Living Lou http://www.livinglou.com Cooking through my twenties with simple, fresh and flavourful recipes Tue, 18 Jul 2017 09:00:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 Greek Watermelon Feta Salad http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/greek-watermelon-feta-salad.html http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/greek-watermelon-feta-salad.html#respond Tue, 18 Jul 2017 09:00:52 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10074 Greek watermelon feta salad is a refreshing summer salad with a lime vinaigrette and fresh mint.  Is there an ingredient that screams summer more than watermelon? I don’t think so! Watermelon was always a favourite summer snack when I was growing up, my mom would cut it into cubes or wedges and my sister and I would get [...]

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Greek watermelon feta salad is a refreshing summer salad with a lime vinaigrette and fresh mint. 

Greek watermelon feta salad is a refreshing summer salad with a lime vinaigrette and fresh mint. | livinglou.com

Is there an ingredient that screams summer more than watermelon? I don’t think so! Watermelon was always a favourite summer snack when I was growing up, my mom would cut it into cubes or wedges and my sister and I would get all sticky eating it outside on the deck of my grandmother’s cottage.

But those aren’t my only memories of watermelon. In Greece, every meal is finished with a plate of fresh watermelon. When I saw this recipe for Greek Salad, I knew that I had to try it. A couple of years ago, several of my friends and I had a barbecue and one of the salads we served was something similar to this watermelon feta salad, but we used basil instead of mint. While I was a little apprehensive at first, this salad was so good.

Greek watermelon feta salad is a refreshing summer salad with a lime vinaigrette and fresh mint. | livinglou.com

Recently, when I was grocery shopping a sweet man stopped me to ask how you should choose the right watermelon, and there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, you want a symmetrical watermelon that is free from any sort of damage. Because watermelon is 92% water, it should be heavy for its size. Something many people don’t know is to look for a light yellow spot on the bottom (this is where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun).

For this salad, I made a few tweaks to the original recipe and opted for a lime vinaigrette instead of a balsamic dressing. I like lime because it adds a lot of acidity, but it doesn’t mask any of the watermelon flavour.

Greek watermelon feta salad is a refreshing summer salad with a lime vinaigrette and fresh mint. | livinglou.com

This Greek watermelon salad is the perfect recipe for entertaining. With watermelon, cucumber, red onion, Kalamata olives and feta this salad is not only beautiful and bright, but it’s also quite budget friendly.

I find we are all more social during the summer; having friends over for drinks or appetizers, watermelon is the perfect choice. According to a study in 2010 by the Perishables Group, watermelon actually ranks first on the list of budget-friendly fruits, at only 14¢ per serving.

Yields 4-6 servings

Greek Watermelon Feta Salad

25 minPrep Time

25 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups diced watermelon, seeded
  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • For dressing:
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. 1. In a large bowl, add watermelon, cucumber, onion, olives, feta nad mint.
  2. 2. In a small bowl, whisk oil, lime juice, lime zest, garlic and salt.
  3. 3. Pour dressing over salad and toss.
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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by The National Watermelon Board– as always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting my sponsors and allowing me to continue creating recipes like this Greek Watermelon Feta Salad.

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Grilled Salmon Skewers http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/grilled-salmon-skewers.html http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/grilled-salmon-skewers.html#respond Sat, 15 Jul 2017 01:14:09 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10062 Grilled salmon skewers with zucchini, onion and bell peppers are marinated in a olive oil, lemon juice and dried thyme marinade. Recently I’ve been turning to books and reading to help relax and stop my brain from constantly cycling through my to-do list. Growing up, I always did a ton of reading in the summers, and I [...]

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Grilled salmon skewers with zucchini, onion and bell peppers are marinated in a olive oil, lemon juice and dried thyme marinade.

Grilled salmon skewers with zucchini, onion and bell peppers are marinated in a olive oil, lemon juice and dried thyme marinade. | www.livinglou.com

Recently I’ve been turning to books and reading to help relax and stop my brain from constantly cycling through my to-do list. Growing up, I always did a ton of reading in the summers, and I feel like I’ve been conditioned to spend time reading in the summer. I recently finished a collection of essays and poems called I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better by Monica Heisey who is a writer and comedian from Toronto. It is so funny and relatable. I especially loved that the stories took place in and around Toronto.

I’ve been reading a combination of non-fiction and fiction, I’m halfway through Aidan Donnelly Rowley’s The Ramblers right now and loving it, but my next ‘project’ is to do a deep dive into some culinary reading and research.

Grilled salmon skewers with zucchini, onion and bell peppers are marinated in a olive oil, lemon juice and dried thyme marinade. | www.livinglou.com

When I was working in a test kitchen, I was constantly learning and improving my skills. Learning to think about flavours and balance, texture and taste. How to actually season your food properly (everyone should learn this!). Combining all of these elements to make your recipes better each time you are developing and testing them. It’s been over a year and a half since I had that job and I’ve definitely been missing how much I would learn about food each and every day because there is always something new to learn about food and cooking.

I’ve got a growing list of classic cookbooks, memoirs and gastronomic bibles. If I actually had all of these books, my bedside table and desk would be piled high. Many of these books aren’t available anymore but can be found in the reference library in Toronto. So you can expect to find me there over the next little while. Maybe I’ll document and share some of my findings on here (or on Instagram) is that something you’d be interested in?

Grilled salmon skewers with zucchini, onion and bell peppers are marinated in a olive oil, lemon juice and dried thyme marinade. | www.livinglou.com

These grilled salmon skewers are a basic recipe but I find a lot of people are intimidated by grilling fish. It’s so easy to overcook and can fall apart right on the grill. Trust me, I’ve made both of those mistakes before. The trick to making salmon skewers (or skewers of any type) is to be very selective with the kinds of veggies you are grilling along with your protein. Because salmon cooks quickly, I opted for onion, zucchini and bell peppers because I knew they would cook in the same time as the fish.

The other key to making skewers or kabobs is in the marinade. I marinate the veggies and salmon in the same bowl to keep things simple. It’s a very basic marinade of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and dried thyme. I’m using dried herbs here because they won’t burn on the grill and can stand up to high temperatures and direct grilling.

Yields 8 skewers

Grilled Salmon Skewers

35 minPrep Time

8 minCook Time

6 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

    For marinade:
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • For skewers:
  • 1.5 lbs / 680g fresh salmon filets, skim removed cut into 1' cubes
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into 1' pieces
  • 2 zucchini, sliced into 1/4' rounds
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced into 1' pieces

Instructions

  1. In a large glass bowl, whisk lemon juice with thyme and salt. Add salmon and vegetables, toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, soak 8 medium length wood skewers in water.
  2. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Thread salmon and veggies onto skewers.
  3. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side or until fish is cooked.
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Let me know if you give these grilled salmon skewers a try in the comments below.

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S’mores Rice Crispy Treats http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/smores-rice-crispy-treats.html http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/smores-rice-crispy-treats.html#respond Sun, 02 Jul 2017 16:45:55 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10044 S’mores rice crispy treats with chocolate and graham crackers are the ultimate easy dessert. Oh, long weekends. Once you start working, they become that much sweeter. It’s always nice to get out of the city and escape for a couple of days, but I’m hanging around Toronto this Canada Day long weekend. Floating between my apartment and my [...]

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S’mores rice crispy treats with chocolate and graham crackers are the ultimate easy dessert.

S'mores rice krispie treats with chocolate and graham crackers are the ultimate easy dessert. | livinglou.com

Oh, long weekends. Once you start working, they become that much sweeter. It’s always nice to get out of the city and escape for a couple of days, but I’m hanging around Toronto this Canada Day long weekend. Floating between my apartment and my childhood home, the apartments of my friends, and the pools and backyards where I grew up. Parks and coffee shops, grocery stores. Doing all the regular things I would in a weekend, but feeling like there is time to actually breathe.  

I find we are always trying to pack everything into one weekend. We want to make the most of it! Summer is only here for two months! Let’s go swimming! Let’s go to the park! Let’s walk down by the water! Let’s do it all in one day! Mix that in with the actual work that I have to get done on the weekend and it can be pretty exhausting. My alarm goes off on Monday morning at the lovely hour of 5:30am and I already feel like I need another weekend to just sleep and relax.

S'mores rice krispie treats with chocolate and graham crackers are the ultimate easy dessert. | livinglou.com

S’mores are one of those quintessential summer treats. I’m not really the camping type, but we used to make them over the bonfire at the cottage. The melty, smoky marshmallows mixed with graham crackers and melted chocolate is basically what dreams are made of.

This recipe is made in two parts, first you make the rice krispie treat base. It’s basically your typical rice crispy treat but then you mix in a few of the s’mores ingredients (crumbled graham crackers and chocolate), so it becomes more of a chocolate rice crispy square. Then it’s pressed into a pan and topped with more marshmallows, crumbled graham crackers and chocolate.

You throw this pan under the broiler for about four minutes, just to char the top of the marshmallows and mirror that smoky, campfire look and you’re good to go. You see the golden tops on the marshmallows? That’s what we want. That’s where the flavour is.

S'mores rice krispie treats with chocolate and graham crackers are the ultimate easy dessert. | livinglou.com

The thing about these s’mores rice krispie treats is that they are delicious warm and cold. So you can eat them right out of the pan when you make them, and bring them to work or to a picnic when they have cooled down and they are just as good.

I love seeing photos from my favourite bloggers so I thought I’d give you a bit of a peak into my summer so far. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen a few of them before! How lucky am I to live in this great city and have the most amazing tribe of friends.

A few snapshots of my summer so far in Toronto.

Yields 16 squares

S’mores Rice Crispy Treats

15 minPrep Time

10 minCook Time

25 minTotal Time

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5 based on 1 review(s)

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 5 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 1 cup crumbled graham crackers
  • 3 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • For topping:
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup crumbled graham crackers
  • 2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped

Instructions

  1. Grease a 9x13 oven-safe baking dish with butter or vegetable oil.
  2. Melt butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add mini marshmallows, stirring until melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  3. Add crispy rice cereal, graham crackers and semi sweet chocolate. Stir to coat in marshmallows and press into prepared pan.
  4. Sprinkle evenly with topping.
  5. Place under broiler for 3-4 minutes, checking frequently to avoid burning.
  6. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before cutting into 16 squares.
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Let me know if you give these s’mores rice crispy treats a try in the comments below!

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Peach Sangria with Blueberries, Basil and Rose http://www.livinglou.com/2017/06/peach-sangria-with-blueberries-basil-and-rose.html http://www.livinglou.com/2017/06/peach-sangria-with-blueberries-basil-and-rose.html#respond Wed, 28 Jun 2017 09:00:22 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10028 Whip up a quick peach sangria with blueberries, basil and rose for a crowd for a refreshing summer cocktail.  Does anything scream summer more than a refreshing glass of sangria? I don’t think so! Every year, my summer bucket list always includes these three things; read X amount of books, go rollerblading, and make sangria. I [...]

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Whip up a quick peach sangria with blueberries, basil and rose for a crowd for a refreshing summer cocktail. 

Peach sangria with blueberries, basil and rose for a crowd for a refreshing summer cocktail. | livinglou.com

Does anything scream summer more than a refreshing glass of sangria? I don’t think so! Every year, my summer bucket list always includes these three things; read X amount of books, go rollerblading, and make sangria. I usually check off two of those three items, but tend to forget about the sangria plans.

We bring up bottles of wine and fruit to cottages with big plans for making pitchers of everyone’s favourite refreshing drink. Before you know it, the weekend is over, the bottles of wine are empty and you have no sangria to show for it. Weekends pass by way too quickly, especially when they are the laughter, sun and wine-soaked variety.

Peach sangria with blueberries, basil and rose for a crowd for a refreshing summer cocktail. | livinglou.com

I so enjoy these summer weekends. I’ve been really busy with work recently, so I feel like I haven’t quite been making the most of the summer yet but there are still two months to go! It’s tough to find that balance between getting everything done that I need to do and having downtime to do all those things that I want to do in the summer. I’ve been pretty good recently at making the most of my time during the week so that my weekends have a little more wiggle room, and the plan is to keep that up until September.

With June being pretty much over and Canada Day and the Fourth of July coming up, summer is officially here (and positively zooming by). I developed this easy sangria recipe with peaches, blueberries, basil and a deliciously sweet rose wine with one of my best friend’s during one of the first beautiful Saturdays we had in June. We were hanging out in the backyard and decided that it was the perfect afternoon for sangria.

Peach sangria with blueberries, basil and rose for a crowd for a refreshing summer cocktail. | livinglou.com

After heading to the store to gather the ingredients, we mixed it all together and let it sit in the fridge for an hour to allow the fruit to infuse with wine. I’ll tell you, waiting that hour was so hard, but so worth it. While we opted to use rose for this sangria, you could definitely use a white wine in here as well.

If you’re up at a cottage or just having a little getaway in your own backyard or on your tiny balcony, a pitcher of sangria is basically the best way to spend your afternoon. If you’re wondering how to make sangria, my recipe is as simple as mixing the fruits and flavourings of your choice, adding wine and seltzer water. Serve it over ice (tip: never add the ice to the pitcher because it will dilute the entire pitcher).

If you’re looking for another perfect summer drink, you can try my blueberry vodka lemonade.

Yields Serves 8-10

Peach Sangria with Blueberries, Basil and Rose

10 minPrep Time

1 hrCook Time

1 hr, 10 Total Time

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4.8 based on 4 review(s)

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Ingredients

  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 4 peaches, diced with skin-on
  • 15 basil leaves
  • 2 750-mL bottles rose wine
  • 3 cups sparkling water

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large pitcher. Refrigerate for an hour.
  2. Serve over ice.
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Let me know if you give this refreshing peach sangria a try in the comments below.

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Baked Camembert with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Red Pepper Jelly http://www.livinglou.com/2017/06/baked-camembert-with-sun-dried-tomatoes-and-red-pepper-jelly.html http://www.livinglou.com/2017/06/baked-camembert-with-sun-dried-tomatoes-and-red-pepper-jelly.html#respond Sun, 25 Jun 2017 14:24:50 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10006 Baked Camembert cheese with sun dried tomatoes and red pepper jelly is the perfect appetizer. Growing up in Canada (specifically in Ontario) means that I’ve become used to the idea that there is a small window for most of our local produce, so you really need to take advantage of it. But, this isn’t the [...]

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Baked Camembert cheese with sun dried tomatoes and red pepper jelly is the perfect appetizer.

Baked Camembert cheese with sun dried tomatoes and red pepper jelly is the perfect appetizer. | livinglou.com

Growing up in Canada (specifically in Ontario) means that I’ve become used to the idea that there is a small window for most of our local produce, so you really need to take advantage of it. But, this isn’t the case when it comes to cheese! You can find locally made, high quality Canadian cheese all year around.

This month’s cheese from Dairy Farmers of Canada is Comfort Cream, which is from the Upper Canada Cheese Company in the Niagara escarpment region in my home province of Ontario.

Baked Camembert cheese with sun dried tomatoes and red pepper jelly is the perfect appetizer. | livinglou.com

Is there anything better than a creamy, gooey baked Camembert? Gathering around the counter or table with a warm gooey wheel of cheese and some crackers, add in a glass of wine and my favourite people and I have basically just described what I consider to be the perfect evening. Hosting a dinner party can be overwhelming (and let’s be honest, who has the space let alone a kitchen table to have people over for dinner?), but having your girlfriends over for an evening of wine and cheese is totally doable.

This cheese is made with locally sourced Guernsey milk and is aged for a minimum of four weeks, which helps it ripen and mature in flavour, texture and colour. I love supporting local cheese makers and am really excited about the Upper Canada Cheese Company.

Baked Camembert cheese with sun dried tomatoes and red pepper jelly is the perfect appetizer. | livinglou.com

To me, the best thing about baked Camembert is adding different flavours and toppings. For this recipe, I wanted to complement the buttery and tangy finish of the Camembert by adding elements of sweetness (sun dried tomatoes) and a little bit of spice from red pepper jelly. I topped it off with fresh parsley for a bit of a fresh finish and for presentation it adds a nice pop of colour.

There are a couple of quick steps when making baked Camembert. It starts by slicing off the top rind, because this cheese is so creamy, you need a really sharp knife! Then I mix up the toppings and scatter them all over the cheese before baking it in a 350F oven for about 8 or so minutes.

Yields 8 servings

Baked Camembert with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Red Pepper Jelly

5 minPrep Time

10 minCook Time

15 minTotal Time

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5 based on 1 review(s)

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Ingredients

  • 1 wheel of Canadian Camembert – Comfort Cream
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
  • 2 tbsp red pepper jelly
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cut top rind off the cheese. Put cheese in brie baker.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir sun dried tomatoes with red pepper jelly. Scatter mixture all over cheese.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until softened.
  5. Serve warm or room temperature with crackers.
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I think if you’re planning any sort of gathering or heading to a gathering, this baked Camembert with sun dried tomatoes and red pepper jelly is going to be a crowd pleaser. Because this dish can be served warm or cold, it has become a favourite no-fuss appetizer to serve.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Dairy Farmers of Canada – as always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting my sponsors and allowing me to continue creating recipes like this baked Camembert with sun dried tomatoes and red pepper jelly!

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Pasta with Salmon and Asparagus http://www.livinglou.com/2017/06/pasta-with-salmon-and-asparagus.html http://www.livinglou.com/2017/06/pasta-with-salmon-and-asparagus.html#comments Sun, 18 Jun 2017 21:46:28 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=9977 A delicious pasta with salmon and asparagus in a creamy rose sauce topped with Parmesan. I love to go to restaurants and try all sorts of dishes as research, analyzing each bite for flavours and textures. You never know when you might pick up on something, whether it be an ingredient or flavour combination that will [...]

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A delicious pasta with salmon and asparagus in a creamy rose sauce topped with Parmesan.

Pasta with salmon and asparagus in a creamy rose sauce. | livinglou.com

I love to go to restaurants and try all sorts of dishes as research, analyzing each bite for flavours and textures. You never know when you might pick up on something, whether it be an ingredient or flavour combination that will eventually make it into my kitchen and then the pages of this food blog. Every now and then during my research (it’s pretty fabulous research, is it not?) I find that I’ll have a meal that is so impeccable, you can’t help but dream about it. This homemade pasta is an example of one of those special meals.

And now that I’ve fallen in love with my Philips Pasta Maker (see my recipe for homemade pasta with chicken and fresh herbs,) I knew it was the perfect time to recreate this pasta recipe.

How to make rigatoni pasta in the Philips Pasta Maker. | livinglou.com

This pasta with salmon and asparagus is an example of one of those dishes that was sparked by a meal I had at a well-loved restaurant in Toronto called Sotto Sotto. It was a house-made pasta with a creamy rose sauce, local Ontario asparagus and bites of perfectly cooked salmon woven throughout the dish. Oh my gosh, was this dish ever delicious!

I wanted to try out one of the shaping discs (the Philips Pasta Maker comes with multiple discs for lasagna, spaghetti and short shapes like rigatoni and penne, which can be stored within the smart storage space at the bottom of the machine). And for this this creamy pasta, I opted for my favourite shape, rigatoni.

How to make rigatoni pasta in the Philips Pasta Maker. | livinglou.com

It starts by adding the flour to the machine and then slowly pouring in the liquid (water + egg). Once the three ingredients are added, the machine does all the work! Within three minutes, you’ll see pasta coming out of the machine, and all you have to do is cut the noodles to your desired length. It took me a couple of snips to get the perfect length, but before I knew it (literally within 15 minutes), I had a pound of fresh pasta cooking on my stovetop.

I like to start a pot of water (and don’t forget to add salt to flavour the pasta) on the stovetop before I start making the pasta. That way it’s ready to go right when my pasta is.

Pasta with salmon and asparagus in a creamy rose sauce. | livinglou.com

I love how homemade pasta has that rustic, homey vibe–it reminds me of the endless bowls of pasta I enjoyed in Italy last summer. June is actually Italian Heritage Month – a celebration of all things Italian in Canada – which seems like the perfect reason to whip up a quick batch of homemade pasta.

Let me know if you give this pasta with salmon and asparagus a try in the comments below!

Yields 4 servings

Pasta with Salmon and Asparagus

20 minPrep Time

40 minCook Time

1 hrTotal Time

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5 based on 1 review(s)

Recipe Image

Ingredients

    For homemade pasta:
  • 500g all-purpose flour
  • 190g liquid (2 eggs + water), whisked together
  • salt
  • For sauce:
  • 3 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 lb of asparagus, cut into 1” pieces
  • 340g salmon filet, skin removed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 796-mL can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups 10% cream
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Parmesan and basil for serving

Instructions

  1. 1. Open lid and add flour Close lid and turn on appliance. Select program 2 and press start. Once machine is running, slowly pour in liquid through opening on lid. Pasta will appear after approximately 3 minutes. Cut to desired length and toss with a small amount of flour. Cook in a large pot of salted water for 10-12 minutes.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat 1 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add asparagus, season with ¼ tsp of salt. Cook, stirring until asparagus is bright green and tender-crisp, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from pan and set asparagus aside.
  3. 3. Add another tbsp. of butter, season salmon with ¼ tsp of salt, add salmon, and cook for 4 minutes, flip and cook another 3 to 5 minutes or until light pink throughout. Remove from pan and set aside, flake with a fork.
  4. 4. Add remaining butter to pan with garlic and tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently for 30 seconds to one minute. Add crushed tomatoes, and remaining ½ tsp of salt. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook stirring occasionally for 15 minutes. Stir in cream, fresh basil and sugar.
  5. 5. Add pasta, asparagus and salmon to pan with sauce. Serve with additional basil and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
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 Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Philips Canada– as always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting my sponsors and allowing me to continue creating recipes like this pasta with salmon and asparagus.

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Greek Chicken Souvlaki http://www.livinglou.com/2017/06/greek-chicken-souvlaki-recipe.html http://www.livinglou.com/2017/06/greek-chicken-souvlaki-recipe.html#comments Tue, 13 Jun 2017 09:00:39 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=9954 An authentic recipe for juicy Greek chicken souvlaki with olive oil, garlic, oregano and lemon juice.  If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that I grew up spending my summers in Greece. And while there are so many wonderful things I can say about the beaches, and the pastel-hued houses that colour the [...]

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An authentic recipe for juicy Greek chicken souvlaki with olive oil, garlic, oregano and lemon juice. 

An authentic recipe for juicy Greek chicken souvlaki with garlic and lemon juice. | livinglou.com

If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that I grew up spending my summers in Greece. And while there are so many wonderful things I can say about the beaches, and the pastel-hued houses that colour the landscape, and the crystal clear blue sea, what I really want to talk about today is the food. The first recipes I ever developed for the magazine I used to work at was an entire appetizer platter of Greek recipes, it’s a style of cooking that I would definitely say is right within my comfort zone.

What I love about Greek cuisine is that for the most part, it’s incredibly simple, but so flavourful. It basically encompasses my entire philosophy around food; simple, fresh and flavourful. Over there, local produce is plentiful and everything is just bursting with flavour.

Serve this with: Tzatziki sauce

An authentic recipe for juicy Greek chicken souvlaki with garlic and lemon juice. | livinglou.com

When we would be in Greece in the summers, my mom would do most of the cooking, but those times when we would go out for dinner or order in takeout from a local, family-run takeout restaurant in our village (the food was delivered via motorbike and you could always hear them coming from a mile away). It was this tiny restaurant called Obelix and they make the best chicken souvlaki and gyros. This Greek-style chicken souvlaki is inspired by this tiny, hole-in-the-wall restaurant and while it took me a while to perfect this recipe, I’ve finally figured out how to make an authentic Greek souvlaki.

I always make this with a classic tzatziki sauce and a hortiatiki (which is how you say Greek salad in Greek). And while I won’t be going to Greece this summer, I’m still able to enjoy the flavours of the cuisine at home and am hoping to really nail down a few more of my favourite recipes this summer.

An authentic recipe for juicy Greek chicken souvlaki with garlic and lemon juice. | livinglou.com

This recipe starts with a simple marinade for the chicken, a combination of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, oregano and garlic powder. I opt to use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic here because when grilling, garlic tends to burn which would give this dish a bitter taste. You could also switch out the dried oregano for dried thyme, as those herbs are pretty interchangeable in many Greek recipes.

If you love these flavours as much as I do, you should also try my Greek grilled chicken wings–you won’t be disappointed!

Yields 6 regular or 12 small skewers

Chicken Souvlaki

30 minPrep Time

10 minCook Time

40 minTotal Time

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5 based on 2 review(s)

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Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into 1-1/2" pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Instructions

  1. In a glass bowl, whisk olive oil with lemon juice, oregano, salt and garlic powder. Add chicken, cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat and soak wooden skewers for 20 minutes. Thread chicken onto skewers.Grill, covered, for 4-5 minutes per side. Serve with lemon wedges and tzatziki sauce.
Cuisine: Greek |
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Let me know if you give this chicken souvlaki recipe a try in the comments below.

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Pasta with Chicken and Fresh Herbs http://www.livinglou.com/2017/06/pasta-with-chicken-and-fresh-herbs.html http://www.livinglou.com/2017/06/pasta-with-chicken-and-fresh-herbs.html#comments Wed, 07 Jun 2017 09:00:17 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=9931 Homemade pasta is possible in just 15-minutes with the Philips Pasta Maker. Try this quick recipe for pasta with chicken and fresh herbs! Last summer, I headed to the Amalfi Coast with my sister, and other than the beautiful views and charming coastal towns, I was most excited about homemade, fresh pasta. It’s synonymous with Italy, [...]

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Homemade pasta is possible in just 15-minutes with the Philips Pasta Maker. Try this quick recipe for pasta with chicken and fresh herbs!

A quick dinner recipe for pasta with chicken and fresh herbs. | livinglou.com

Last summer, I headed to the Amalfi Coast with my sister, and other than the beautiful views and charming coastal towns, I was most excited about homemade, fresh pasta. It’s synonymous with Italy, is it not? This was my first time in Italy and I knew that I would be eating 99% pasta and I was 100% ready for it.

Homemade pasta is something I’ve dabbled in over the years, and I think most foodies or passionate home cooks would say the same.

The first time I made homemade pasta was when I was about twelve years old. We rolled the pasta by hand and made these little rustic pieces, and it took forever. After that first foray into homemade pasta, I’ve continued to play around with it, but it always just ended up being too much work. Then I tried the Philips Pasta Maker and now all of my homemade pasta dreams are a reality.

How to make homemade pasta in the Philips Pasta Maker in just 15-minutes. | livinglou.com

I am so excited about this appliance. It makes one pound of pasta in 15 minutes. Literally. It’s basically any pasta-lover’s dream because there are endless, customizable pasta-making possibilities. I’ve been playing around with this machine for the past couple of weeks, and I am completely smitten. You could say that I’ve reverted to my Italy-vacation vibes and consuming 99% pasta.

What I love about the Pasta Maker is that it makes pasta in the amount of time it takes to boil your water and prep your ingredients. (Especially for this incredibly quick and easy pasta with chicken, fresh basil and parsley, if you’re wondering.) It begins with adding the flour to the machine, followed by the liquid (water + egg). Then all you do is choose your setting (there are two choices, pasta for 1-2 servings or 3-4 servings) and turn it on. 

How to make homemade pasta in the Philips Pasta Maker in just 15-minutes. | livinglou.com

Within three minutes, there will be noodles coming out of the machine! They come quickly, so I like to stand by with a pair of scissors to cut them to my desired length. It comes with all of the homemade pasta recipes you could dream of, be sure you have a scale because the recipes are measured in grams.

For this recipe, I wanted to showcase the pasta with a light and fresh recipe highlighting my favourite summer ingredient–fresh herbs! I was inspired by a bunch of basil and fresh parsley I had in my fridge. With some chicken, a little garlic and Parmesan cheese, you have the easiest dinner on the planet.

A quick dinner recipe for pasta with chicken and fresh herbs. | livinglou.com

I know, ‘homemade pasta’ and ‘the easiest dinner on the planet’ don’t usually go together but in this case they do! This machine truly makes homemade pasta something that can be done on a weeknight, and trust me, I know how tired you can be after a 10-hour day at work. 

Yields Serves 4

Pasta with Chicken and Fresh Herbs

20 minPrep Time

15 minCook Time

35 minTotal Time

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5 based on 1 review(s)

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Ingredients

    For homemade pasta:
  • 500g all-purpose flour
  • 190g liquid (2 eggs + water), whisked together
  • salt + 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • For pasta:
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Open lid and add flour. Close lid and turn on appliance. Select program 2 and press start. Once machine is running, slowly pour in liquid through opening on lid. Pasta will appear after approximately 3 minutes. Cut into desired length and toss with a small amount of flour. Cook in a large pot of salted water for 4-5 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water before draining.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Season chicken with salt and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Set aside.
  3. Add remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil and garlic, cook for 30-seconds to 1-minute. Add pasta, cooking water, fresh herbs, Parmesan cheese and lemon juice . Toss to coat, serve with freshly cracked pepper and additional cheese.
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 Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Philips – as always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting my sponsors and allowing me to continue creating recipes like this pasta with chicken and fresh herbs.

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Tiramisu Pudding Parfaits http://www.livinglou.com/2017/05/tiramisu-pudding-parfaits.html http://www.livinglou.com/2017/05/tiramisu-pudding-parfaits.html#comments Fri, 26 May 2017 08:00:06 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=9914 Tiramisu pudding parfaits are the perfect quick dessert with coffee whipped cream, lady finger cookies and chocolate pudding.  As much as I love to eat really complicated and intricate desserts, I find that I don’t usually have a reason to make those kinds of desserts or a lot of time to put into them. So, I tend [...]

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Tiramisu pudding parfaits are the perfect quick dessert with coffee whipped cream, lady finger cookies and chocolate pudding. 

Tiramisu pudding parfaits are the perfect quick dessert with coffee whipped cream, lady finger cookies and chocolate pudding. | livinglou.com

As much as I love to eat really complicated and intricate desserts, I find that I don’t usually have a reason to make those kinds of desserts or a lot of time to put into them. So, I tend to go for the easy, 20-minute sort of desserts that look like they took a lot more time and effort. I think that this is probably a little more realistic for most of us. Right?

Growing up, we didn’t have desserts after every meal; they were saved for special occasions, holidays or just as a little surprise treat. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved chocolate desserts, and chocolate pudding was one of my absolute favourites. It’s been years since I had chocolate pudding, but it’s one of those treats that is so nostalgic for me.

Tiramisu pudding parfaits are the perfect quick dessert with coffee whipped cream, lady finger cookies and chocolate pudding. | livinglou.com

Nostalgia, it coats memories and moments with a rosy-coloured lens. Along with smells, I think food is one of those things that is really nostalgic for people. I wrote about quiche and how it reminds me university, popcorn reminds me of going to movies with my mom as we checked off all of the Oscar-nominated movies on our list, and chocolate pudding reminds me of opening my lunch in elementary school to find my favourite snack.

These tiramisu pudding parfaits were inspired by mixing together my current favourite dessert (tiramisu) and my childhood favourite, chocolate pudding. It’s a deconstructed dessert; lady finger crumbs make up the base, and then it’s topped with a scoop of a high quality pudding (I’m really excited about these new HERSHEY Pudding Cups), a scoop of homemade coffee whipped cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce and then topped with one last lady finger cookie

Tiramisu pudding parfaits are the perfect quick dessert with coffee whipped cream, lady finger cookies and chocolate pudding. | livinglou.com

If you want to try these new pudding cups, you can find them in the refrigerated dessert aisle at your grocery store (and you can even use this coupon for a better deal). They also have a new S’mores flavour which is equally as delicious!

Yields 8 mini desserts

Tiramisu Pudding Parfaits

20 minPrep Time

20 minTotal Time

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5 based on 1 review(s)

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup + 2 tsp heavy cream, divided
  • 2 tsp instant coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 6 lady fingers, crumbled
  • 2 HERSHEY Chocolate Pudding Cups
  • chocolate sauce for drizzling
  • Extra lady fingers for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk instant coffee with 2 tsp of heavy cream. Whisk until instant coffee is dissolved.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat coffee-cream mixture with remaining cream and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add in powdered sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  3. To assemble, divide crumbled lady finger cookies into 8 miniature martini glasses or ramekins. Top with one heaping tbsp of HERSEY chocolate pudding and 1 tbsp of coffee whipped cream. Top with powdered sugar and drizzle with chocolate. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by KraftHeinz Canada – as always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting my sponsors and allowing me to continue creating recipes like these tiramisu pudding parfaits. 

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Strawberry Spinach Salad with Light Poppy Seed Dressing http://www.livinglou.com/2017/05/strawberry-spinach-salad-with-light-poppy-seed-dressing.html http://www.livinglou.com/2017/05/strawberry-spinach-salad-with-light-poppy-seed-dressing.html#respond Mon, 22 May 2017 01:45:14 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=9893 Strawberry spinach salad with almonds, arugula and a homemade poppy seed dressing with fresh thyme. Sometimes all you need is a big salad, and other times all you need is a bucket of fried chicken, it depends on the circumstances. Based on my most recent posts, you can tell that I’ve been on a bit of [...]

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Strawberry spinach salad with almonds, arugula and a homemade poppy seed dressing with fresh thyme.

Strawberry spinach salad with almonds, arugula and a homemade poppy seed dressing with fresh thyme. | livinglou.com

Sometimes all you need is a big salad, and other times all you need is a bucket of fried chicken, it depends on the circumstances. Based on my most recent posts, you can tell that I’ve been on a bit of a salad kick. Hence the two salad recipes in a row (I posted my chopped salad with blue cheese vinaigrette last week). I think it’s the warmer weather and just the fact that a salad is a pretty mindless and simple dish to throw together.

Plus, is it just me or do you always feel better about yourself after eating a salad?

Strawberry spinach salad with almonds, arugula and a homemade poppy seed dressing with fresh thyme. | livinglou.com

My life has been a little all over the place recently. As always, some good and some bad. But that’s how it usually goes, doesn’t it? The good stuff is that things have been ramping up with my blog, which is always exciting! I have a few fun things in the works this summer and fall. Another fun thing? I just moved into my first apartment!

I have almost finished moving in all my things, so I’ll share more about that next time. I don’t like to write about any of the not-so-great things, but I know we all agree that life isn’t easy and is full of things that are completely out of our control.

Strawberry spinach salad with almonds, arugula and a homemade poppy seed dressing with fresh thyme. | livinglou.com

I’m the kind of person who loves to be busy, and I find that for me, working and keeping busy has always been the best way to work through anything. It’s nice to have something to focus on and put your energy towards. I remember in my fourth year of university, I was really struggling with a couple of really hard things. Having my thesis to write was such a healthy project for me to focus on.

Another good thing on the horizon is the summer and warm weather. We had a bit of a rainy weekend here in TO, but this bright and fresh salad is the perfect way to start your week. Sweet strawberries, peppery arugula and tangy goat cheese. Plus a lightened up poppy seed dressing with fresh thyme. Can you ask for a better salad? I don’t think so!

Strawberry spinach salad with almonds, arugula and a homemade poppy seed dressing with fresh thyme. | livinglou.com

I made this poppy seed dressing a couple of months ago and then turned it into this strawberry spinach salad for our Easter dinner, and I’m so happy to finally be sharing it here. With local strawberries about to hit the market soon, this is the salad you should be making in June.

Yields 4 servings

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Light Poppy Seed Dressing

15 minPrep Time

15 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

    For poppy seed dressing:
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • For salad:
  • 1/2-312g / 11oz pkg. baby spinach
  • 1/2-312g /11oz pkg. arugula
  • 1lb/454 g strawberries, quartered
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk vinegar with sugar until dissolved. Whisk in mayonnaise, Dijon and salt. In a steady stream pour in olive oil while continuously whisking, to emulsify the dressing. Stir in poppy seeds and thyme.
  2. In a large bowl, toss spinach with arugula, strawberries, almonds and goat cheese.
  3. Top with desired amount of dressing and serve.
  4. Cover and refrigerate remaining dressing.
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Let me know if you give this strawberry spinach salad with poppy seed dressing a try.

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