chick pea salad sandwich

If you’re a fan of “salad” sandwiches (such as egg salad or chicken salad), then give this vegetarian twist a try! You can even make it vegan by using vegan mayonnaise. Piepie and Boss brought this to school in their YumBoxes and ate it with a spoon (they aren’t sandwich fans) – so that is a great option as well.

The best bang for your buck is to buy dried chickpeas and cook them, but if you’re in a crunch then canned ones will do the trick! I have to say, ever since I got an Instant Pot for Christmas, I don’t use the canned stuff anymore because it literally only takes 30 minutes to cook.

what you need:

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1/4 small red onion
  • 2 baby dill pickles
  • 2 heaping tbsp mayonnaise (regular or vegan)
  • salt and pepper

what to do:

  1. Mix chickpeas with mayo and mash about half of it with a potato masher (or a large fork) – to give it some different textures.
  2. After washing the celery, dry on a dish towel. Dice finely. Chop the onion and pickles finely as well, trying to keep everything about the same size.
  3. Add diced veggies to chickpea mix and add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon onto toast (spread with avocado optional!) and enjoy!

*Leftovers stored in an airtight container will last 5 days.


sweet potato, spinach & chick pea hash


Tonight’s main was this hash, inspired by two reasons:

1. My kids love sweet potatoes but were getting a little tired of sweet potato fries (usually I just cut them up into sticks and oven roast them with olive oil, salt and pepper).

2. I decided to go lighter and vegetarian for dinner because over the weekend we hosted two BBQs and definitely had our share of meaty proteins.

The girls (piepie and boss) ate this sweet potato hash right up and didn’t even flinch at the green spinach.  It also packs easily for lunch the next day, delicious at room temperature or slightly cool.  You could even spice it up by adding cumin, cayenne pepper, coriander, and/or turmeric.

prep: 10 min    cook: 10 min    yield: 2-4

what you need:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, washed/scrubbed thoroughly
  • 1 cup chick peas (cooked)
  • 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp mild tasting cooking oil (I used avocado oil)
  • salt & pepper
  • cooking oil

what to do:

  1. Place washed sweet potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil then turn down to medium low, parboil (partly cooking) for about 10 minutes. You want them to be tender but not falling apart.
  2. Once cool enough to handle,  roughly cut sweet potato into bite size chunks. (I like to leave the skin on for texture and fibre).
  3. In a large skillet (best to use cast iron) – on medium high heat, add butter and cooking oil. (If you are using a non-stick pan, use medium heat). Once the butter melts, add the cooked sweet potato chunks and mash slightly with a large fork or potato masher. Lightly brown the sweet potatoes to make them hash-like.
  4. Add in your chick peas and spinach – stirring to mix everything together – about 5 minutes – once the spinach wilts and the chick peas are warmed, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Remove from heat and enjoy!



greens for breakfast


over easy egg over sautéed kale 


love a runny egg over anything!

Over Easter we were incredibly lucky to have spent the weekend in California’s Disneyland with my parents!  What a treat it was for all of us – literally in every sense.  Though it’s fun to eat out and enjoy things like decadent pastries for breakfast, we all came home feeling like we needed more greens and veggies.  This week I am challenging myself to eat more greens (to make up for my lack of consuming them in Disneyland!) and it seemed fitting to start the day right.  Sometimes it seems weird to have your coffee alongside veggies but this morning I actually quite enjoyed my sautéed kale with a runny egg on top, instead of a piece of toast and fried egg.  Super filling, easy, nutritious, and very yummy.  Feel like your morning is too rushed to prep a breakfast like this? Plan ahead and make sure you wash and tear up your kale the night before so it’s ready to go in the morning!

what you need:

  • 2 large handfuls of washed and roughly torn kale
  • 1 large egg
  • salt & pepper
  • cooking oil (I use grapeseed oil)

what to do:

  1. In a nonstick pan, add 1 tsp oil on medium heat.
  2. Add kale and season lightly with salt and pepper – cover with a lid for 1 minute – just so it steams and softens.
  3. Remove lid and toss/stir, to cook all edges of the kale.
  4. Load up your kale onto a plate – then fry up an egg any style you like (my favourite is over easy…love the creamy yolk) – ENJOY!


piepie, minnie mouse, & the boss

honey glazed sweet potatoes, cranberries, and green bean salad


hearty wintery salad

After a weekend of eating out twice at dinner time (we ordered pizza with some friends one night and then had a decadent dinner at downtown Ottawa’s Beckta), we were feeling a little in need of a healthy, lighter dinner.  Everything in moderation, right?  If we were totally clean eaters I suppose I should have left out the feta cheese – but this bite of saltiness just works so well against the honey glazed sweet potatoes and adds a creamy texture to the dish!  You could sub in sautéed olives instead (but my husband hates olives…sad for me!). The fresh cranberries play a key role too, as their tart tanginess counteracts the sweet and salty of the sweet potatoes and feta.  The green beans need to be just blanched so that they retain their crisp bite, adding a crunchy texture to the salad. You can serve this salad at room temperature (just crumble the feta last minute!) or when all the ingredients are warm. Either way, it’s delicious! Even piepie (our 3 1/2 year old) ate it up!

Note: I didn’t make a dressing for this salad – but if you find you need one, try lemon juice and olive oil, or balsamic vinegar and olive oil (about 3:1 ratio of vinegar:oil) to give it more zip and moisture.  Also – if you’re looking for more protein and nutrients, try topping this salad with salmon. We had left some over pan seared salmon that went really well with it!

what you need:

  • a bunch of green beans (about two large handfuls)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 can (540mL) chick peas
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp raw honey
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 – 2 tbsp cooking oil (I used grapeseed oil)

what to do:

  1. Prep everything – wash and clean green beans (take off the rough tips).  Wash sweet potato thoroughly and peel if desired (I left the skins on).  Rinse the cranberries. Cut the lemon in half. Chop up garlic roughly. Drain and rinse chick peas. Preheat oven to 425 F (400 F if you have convection).  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the sweet potato into cubes (bite size) and toss on the baking sheet with the fresh cranberries, and 1 tsp- 2 tsp cooking oil – season lightly with salt and pepper. Place the cookie sheet into your oven, for about 15-20 minutes, until sweet potato is tender and cranberries pop.
  3. Blanche the green beans quickly. To blanche – bring a pot of water to a boil, add the green beans, wait about 1 minute, then immediately remove them from the water and cool down by shocking them in cold water to stop the cooking process. This will maintain it’s crispness.
  4. Check on your sweet potatoes – at this point, glaze with honey (if your honey is too thick, heat it up slightly so that it drizzles onto the sweet potatoes and cranberries). Use a wooden spoon to gently stir everything and return to oven for remaining time to bake.
  5. In a large pan on medium-high heat, heat up cooking oil and garlic, then add chick peas and green beans, stirring occasionally until coated with the garlic oil (this won’t take very long, just a few minutes) – season with salt and pepper as desired and remove from heat. Transfer onto serving dish, squeeze lemon all over.
  6. Remove sweet potatoes and cranberries from the oven and layer them onto your green beans and chick peas. Crumble feta on top and enjoy immediately, or serve later at room temperature!

loaded hummus sandwich 


take a bite


I really shouldn’t even call this a hummus sandwich because it is SO much more than that!  This is one of my favourite go to lunches – it’s quick, easy, super delicious and very satisfying. Plus it’s healthy! And vegetarian, so it doesn’t weigh you down for the rest of your work day! Some key ingredients are good bread, creamy avocado, slightly zingy hot peppers, and crunchy tangy pickles. Oh, and the sharp cheddar is key too. If you don’t have time to fry up an egg that isn’t a big deal – but if you can it sure adds some rich and flavourful bites to your sandwich.  I used to make this all the time for my friend Kim whenever we got together for play dates.  She was always surprised at how good it tasted because it seemed like I put a bunch of random things in it!  A few weeks ago she recreated it as a build your own sandwich station at a baby shower. Brilliant way to easily serve a crowd!

prep: 6 min   yield: 2 sandwiches

what you need:

  • 4 slices of hearty bread (today I used a sprouted grain brain – it was so good! you do need a bread that will stand up to all the filling)
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 pickles
  • 2 tbsp pickled hot pepper rings
  • baby spinach or arugula
  • sharp old cheddar cheese
  • hummus
  • 2 eggs

what to do:

  1. Toast your bread lightly.
  2. If you are using eggs, fry them up until desired doneness (I like overeasy).
  3. Prep the rest of your ingredients and have them ready for sandwich assembly – wash spinach and pat dry, allow pickles and hot peppers to rest on a paper towel for a minute (this soaks up excess liquid), thinly slice cheese, cut avocado in half and remove pit.
  4. Place toast on a plate and load them up! One side with hummus, then top with cheese and egg. On the other, spread avocado on, then load with spinach, pickles, and hot peppers.  Gently bring the hummus side on top. Cut in half, and enjoy!

sweet potato & chick pea curry


curried sweet potatoes & chick peas

Here’s a meal that comes together pretty quickly but tastes like it’s been stewing on the stove all day. The aromas of the spices warm your house without scaring away the kiddies (it’s not spicy at all!). Make some basmati or plain rice to eat alongside this delicious hearty stew.  My little ones (now 3 and 1) love sweet potatoes so this one was a winner in our household.  You can actually serve this as baby food (mild warmth from ginger but not spicy! plus ginger has great benefits for the tummy) – just make sure to remove ginger pieces and gently smash the chick peas and sweet potatoes with the back of a spoon so that it is soft but still has a bit of texture.

It’s a great stew that freezes well and is perfect to pull out at a later day for a quick lunch when you’re in a crunch.  We actually served left overs to some friends the other night and they loved it so much I decided to post this recipe.

prep: 10 min    cook: 1 hr    yield: 6

what you need:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 can chick peas (540 mL)
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth (homemade best!)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • *optional if serving to adults only – you can add cayenne or red chilli flakes
  • cilantro for garnish
  • 1 tbsp grape seed oil (or other cooking oil)

what to do:

  1. Wash and peel sweet potatoes and chop into bite size chunks.
  2. Remove skin from garlic and shallots, then chop finely. Remove skin from ginger and thickly slice.
  3. Drain and rinse chick peas with cold water.
  4. In a large pot (preferably a dutch oven or heavy soup pot), heat up oil on medium.
  5. Add shallots and ginger, sauté until fragrant. Add garlic and spices. Be careful not to burn the spices and garlic, continue stirring and add a little bit of oil if it seems too dry. Once you smell the fragrant aromas, add chick peas and sweet potatoes, stirring to mix.DSC_0063
  6. Immediately add your 3 cups of liquid. Stir to combine, then close the lid. Turn the heat to high then once it comes to a boil, turn it down to simmer for 45 min.
  7. When serving, be sure to remove the ginger pieces so that no one gets a big bite of ginger. Serve with chopped cilantro on top, alongside rice. Enjoy!

my little helper

pie pie the sous-chef

fresh rolls

simply delicious!

simply delicious!

I have yet to meet someone in my life who doesn’t like fresh rolls.  I have made this for many of my friends and they always get gobbled up! I have had the pleasure of hosting a few bridal/baby showers and these are always a big hit. They require a little bit of labour and love but they are quite easy to make! The secret is making sure you have a solid peanut dipping sauce – the vegetables and noodles inside the rice wrap are not seasoned, therefore the sauce has to be very flavourful to pack a good punch. Traditional Thai-style fresh rolls have a basil leaf rolled in them along with the veggies but my husband really doesn’t it so I omit it, but definitely use it if you like the taste of basil.

You can pretty much put whatever kinds of vegetables you like in these rolls – you just want to make sure you cut them about the same size (it looks nice and also eats better) and try to choose a few different colours so that it is vibrant. Cooked shrimp also tastes great in these! It makes me sad that I can’t have shrimp anymore (after having pie pie I developed a new shellfish allergy…sad sad sad).

Since most of the veggies inside are raw and the rolls itself are quite big, it was hard for pie pie (my toddler) to eat so she ended up tearing it apart and dipping her veggies in the peanut sauce (which she loved).

prep: 20 – 30 min   yield: 12 rolls

what you need:

  • 12-15 large round rice papers (the first few might rip so extra is a good idea!)
  • 12 asparagus
  • 1/2 bag of bean sprouts
  • 1 small bundle of mung (green) bean noodles (or rice noodles)
  • 1 large carrot or 2 small ones
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/3 cucumber
  • 1 bell pepper

peanut sauce:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp naturally brewed soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp vinegar or ponzu
  • 1 tsp raw honey or agave
  • zest and juice of a lime
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger (the easiest way is to freeze it and then use a microplane)
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • a few sprigs of cilantro, finely chopped
  • a few dashes of fish sauce *optional
  • 1 red thai chilli, finely chopped for maximal heat or slice in half and remove seeds for minimal heat (wash your hands after!) *optional

what to do:

  1. Fill your kettle with water and turn it on.
  2. Mix all peanut sauce ingredients in a mason jar and shake vigorously. Store in the fridge.DSC_0612
  3. Prep all your veggies first – wash them thoroughly, peel the ones that need to be peeled, then cut them into long strips, about 2/3 of the diameter of your rice paper. I decided to grate my carrots because carrots can be a little hard, and I wanted some different textures in my fresh rolls. Set aside for your assembly line for rolling.

    ready to roll, literally! prepped veggies & noodles

  4. For the asparagus, while you can eat it raw, I find it to be a little hard to eat that way and prefer to blanche them just to soften them a little bit. To do that, bring a pot of water to a boil, add your trimmed and cut asparagus, and just let them cook in the boiling water for about 30 seconds – 1 minute – they will turn a bright green. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. In the same pot of water that you used to cook the asparagus, add your noodles (just a small bundle, about a handful). Rice noodles and mung bean noodles cook very quickly, in about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside as well.
  6. Set up your station to roll by placing a large cutting board down and the veggies & noodles in front of you.
  7. In a large shallow pan or dish, add hot water (from your kettle) – if it’s too hot then just let it sit for a moment – you need the water to be hot but not scalding…Carefully take one rice paper sheet and gingerly place it in the water but make sure you keep holding the top edge of it and start rotating it so that all edges touch the water.  When it becomes pliable it’s ready…if it is immersed in the water too long it will just tear. This part requires a quick, gentle and deft hand! It might take practice (the first few times I made these I threw away a bunch of rice papers!). DSC_0616
  8. Place the rice paper on the cutting board and place one of each veggie and a little mound of carrot/sprouts about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom. Fold from either side, then lift the bottom and tuck and roll tightly – the rice paper sticks to itself very well. Again, if it’s been in the hot water too long (or if your water is too hot), it will likely tear. Don’t worry, just keep making them and you’ll get the hang of it! The first few might not be the prettiest but hey they all taste the same!
  9. If you are eating them right away, just place them onto your serving dish and stack them up! If you are serving them later in the day or even into the next day, be sure to store them in an airtight container with a wet paper towel. They taste best fresh but sometime I make extra for lunches the next day so the paper towel does do the trick. Serve it up with the peanut dipping sauce. Enjoy!

zucchini ribbons in a faux-rosé sauce

zucchini ribbons

not your standard pasta!

Okay so the night before this light & vegetarian dish came about, we had a craving for pizza so we told our toddler we were doing something special and ordered pizza for dinner…and it would have been alright except that it was loaded with bacon (we like bacon but not in ridiculous amounts) and a thick buttery pesto that had no flavour…and upon seeing this pie pie says “I don’t want all that stuffs on it” and even though I agreed with her I say excitedly “it’s bacon! you like bacon”. “Oh! Yay!” she says, then eats about one bite, picks off three bits of bacon, then says her belly is full and wants to leave the table. Perhaps she really was full, because I fed her some avocado and red peppers before the arrival of our bacon infested pizza, or perhaps she really has developed taste buds for good food! Maybe a bit of both. Anyhow, needless to say we got our bacon fix that night and I felt a vegetarian dinner the next night was required to balance things out.

Upon rummaging through my fridge, I realize I have six zucchinis that I haven’t touched, and a tupperware full of cooked lima beans. I’m thinking some sort of vegetarian pasta dish but since my husband is not a big fan of pasta, I decide to sub the zucchini as noodles instead of using pasta at all. Pureeing the lima beans made them nice and creamy, perfect to blend with tomatoes for faux-rosé sauce. Surprisingly easy and tasty! And the zucchini ribbons held up nicely, completely fork twirl-able, just like pasta noodles.

prep: 15-20 min   cook: 15 min   yield: 4

what you need:

  • 4 zucchinis (1 per person is a good ratio)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup cooked lima beans
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano (it’s important to use the fresh good stuff for this recipe, as there isn’t a lot to it so you need the strong nutty parm flavour)
  • extra parmigiano reggiano for garnish
  • 1 cup strained tomatoes (in puréed form)
  • salt & pepper
  • cooking oil (I used olive oil)

what to do:

  1. Wash zucchini thoroughly, then cut off nub at the top. Use a peeler to carefully make long ribbons of zucchini, working from one end to the other, and setting the ribbons aside in a bowl.DSC_0531
  2. Blend lima beans until a smooth white puré is formed.
  3. Smash garlic, then roughly chop.
  4. In a large nonstick pan, on medium, heat up 2 tsp oil and add garlic, stirring frequently and turning heat down to just below medium to avoid burning. Once you smell the garlic, add the lima bean puré. Cook this for about 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add the strained tomatoes and grated parm, season with salt and pepper, stir to combine, making your sauce. Turn the heat back up to medium, and add zucchini ribbons and stir gently occasionally.  Continue to cook until zucchini ribbons are tender and pliable (don’t overcook them or they will break apart).
  6. Remove from heat and serve with more grated parmesan on top. Enjoy!