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RECIPE: Herb roasted chicken breast

Roasting the turkey at 325 degrees and allowing it to rest for fifteen minutes ensures that it will be very moist.

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 whole bone-in turkey breast (6½  to 7 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the turkey breast on a rack in a roasting pan, skin side up.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, mustard, rosemary, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. Rub the mixture evenly all over the skin of the turkey breast. (You can also loosen the skin and smear half of the paste underneath, directly on the meat.) Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Roast the turkey for 1½  to 1 ¾ hours, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read meatthermometer registers 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest and meatiest area of the breast. Check the breast after an hour or so; if the skin is overbrowning, cover it loosely with aluminum foil.

When the turkey is done, remove from the oven, cover the pan with aluminum foil, and allow the turkey to rest atroom temperature for 15 minutes. Slice and serve warm with the pan juices.

 

 

Excerpted from Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? by Ina Garten. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved.

Win inner peace

This is your chance to win a spot in the very exclusive fall Shanti Yoga retreat organized by Cruda Cafe. On October 18-20, expert yoga guide Paula Marin will guide you through a weekend of yoga and meditation designed to bring you inner peace while executive chef Claudia Gaviria cooks you meals that will convert you to the raw food diet. Only eight spots are available for the whole retreat, so don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to win one. Enter today!

Contest Rules & Regulations:
Contestants must reside in Canada (excluding Quebec) to be eligible to win
Contestants must be 18 or older
Contestants are eligible to enter 1x daily (further entries will not be counted)
Contest closes on Wednesday, October 16th, at 12 p.m.

This contest is now closed. Thanks for entering!

RECIPE: Banana bread sandwich

Susan Russom is the author of The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches

A toasty sweet treat!

Two hunks of fresh or toasty grilled banana bread can be sandwiched with sweet ingredients, such as ice cream, grilled bananas, or peanut butter and jelly. Banana bread is a quick bread—a sweet, cakey type made with baking soda instead of yeast—that contains mashed ripe bananas. It is typically flavored with vanilla extract, cinnamon, and chopped nuts. Making banana bread from scratch is easy, but for a truly low-maintenance brunch, a store-bought loaf is your best bet. Thanks to well-known chefs such as Paula Deen, this old-fashioned favorite has been getting a lot of attention as the foundation of a delicious dessert sandwich.

  • Vanilla Spice Cream Cheese
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon pure maple extract
  • 1 loaf banana bread, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 ripe bananas, sliced on the diagonal

1. In a bowl with a mixer, combine cream cheese and cinnamon. Slowly add vanilla, maple syrup, and maple extract, beating until smooth and fluffy. 2. Butter both sides of banana bread slices. Place on a hot griddle and toast 2 minutes per side; set aside. In the same griddle, melt butter, add banana slices, and cook 1 minute per side, or until golden. Sandwich cream cheese mixture and grilled bananas and serve warm.

Makes 4 to 6

Go Bananas!

  • Banana Bread Tea Sandwiches: Cut sandwiches into finger-length pieces.
  • Banana Bread PB&Js: Use banana bread instead of white bread.
  • Banana Bread Elvis: Smother sliced bananas and bacon with peanut butter on grilled banana bread.
  • Banana Bread Ice Cream Sandwiches: Place a scoop or two of ice cream between two slices of grilled banana bread.

 

Excerpted from The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches by Susan Russo Copyright © 2011 by Susan Russo. Excerpted by permission of Quirk Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

 

Honour your hunger

I hate being hungry. I think most people do. It’s a feeling that’s hard to ignore. Sometimes when I’m really, really hungry, I get angry too. (Ever heard of “hangry”?) I try to remember to pack a baggie of almonds everywhere I go so as not to cause bodily harm to others.

Anyone who’s ever been on a diet or tried to lose weight has come up against hunger. Hunger is something you might think you have to control or trick. You can try to control it by eating proper proportions of macronutrients (protein and fat will make you feel full) and by eating at regular intervals. You can try to trick it by drinking a glass of water or distracting yourself by doing chores. Do these strategies work? Maybe for a while. But it’s not easy to fight hunger day in and day out. Perhaps it’s time to step back and take a look at our relationship with hunger.

Firstly, what is hunger? It’s your body telling you something: to eat more. Is that necessarily bad? I can think of two reasons why it would do that. The more obvious one is that you haven’t eaten enough calories to meet its needs. Your body doesn’t like it when you severely under-eat, especially when the demands put on it are high. You’ve probably heard of “starvation mode.” Chronic under-eating will cause your body to lower its metabolic rate in order to hang on to the limited calories you’re putting into it. Hunger is a helpful signal that you’d better eat soon or starvation mode will kick in. It’s okay to skip a meal every now and again but relentless caloric restriction will most definitely do damage to your metabolism, damage that your body might not ever be able to repair.

The less obvious reason why hunger nags at you is that your body is looking for something that’s missing. The issue is not that you’re not getting enough calories; it’s that you’re not getting enough essential vitamins and minerals. (This often happens when people fall into “food ruts” and eat the same foods over and over again. Spinach salad with chicken breast, anyone? Eating a wide array of foods and managing stress are ways of making sure your body has adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Think of it this way: a hungry body is a seeking body. Perhaps we should listen to our bodies’ signals instead of ignoring them. We often treat our bodies like they’re stupid. But they’re always acting in our best interest to help us and doing the best with what we put into them. True hunger is not something to be pushed aside; it’s something we should honour.

 

 

Book review: The Happy Baker

4.6/5 stars

My first impression of The Happy Baker: A Dater’s Guide to Emotional Baking was that it was a very approachable book for a non-baker. Erin Bolger begins with a memorable disclaimer quote that states, “If any of my recipes are low-fat I’m sorry, it was unintentional.”

She has cute names for her baking recipes and beautiful photographs. Some recipe names include ‘Who Needs a Man on Valentine’s Day Biscotti’ and ‘You Can Kiss My Triple Decker Carrot Cake Goodbye’. The names certainly aren’t boring. Erin has separated her book into four distinct chapters. Throughout The Happy Baker, she has chick lit stories followed by a recipe that relates to the story. There are illustrations of her and her past dates or boyfriends relating to the story. The stories cover speed dating, breakups over text or e-mail, the first kiss, and many more. Erin’s personality shines through.

In order to fairly evaluate The Happy Baker, I had to get into the kitchen and bake. Her recipes are easy and most of the ingredients are found in your home (you may have to buy one or two ingredients). I decided to make ‘Erin’s Go-To Cookie’, ‘Goodbye Men, Hello Dolly Squares’ and ‘My Eggs Are Not Getting Any Younger Crème Brûlée’. Each of the recipes that I made provided me with a large quantity so the time and the effort are well worth it.

The crème brûlée was rich and creamy. The cookies and dolly squares were buttery and greasy, but delicious. They were so popular that when I opened the covered plate laying on the counter, they were all gone. I ended up eating some of the cookies and dolly squares from the freezer and they were just as good cold. Don’t hesitate to put some of Erin’s recipes in the freezer, you may be in for a pleasant surprise.

I found that the recipes were simple, easy, decadent and, of course, delicious. The Happy Baker is killer comfort food. Erin was honest and upfront when she said these recipes were unhealthy. As a non-baker myself, I was able to bake recipes that I probably wouldn’t have ever made.

This is not your average cookbook since it is filled with unique stories and recipes. She has even provided a few non-bake recipes.

If you’re ever in Bayfield, Ontario be sure to check out Erin’s new business, The Pink Flamingo Bakery and Boutique.

Win a McSorley’s night out

McSorley’s is offering one reader the chance to win the perfect Fathers’ Day prize: A set of his & hers McSorley’s T-shirts and gift certificates for beer and food for two.  Think of the fantastic bonding night this prize will let you have. Enter today for your chance to win.

Contest Rules & Regulations:
Contestants must reside in Canada (excluding Quebec) to be eligible to win
Contestants must be 18 or older
Contestants are eligible to enter 1x daily (further entries will not be counted)
Contest closes on Thursday, June 13th, at 3 p.m.

CONTEST CLOSED

Spring detox day 8-10

I found the last three days to be the hardest of the detox since the food was limited. There were some restaurant quality dishes including the red lentil coconut curry, lentil chickpea sunshine salad, chocolate avocado pudding, and the poppy seed dressing, which was the star of the kale salad with grapes, avocados and almonds. I found these recipes to be the most flavourful. I will start incorporating my own fruit smoothies into my daily breakfast routine.

On May 20th, I had tomato soup for brunch and red lentil coconut curry for dinner. Throughout the day, I had almond milk and coconut milk. I’ll admit that the holiday was hard since I was out of routine and I did give in to three tiny pieces of california roll sushi with soy sauce. Although I did cheat a bit, I didn’t feel too bad since I feel as though I was slowly easing back into my regular diet. It was more of a slow transition.

May 21st was my ninth day on the detox. I decided to make my own cherry and unsweetened cocoa powder smoothie for breakfast and I had the red lentil coconut curry for lunch. For dinner, I had lentil chickpea sunshine salad. During the day, I had rice milk and coconut milk. Prior to class, my friend offered me skittles and I had two since I couldn’t resist. This is much less than I normally would have eaten.

On the last day of the detox, May 22nd, I had tomato soup for brunch and curried quinoa with raisins for dinner. My dessert after dinner was chocolate avocado pudding. Throughout the day, I had coconut milk and almond milk. There was the last teleseminar where the nutritionist talked about “what’s next” and how to keep your eating habits serving you for the long term. I made my own peach smoothie for tomorrow morning.
As I end the detox, I need to start incorporating all of the foods have been eliminated back into my diet. I certainly won’t have a huge cheesy pizza and chocolate cake, but I want to gradually go back to my regular, healthy diet. I will continue using my favorite recipes from the detox and it was great with the abundance of vegetables in every meal. Thanks for joining me through my BarreNourish 10-Day Detox series.

Finally…a cookbook contest!

Women’s Post is giving one lucky reader the chance to win a signed copy of Finally…Food I Can Eat! This is your chance to get your hands on a collection of delectable recipes to sample at will. Expand your kitchen and enter today.

Contest Rules & Regulations:
Contestants must reside in Canada (excluding Quebec) to be eligible to win
Contestants must be 18 or older
Contestants are eligible to enter 1x daily (further entries will not be counted)
Contest closes on Thursday, May 30th, at 4 p.m.

 

CONTEST CLOSED.

Spring detox day 1-3

After previously registering online, I was e-mailed a detox tutorial package and picked up my detox kit on May 11th. The detox kit contains Chlorella supplements, detox tea and a dry brush. The tutorial guide includes how-to information, a shopping list, meal plan, and recipes. I selected the Free Spirit Meal Planner.

The BarreNourish Detox consists of whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts. There is no wheat, meat, refined sugar, dairy, alcohol or coffee for 10 days. I am excited to see fresh produce and the recipes look delicious, but it will be hard not to snack throughout the day and experience true hunger. I was surprised not to see soy or tofu, but instead to see sea salt to taste in the recipes.

I joined the Facebook group for additional support since I am doing this alone. As a participant in the second wave, I had the advantage of seeing the questions and concerns raised from the first wave of participants (May 6th to May 15th) along the nutritionist’s responses.

My initial concern was the Chlorella tablets supplement, but I did my own research about the benefits and side effects before self-medicating. It was safe to go ahead and use it.

When I did my first grocery shopping and saw it all on the conveyor belt at the grocery store, I thought, “Who knew greens could look so good?” The meals were less expensive, but the drinks were slightly more than I’m used to. Overall, my grocery bill was considerably less than usual.

I listened to the first of three teleseminars on May 11th where the nutritionist went over the detox tutorial packet.

I have been utilizing my food and mood diary to document my meals, emotions and any side effects. I want to know how I am feeling physically and mentally throughout the process.

On Monday, May 13th, I had a green classic smoothie, my first green smoothie for breakfast. The smoothie was delicious and filling. I had kale salad with grapes, avocados and almonds for lunch, and red lentil coconut curry for dinner. Throughout the day, I had chamomile tea, almond butter stuffed dates, coconut milk, trail mix and almond milk.

During the second day of the detox, I had a raspberry chocolate smoothie and the red lentil coconut curry for lunch. My dinner was cauliflower, tomato, kale and white beans. My snacks and drinks during the day included rice milk, trail mix, peppermint tea, almond butter stuffed dates and almond milk. I haven’t experienced any cravings or side effects.

On the third day, May 15th, I started my day with an avocado, lime and ginger smoothie followed by a potato leek soup for lunch. I had a lentil chickpea sunshine salad for dinner. I also had coconut milk, mango juice, and dates stuffed with almond butter.

Join me as I go through a 10-Day Detox and hear about my experiences as I participate in the process.

Patio etiquette 101

Despite winter’s desperation to survive, it finally happened: spring has broken through. In celebration of this glorious event and me being a living stereotype (actor/waiter), please let me remind the general populace about a simple forgotten code: patio etiquette.

When dining upon a patio, please do your best to encourage the following:

1) Please do not sit until at least three-quarters of your party has arrived.
Toronto is a crammed city; green space and patio space are among the first to be consumed when nicer weather is upon us. I’m serious, try setting a blanket down at Trinity Bellwoods in June. It is a cruel joke when someone sits at the last patio table, occupying it for hours, as other poor souls develop shin splints standing in line with their full parties present.

2) It is illegal to smoke while sitting on an enclosed or partially enclosed patio.
Don’t get me wrong, I too love a drag when I’ve had a few G & Ts, but the law says no.

3) For the greater good and all that is holy, if you have a fungal infection or mangled hobbit feet, please wear closed-toe shoes.
They are sensible, stylish and inoffensive. On this note, I must confess, I wrap my hairy French feet up for the summer. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s appetite.

4) If it begins to rain, please remember: it is not your server’s fault.
They do not possess any voodoo mama juju powers. And even if they do, do you think they’d use it to spoil their chance at making money? Servers have other things to worry about, like gaining Patrick Dempsey’s love or solving world hunger.

5) Sadly, and as much as everyone loves them, dogs are not allowed on patios.
I wish I could change this one, but I can’t.

6 )Please pay your bill.
This one sounds ridiculous to have to mention, but all too often and a few pitchers in, a party may get up to leave. Let me put this into perspective: as a server you tip out, so a percentage of your tips goes to tipping the wonderful kitchen staff and bar staff. (We work together as a great team.) If a party forgets to pay their bill, the server has to pay for it. All of it. Sometimes this forces him or her to have to go to an ATM to take out money, as all of the tips earned that day have to go to paying that very bill.

7) Control your volume.
I am 100% guilty of this one, but I like to think it’s because I’m a stage actor and I accidentally slip into my “stage voice.” Please be aware of Toronto’s patio shortage (see point i) and try your best to be courteous of other diners around you.

8) Have fun.
You’ve worked a long week. We’ve had a long winter. Enjoy every second of it. Don’t forget sunscreen and/or hats for prolonged visits. Stay as long as you’d like, you deserve to soak up this beautiful sunshine. Hope to see you around.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go shave my feet.