Living Lou + cooking through my twenties Thu, 26 Feb 2015 21:04:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Grilling Class at the Weber Grill Academy Thu, 26 Feb 2015 10:00:59 +0000

grilling class at the weber grill academy

I think one of the things that I love the most about cooking (besides actually eating) is that there is always something to learn. And I’m the kind of person who, as lame as it sounds, really loves learning new things. I’m graduating in April, so I’ve been thinking a lot about how in just a couple of months, for the first time, my “most important job” will no longer be going to school. I won’t be in a 24/7 learning environment. But I quickly realized how wrong I was in my thinking, just because I won’t be in a classroom environment anymore, doesn’t mean I won’t be learning all the time. Not only is every single day filled with new lessons, but there are so many other ways to continue learning. A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to try a grilling class at the Weber Grill Academy, which was the perfect opportunity to learn more about grilling.

weber way

This class came at the perfect time as I have started thinking about new summer grilling recipes to post this year. Not only do I have a ton of new, exciting ideas, but I also have more knowledge and tips that I’ll be able to share with you. The class was run by Chef Michael P. Clive, who is just a wealth of knowledge. He made grilling into such an approachable thing (I’ll admit that I have been intimidated by grilling before)! We cooked six different dishes all using the grill, but I think the best part was getting to eat them all at the end. My favourite was definitely the cedar planked salmon – I can’t wait to try this once the weather warms up a bit. I never knew that you had to burn the cedar plank before cooking the salmon, it adds even more flavour to the fish.

Now that we’re in the depths of February, I can’t think of a better pick-me-up than taking a grilling class. It will give you a little taste of summer to tide you over. If you’re in or around the Toronto area, check out their website here for more info on their classes.

If you’re looking for some grilling recipes, here are five of my favourites from the Living Lou archives.

Chili Lime Chicken Skewers

Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables

Cocoa and Chili Rubbed Pork

Barbecued Salmon

Baked Sweet Potatoes on the barbecue

Disclosure: I was invited by Weber-Stephen Canada Co. to attend the Weber Grill Academy grilling class and was gifted a Q1200 grill. The decision to write about my experience was completely my own and I was not compensated in any way for this post. All opinions expressed are my own. 

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Cinnamon Chili Roasted Sweet Potatoes Mon, 23 Feb 2015 15:14:10 +0000

cinnamon chili roasted sweet potatoes

I’m having a moment with these cinnamon chili roasted sweet potatoes. I’m also having a moment with the show Six Feet Under. I know these things are complete unrelated, but it’s happening. These sweet potatoes check all the “boxes” for me. Perfect side dish? Check. Perfect snack? Check. Healthy? Check. Superfood? Check. Flavourful? Check. Easy? Check. Check. Check.

Cinnamon and Chili Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Can we talk about how good Six Feet Under is? Woah. It aired in 2001, when I was 8, so I missed it during its original run. But I’ve been watching it for the past month or so and am completely addicted. Not only is the show amazing, but it’s also so much fun to see all the old technology. One of the characters has the same cellphone my Dad had, and I had forgotten how big desktop computers once were. The only relation between these roasted sweet potatoes and Six Feet Under is that I will mindlessly eat these while bingeing on a few episodes. It’s better than snacking on chips, right?

With this awful cold weather we’ve had in Toronto recently, I’ve been spending lots of time inside watching shows and working on new recipes which has resulted in these delicious cinnamon and chili roasted sweet potatoes.

Cinnamon Chili Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 4 cups diced sweet potatoes (4-6 sweet potatoes, depending on size)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. In a large bowl, toss diced sweet potatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle with spices, tossing to coat.
  3. Arrange, in one layer, on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, tossing sweet potatoes halfway through.


Recipe by Louisa Clements

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Maple Walnut Cookies Mon, 16 Feb 2015 12:52:45 +0000

maple walnut cookies

I can’t be the only one craving cookies like crazy these days, can I? These maple walnut cookies are an old favourite of mine, and I think they will quickly become a favourite of yours too. I actually created this cookie recipe about three years ago, and my best friend just reminded me about them over the holidays. You know you develop too many recipes when you forget about an absolutely delicious and perfect maple walnut cookie. These cookies are sweetened with brown sugar and maple syrup, the chopped walnuts add some crunch and there is a little bit of unsweetened coconut in here to give them that extra little “je ne sais quoi”.

It’s been so cold the past couple of weeks that all I’ve been wanting to do is bake and eat whatever treats I have made. I’ve been making a ton of granola (a new recipe will be coming your way soon) and of course, indulging in some cookies. It took me a while to decide what I would make for this post, but in the end, I felt like no one would complain about a chewy and sweet cookie at a baby shower. Right? It’s time for another celebration, and today we’re celebrating Jan from Family Bites because she’s having a baby! I always love participating in these virtual baby showers for friends, but I never know what I should “bring” to these showers

maple walnut cookies

We’ve got such a wonderful, talented community of bloggers up here in the great white north, and we’ve all come together to celebrate Jan and her new baby boy! Be sure to check out all of the other posts which are linked at the bottom of this post.

Maple Walnut Cookies

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Yield: 32 cookies


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add egg, maple syrup and vanilla to butter and sugar and continue mixing.
  5. In two additions, add in flour, baking powder and salt.
  6. Stir in chopped walnuts and coconut.
  7. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop onto baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

 A Canadian Virtual Baby Shower

We’re celebrating Jan of Family Bites today and the impending arrival of her baby boy!

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Crispy Chili Baked Shrimp Thu, 12 Feb 2015 16:14:27 +0000

crispy baked chili shrimp

I’ve been dreaming up these crispy baked chili shrimp for years. These shrimp are loosely inspired by the most delicious crispy shrimp at my favourite sushi spot in Toronto, but I’ve got a very simple “at-home” version for you today. The dish that inspired these isn’t made with chili and lime, but it was what I was craving at the time, and this is my blog, so voila!

I seem to have acquired this strange writing block; whenever I sit down to write a blog post, I end up sitting here for a couple of hours just thinking about what I’m going to write instead of actually writing it. It’s completely counter-productive and it is driving me crazy. I think this is something that has developed as I’ve gone along on this blogging journey. I used to be able to bang out a post in 20 minutes, not because I was writing crappy posts, but because it came a bit easier back then. But I think that as I’ve begun to share more parts of myself on here and realized that you or him or her is out there reading, there is just a little bit more pressure. 

I’m on reading week next week, and I’m going to try and write my way through this block. Not sure how that’s going to go, but I will report back. In the meantime, this simple crispy chili baked shrimp is ready for you!

Crispy Chili Baked Shrimp

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 27 minutes

Yield: 20 shrimp


  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 20 raw shrimp, peeled and tails intact (about 300g)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 lime for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 475F. Grease a baking sheet with 1 tbsp olive oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, set aside flour. In another medium bowl, whisk together eggs and salt. Finally, in the last medium bowl combine panko, chili powder and smoked paprika.
  3. Bread shrimp: Toss in flour. Then, with 3 or 4 shrimp at a time, shake off the excess flour. Coat with egg, shaking off the excess and dredge in panko. Transfer to baking sheet.
  4. Brush shrimp with remaining tbsp. of olive oil.
  5. Bake for 12 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
  6. Sprinkle with lime juice and serve.


Recipe by Louisa Clements

These crispy shrimp would make a great main for dinner (I think kids would especially like them) but you could also serve them as an appetizer.

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5 Ingredient Miso Salmon Baked in Parchment Tue, 03 Feb 2015 10:00:47 +0000

5 ingredient miso salmon baked in parchment

I’m always trying to come up with new healthy and simple recipes for all of you guys, and this recipe for miso salmon baked in parchment fits the bill. It’s made with just 5 ingredients, and with salmon, snow peas and ginger in here, I think it’s pretty good for you. I could just eat one of these parcels as a meal, but if you want a little starch also, I recommend going for brown rice to keep this on the healthy side.

Well the first month of 2015 is over. January felt like a marathon. But we made it! I only shared four recipes in January, but I think this pace is a little more sustainable for me at the moment. You can only burn the candle from both ends for so long. I’m focusing my time in 2015 on doing things that make me happy. And trying to be more conscious about these choices. It’s so easy to get caught up saying “Yes!” to everything, and before you know it, your life is filled with all of these obligations that you aren’t really interested in. All they end up doing is making work pile up which results in an exhausting cycle of stress. I got really good at that. Almost too good that I tricked myself into thinking that this was a good thing. Woops. Not quite. So, I’m realizing that it’s time to be more selective with my time, I’m choosing to focus on the word “choice” for February. I’ll keep you updated.

In the meantime, I suggest you choose to give this recipe for miso salmon baked in parchment a try.

5 Ingredient Miso Salmon Baked in Parchment

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 22 minutes


  • 4 6-8oz salmon fillets
  • 8oz/226g snow peas
  • 2 tbsp white miso paste
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Fold four large pieces of parchment paper in half to crease them. Open, and lay them flat.
  3. On one side of crease, mound 2 oz of snow peas. Place salmon on top. Repeat with three additional pieces of parchment and remaining salmon and snow peas.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together miso, soy sauce and ginger.
  5. Drizzle 1 tbsp of miso mixture over each salmon.
  6. Fold parchment over salmon and scrunch the sides together to create a packet.
  7. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until salmon is opaque throughout, 18-22 minutes.


Recipe by Louisa Clements

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Sticky Tandoori Spiced Chicken Wings Tue, 27 Jan 2015 10:00:36 +0000

Sticky Tandoori Spiced Chicken Wings

I’m not going to pretend for a second that I am remotely interested in the Superbowl or football in general. Because I’m not. Sorry to disappoint. Hockey is more of my thing. But, it’s almost time for the big game and the world is currently exploding with chicken wings. Naturally I’ve had some serious cravings, which resulted in my newest obsession. And trust me, you’ll thank me later for these: Sticky Tandoori Spiced Chicken Wings. If you ask any of my friends, they will back me up 100% when I say that I am addicted to chicken wings. Whenever we find ourselves at our local neighbourhood pub, I order wings. Whether it’s half-priced wings night or not. I have zero self control when it comes to chicken wings.

Tandoor Spiced Chicken Wings

These chicken wings require two steps. First there is a dry rub, followed by roasting for 40 minutes. Then there is the sticky, honey tandoori sauce that you toss them in at the end. Do not skip either step, I repeat, do not skip either step. I tried a new method with these chicken wings which is tossing them in baking powder to create a bit of a crispy crust. These wings are not exactly the same as their deep-fried counterpart, but I think for oven baked wings, these are pretty close to perfect.

Sticky Tandoori Spiced Chicken Wings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 2 lbs chicken wings
  • 2 tbsp tandoori masala powder
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more to taste)
  • For sauce:
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp tandoori masala
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top of foil.
  2. In a large bowl, toss chicken wings with tandoori masala, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper.
  3. Arrange chicken wings on rack. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes.
  4. In a small pot, whisk together all ingredients for sauce. Heat over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, whisking constantly for 30 seconds. Remove from heat immediately.
  5. In a large bowl, toss cooked chicken wings in the sauce. Serve immediately.


Recipe by Louisa Clements

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Curried Homemade Hummus Thu, 22 Jan 2015 10:00:49 +0000

curried homemade hummus

I’ve started this new thing in 2015 where instead of buying hummus every week, I make it. Imagine that, friends! It’s a whole new world! One with endless possibilities. This week’s possibility is in the form of curried homemade hummus.

Do you ever have one of those days where everything just seems to go wrong? So much so that the whole day just seems like a bit of a joke? I had one of those days last week. It all happened in the span of a few hours. First it started out with an epic recipe fail, which is par for course in this food blogging thing. Then there was an incredible amount of traffic on the always lovely 401, which made me late for class (while I am chronically late for any social engagement, I’m always on time for class). Then, I sat in a chair that was already taken and had to awkwardly find a new seat. To top it all off, I not-so-subtly spilled my coffee all over the floor and my purse. Woops. Did I mention this was at 4pm on a Friday? I could have been annoyed by all these little things, but I didn’t have control over any of them, so I just found it to be pretty hilarious. That’s something that I’m fully embracing in 2015, just moving on and past all of the things I can’t control (of which there are many). It makes life so much easier.

Curried Homemade Hummus

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 cups


  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp water


  1. In a food processor, puree tahini, lemon juice and garlic.
  2. Add chickpeas, olive oil, spices and salt and puree. It will be slightly chunky, add in water in a steady stream. Continue to puree until desired consistency.


Recipe by Louisa Clements

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Slow Cooker Balsamic Jalapeno Chicken Legs Thu, 15 Jan 2015 11:00:54 +0000

slow cooker balsamic jalapeno chicken legs

I’m really not kidding when I say that I love my slow cooker. When it comes to a slow cooker, it’s usually safe to assume that if you’re following a good recipe, things will go according to plan. And if you can rely on one thing in this unpredictable life thing we’re all doing, it’s knowing that with 10 minutes of prep in the morning you can come home to dinner that’s ready to go. And when I say ready to go, I mean you can literally stand over your kitchen counter and eat these chicken legs right out of the slow cooker. Which I have done before, on a few occasions.

slow cooker balsamic jalapeno chicken legs

This recipe was inspired by a roast chicken my Dad has perfected over the years, I credit him with the balsamic and jalapeno combination we have going on here. The sweetness from the balsamic really balances the kick from the jalapenos. And it creates the most delicious gravy imaginable. Just serve these balsamic jalapeno chicken legs with some rice or quinoa and broccoli and you’ve got yourself the easiest weeknight supper you can dream of.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Jalapeno Chicken Legs

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 4-5 servings


  • 10 skin-on chicken legs
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup water or chicken broth


  1. Arrange chicken legs in 1 layer in a slow cooker.
  2. Whisk together jalapeno, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, thyme, mustard, honey and salt.
  3. Pour balsamic mixture overtop of chicken legs.
  4. Add 1/4 cup of water or chicken broth.
  5. Cook on high for 4 hours.


Reserve liquid from slow cooker to use as a gravy Recipe by Louisa Clements

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Smoky Chicken Chili Fri, 09 Jan 2015 11:00:32 +0000

smoky chicken chili

I feel like it’s been forever since I shared a new recipe here. This smoky chicken chili is a recipe I was working on a couple of months ago but I feel like with this cold weather snap we’ve had in Toronto, it’s the perfect recipe to make this weekend. The smokiness comes from chipotle chili peppers and I’ve used some sweet potato to balance out the flavour. You see, my kitchen was pretty quiet over the holidays, but I’m slowly getting back in the swing of things. As you all know, 2015 is chugging along. And life, as always, is chugging along as well. I’ve had things on pause, or some kind of slow-motion over the past little while, but as Stephen Chbosky wrote in The Perks of Being A Wallflower (one of my favourite books) “Life doesn’t stop for anybody.” Boom. So true.

Classes are starting up again. Classes for my last semester of university. I can’t believe it. It’s been a journey, with its fair share of ups and downs, and I know this semester will be no different. It took a while, but right now, I’m at a place in my life where I am ready to be done and I’m ready to close that undergraduate chapter. If you would have asked me this question two months ago, my answer would have been completely different. But I am starting to feel this new, excited energy about things, which I didn’t have before. Maybe it’s because I keep repeating my mantra for 2015 to myself “Just do the next right thing.” You should give it a try, it makes things, changes, struggles a little bit easier, simpler and less overwhelming.

Smoky Chicken Chili

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeños
  • 1/4 cup chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 4 chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups diced sweet potatoes
  • 1 19oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups chicken broth


  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, saute until softened, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, spices and salt. Cook another minute or until fragrant.
  4. Add pickled jalapenos and chipotle peppers. Stir another minute.
  5. Add diced chicken, cook for 4-5 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
  6. Add diced tomatoes, sweet potatoes, black beans and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, partially cover for 18-20 minutes.


Recipe by Louisa Clements


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Recipes & Reflections: 2014 Fri, 02 Jan 2015 11:00:12 +0000

recipes & reflections of 2014

I was going to skip doing one of these “best of” posts for 2014, but it just didn’t feel right. I love looking back at my best of posts from 20112012 and 2013 so I knew I had to get this one out there.  I haven’t really flexed my writing muscle in some time, so sitting down to write this post has been a bit more challenging than usual. 2014 was a year that was absolutely packed, packed with both extraordinarily incredible moments and the complete, absolute opposite. The only way I can think to sum it all up is that this been a year of learning for me. Learning to be more present in my life and with the people I love, learning to let go of things I can’t control, learning to accept that we are all works in progress. I can’t say that I’ve really mastered any of these things, but I’m working on it. And while this isn’t an easy process, I like to think back to where I was at this time last year, and look at how much I’ve grown. Yes, I accomplished many of the goals I set for myself, but I’m kind of realizing that achieving all of these things isn’t everything. In fact I kind of want to tear up the list I made for 2015, and just let things happen as they do. Focus more on moments and happiness, because I’ve realized that while achievements can make you happy, it’s only for a second and then there is something else. Goals are good, but they aren’t everything.

2014 was a big year for Living Lou, I shared a ton of new recipes and worked with some of the most wonderful brands. I’m always trying to create content and recipes that you will enjoy, so I hope I succeeded in that. As always, I’ve rounded up the  Top 10 Recipes of 2014 according to my Google analytics. Did your favourites make the list?


10. Coleslaw This is an old recipe from 2011 but this is the first time it has ever appeared in my Top 10! I love this recipe because it was my Nana’s recipe and it always reminds me of her when I make it.

perfectly roasted chicken thighs

9. Perfectly Roasted Chicken Thighs are one of my favourite weeknight suppers and clearly one of yours too! There is nothing simpler or more delicious than these perfectly roasted chicken thighs.

white balsamic vinaigrette

8. White Balsamic Vinaigrette has been a favourite recipe for a couple of years. I love that there are so many people interested in making their own salad dressings. Expect to see lots more recipes for homemade salad dressings in 2015.


7. Royal Wedding Brunch Punch this one was a huge surprise! This recipe didn’t ever really get much attention until recently, but it is a perfect non-alcoholic option for entertaining.

baked potato on the bbq

6. Baked Potatoes on the Barbecue were higher up on the list last year, but remain to be a favourite! I can’t blame you, they are the perfect barbecue side dish.

slow cooker shredded chicken tacos

5. Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Tacos are always a favourite recipe. There is something so simple about making tacos in a slow cooker.

moroccan chicken soup

4. Moroccan Chicken Soup oh how I love Moroccan flavours, and so do all of you. This recipe was inspired by a delicious soup I had for lunch one day and I continue to make it often.

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken Stew

3. Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken Stew is one of my favourite recipes from 2014. I love exploring the depth of flavour found in Moroccan food. There will be lots more of this in 2015.

homemade vanilla cupcakes

2. Easiest Homemade Cupcakes in the World are a crowd favourite and have consistently been in the top two for years now!

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

1. Slow Cooker Butter Chicken I was so surprised by how much love this recipe got in 2014. It’s one of my favourites!

2014 collage

I’m excited to see how all of this evolves in 2015. This is a big year for me. The year I will graduate university. The year I turn 22. The year I head off into the complete unknown. It’s scary. But taking things one step at a time. And stepping back to remind myself of my favourite mantra these days “Do the next right thing.” I’ll be back with a new recipe next week.

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