Thursday, August 18, 2011

Quinoa salad/ Tabouli

It's time to post my Tabouli recipe (because I have a final on Saturday and this is waaay more exciting than studying!)


1 package of quinoa
1-2 cups of parsley (rinsed and the stems cut off)
1/2 cup mint leaves (rinsed)
1 tomato
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 red bell pepper
half a large red onion
Apple cider vinegar
Olive oil
Salt to taste

Step 1: Cook quinoa according to directions on the package. Usually you would boil 2 cups of water then add the quinoa, reduce heat to low and cover for 15 min. Let stand covered for 5 min then fluff with a fork. When it is cool put in a salad bowl.

Step 2: put the parsley and the mint leaves in a food processor for about 20-30 seconds, don't overdo it. Combine with quinoa.

Step 3: slice the red pepper and red onion into medium sized pieces, put in the food processor for 5-10 seconds (so that the pieces are really small but not mushed)

Step 4: Add red pepper and onion to the salad bowl. Add about 1/2 cup of olive oil to moisten the mixture.

Step 5: cut up the tomato very small, add to the bowl.

Step 6: use a garlic squeezer to add the garlic to the mixture. Add vinegar and salt to taste. Mix well.

Enjoy!!! This is a very healthy meal, and the only way my baby eats her vegetables. I hope it turns out delicious!

Back to studying...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Draniki (Russian potato patties)

This is probably my favorite dish, my mom used to make it for me when I was a little girl. This is definitely my kind of comfort food :)


6-7 potatoes (medium sized)
2 Tbs. flour
Sunflower oil (you can use any oil but it tastes the best with sunflower oil)
1 tsp salt
1 egg

Peel and grate the potatoes (this is done much easier with a food processor). Put the grated potatoes in a bowl. Add egg, flour and salt and mix it all together. Heat some oil in a pan on medium high heat, only when the oil is hot (you can test the oil by adding a drop of water into the pan. If the oil is hot enough it will spit). Scoop some of the potato mixture with you hand and form a flat patty (try to squeeze any fluids out of the patty before putting it in the pan, this will make the patties crispy!). After about 2 minutes (when the patty is brown and crispy) use a spatula to flip it to the other side. Fry the other side until it is also nicely browned (about 2-3 minutes). As you continue forming your patties you will notice that more fluid is forming, make sure to squeeze out most of the fluid before cooking the rest of the draniki. Add oil as required. Serve hot on it's own or with a salad. Enjoy!

Friday, October 22, 2010


Since coming to Canada in 2003 I was trying to find foods that reminded me of home. It took me 2 years to find good apple juice (Tropicana), 4 years to find real Hummus ("Sabra" at Loblaws, Kosher section), and now after 8 years of continuous search I found my bread!!! This should not be taken lightly! Bread is such an important food, I wasn't able to find delicious bread for 8 years, I tried so many kinds and nothing tasted like home. I finally found it and it's perfect. Not too mushy, not too sticky, not too dry, and not too crispy. Some breads are so crusty I feel like they should warn you on the package about the dangers of eating it.

Before I tell you anymore about this wonderful bread I discovered, I suggest you turn on your favorite drum-roll.

It is a Belgian Bread made by Irresistibles. It is sold at Metro, I haven't seen it anywhere else so far. There! So now you can save yourself 8 years of searching. Bread, I always knew you were out there. <3

Broke Bean Stew

I got this recipe from the Biggest Loser and it is sooo good! I did make it a little bit differently, the original recipe doesn't require any meat so if you are a vegetarian then leave the meat out and use a vegetable broth instead of chicken broth...However, my husband Nik is a meateatarian! Had I not put any meat in, at dinner I would hear him say: "Did you forget to put the meat in?" or "Is this some kind of cereal?" or "Can you pass me the burger patties?". You get the,to avoid my wonderful stew being turned into something resembling burger soup at the last minute, I added some beef and it turned out really yumzers! I wouldn't make it any other way.


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow or white onion, chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 small package of beef cubes or 1.5 lb. of steak cut up into cubes.
1 large can diced fire-roasted tomatoes (or just diced tomatoes)
2 cans (15.5 oz each) black beans or chickpeas or lima beans; rinsed & drained
1 can chickpeas
3.5 cups organic chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley if your name is Christine Armstrong and you can't stand cilantro! :) )
2 cups baby spinach leaves (optional)
Serve with sour cream.


Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in 4-quart saucepan. Add onion and sauté about 5 minutes, until softened but not browned. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Do not brown garlic. Add the spices. Stir well to coat onions and garlic in the spices.

Add tomatoes and simmer about 5 minutes. Add the beef cubes and mix it well with the spices, onions and garlic so nothing gets stuck to the bottom of the pot. Keep stirring for about 10 minutes, the beef should no longer look raw. Add 2 cans of beans and 2 ½ cups of broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer.

Place the chickpeas and the rest of the broth (1 cup) in bowl of food processor or in blender. Add cilantro and puree until smooth. Add mixture to stew. Add spinach (optional) and heat just until wilted. Stir well and serve hot with a bit of sour cream. Enjoy!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

First, Spices!

Why use spices? well, nobody likes eating cardboard. If you like food that tastes like nothing then I urge you to ignore the spices and herbs required in my recipes! However, if you like foods rich in flavor then invest in purchasing these basic spices. I love working with different spices, mixing them together and getting new flavors each time! To me it's like a science experiment, only you get to enjoy eating the result. :)

I decided to create a list of all the spices I will be using in my recipes so you can go get them all at once instead of running back and forth to bulk barn every time you want to make something new. Actually, that wouldn't be so bad if you need the exercise...but I find it extremely frustrating when I am about to try a new recipe and I've got ALL of the ingredients required except for a 1/4 teaspoon of sage... like COME ON!!!

A little bit about spices; It is always best to have fresh spices whether it's from your own garden, someone else's garden, or from the grocery store. Unfortunately it is not always possible. Especially if your neighbors keep attack dogs in their garden. Sneaking in for some fresh parsley becomes rather tiresome with the growling and biting and so on. Also, in the winter it is harder to get fresh spices so it's OK to use the dry version. But in the summer if you go to your local market or a grocery store you will most definitely find some spices fresh, maybe even still growing in a pot with soil! I get excited just thinking about that.... :)

It can get quite expensive getting your spices fresh. Also, if you don't use the fresh spice in a timely manner it will wither or rot before you get to it. VERY SAD.
So, solution: Get SOME spices fresh, some dry and some are now available fresh from a tube! Gourmet Garden is the name of the company that makes these herbs and spices into mush and sells them in a tube. Because these tubes contain fresh herbs you don't need very much of them compare to using the dry version. So if you like using a particular spice often get it in the Gourmet Garden tube, you can store it in the fridge and your food will taste amazing as a result of using the fresh herbs.

Here is my list of BASIC herbs and spices. I will always get some spices in dry form because I don't use them very much.

- Basil (preferably fresh)
- Oregano (Preferably fresh)
- Cinnamon Sticks (dry)
- Turmeric (dry)
- Cumin (dry)
- Ginger (fresh)
- Garlic (always fresh!!!)
- Paprika (dry)
- Rosemary (preferably fresh)
- Sage (dry)
- Italian mix seasoning (dry)
- Cilantro (always fresh)
- Parsley (always fresh)
- Tarragon (dry or fresh)

I will update this list every once in a while if I can think of any more herbs and spices, but if you have these then we are talking!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Yumzers...what's that?!

Yumzers is my blog about cooking delicious food with ingredients that most of us have in our homes! I am always on the look out for good recipes but I find that most of them are either too complicated (they require some ingredients I can't even pronounce) or they are too simple and lack flavor...
I try to create my own recipes; whether it's my own version of a lasagna, pasta salad, or an old favorite dish my mom used to make.
Whenever I want to make something new I read 20 or 30 different recipes that give me some information about where to start and from there I choose which steps I will follow and what I would do differently. This usually works pretty well. My husband bugs me (with a full mouth) about how I should start my own blog and post some of my recipes - so here I am! If you would like to be notified whenever I post a new recipe you can click on "follow". Enjoy all the Yumzers!!!

Alla :)