pulse in the butter and sugar.

Generously butter a 10″-diameter springform pan. Evenly distribute 2/3 of the shredded dough mixture on the bottom and sides of the pan. With wet hands press the dough to make sure it’s compact and even. Pour the cream filling onto the phyllo dough, using a spatula spread cream evenly, leave a 1″ gap away from the sides of the pan. Layer the remaining third of the dough on top of the cream. With wet hands press down on the dough until it’s even, this will push the filling to the sides. Distribute the remaining soft butter, in 1/2 tbsp size dollops, on the top layer. Bake for 40 min.

In a small saucepan combine sugar and water, heat over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and let boil for 1 more min. Remove from heat and add orange blossom. Let cool to room temperature.

Let kunafa stand for 10 min before serving. Invert the kunafa unto a serving platter. Decorate with ground pistachio. You can pour the simple syrup over the entire kunefa or let guests drizzle on their individual portion.


For a great visual step-by-step guide visit this blog