Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Spring Salad with Avocado Olive Oil Dressing

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It's that time of year where menu planning moves from warm soups and hot chilis to cool, crisp salads and grilling dishes! There is nothing I like better than a crispy salad with bright vegetables and a delicious homemade dressing. This salad is amazing on it's own for lunch or dinner, or feel free to add  some grilled shrimp, chicken or beef to it if you would like to add more protein. You know how with each season, you might find yourself making  a favorite recipe over and over again? Well...this is our right now! This salad is so good that I have declared it the 'Salad of Spring 2014'. We have been making it a least once a week for a month now.
I love fresh vegetables. I mean I really love them and I buy fresh veggies for our family a few times a week. I consider veggies to be nature's medicine...so full of lots of good things. And since half of my family are not fond of cooked veggies, I create a salad to go with dinner almost every night. It's my thing.
And this salad is very adaptable...you could add almost any sliced vegetable.....but here is the version that we prefer....fresh & crisp.

Spring Salad with Avocado Olive Oil Dressing

1 head of butter lettuce, washed and torn
1/2 English cucumber, sliced
1 zucchini squash, sliced
5 radishes sliced
1-2 ripe avocados, peeled & sliced

To Make:
1.In large bowl or platter, add butter lettuce.
2. Add other vegetables to butter lettuce.

For Dressing:
1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
1 shallot, ,or 1/4 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
salt & pepper to taste

To Make:
1. Add all ingredients to blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a tall jar or mason jar. Refrigerate.

To serve this yummy salad, plate on small serving plates or bowls and invite each person to add dressing as desired. I almost never mix a salad with dressing. I always serve the dressing on the side so people can add as much or as little as they like.
Looking for more fresh salads?
Visit the Life Made Delicious for more delicious salads for Spring....along with so many other fantastic recipes for every meal and snack!
Life Made Delicious is the place to get easy recipes and quick dinner ideas you can make life more delicious! 
Check these fabulous recipes:
Grilled Apple Salad with Vanilla Yogurt
Greek Potato Salad
 GO HERE for MANY more ideas!

Disclosure: I am a part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger Program and I receive special perks as a part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Monday, 28 April 2014

Grilled Curry Lime Pork Kabobs with Roasted Curry Cauliflower & Rice

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It's heeee-re. Grilling season that is! Can you feel the excitement in the Spring air and the smell of food cooking on grills wafting around the neighborhood? We sure can! And we decided to have a family dinner to celebrate being able to grill in flip-flops and not snow boots for a change!

What is so special about a family dinner you ask? Well....with teenagers in the house, getting all four bodies in the house at meal time can be like nailing jello to a wall. So when there's a night where there's no sweaty sports practice somewhere for one child, or part-time job shift for the other, we grab it and celebrate with a family affair. Oh yeah! We celebrated this time by mixing in a little India with Patak's in our grilled entree. Both my son and husband asked for kabobs, so kabobs it was! And I added some fresh tulips for a touch of pretty to the table because tulips shout Spring everywhere.
For a special meal, we decided to get on our "India" in a fun way with...kabobs...which make for a great casual meal.With a quick yogurt marinade created with Patak's Biryani Curry Paste, it added a quick burst of flavour to the pork, while helping to make it tender and juicy as well. However, any of the delicious Patak's curry pastes would work just as fine!
And adding meat and veggies on sticks is a job that the kids love!
This recipe is really easy with just 3 ingredients for the marinade, along with cubes of pork and veggies.
So let's get to it, shall we?

Grilled Curry Lime Pork Kabobs

For Marinade:
1-2 cups plain yogurt
2 tablespoons of Patak's curry paste such as Biryani, or Madras or Tandoori. Also...add more if your family really likes to spice it up!
Juice of fresh lime
For Kabobs:
Cubed pork loin, 4 pieces per kabob {allow 2-3 kabobs per adult}
Veggies such as button mushrooms, grape tomatoes, sliced zucchini, onion slices, etc.
Fresh cilantro

To Make:
1. In large bowl, stir together yogurt, curry paste and fresh lime juice until smooth.
2. Add cubed pork loin to bowl and stir until pork is coated in marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and let set for 1 hour or place in fridge overnight.
3. To create kabobs, thread meat and veggies onto skewers as shown.
4. Grill kabobs on medium heat for 12-15 minutes or until pork is cooked.
5. Add grilled kabobs to platter and sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro and serve.

And of course, every meal needs a delicious vegetable dish too. It's a must because Mom says so! This recipe was inspired by my daughter because she loves roasted cauliflower, so I decided to spice it up a little by adding diced vegetables with a curry mixture for a yummy tasting dish!
This Roasted Curry Cauliflower is absolutely wonderful as a side dish, but also makes a great vegetarian main course too!
Roasted Curry Cauliflower with Veggies

Head of cauliflowers, cut into bites
4 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cups diced vegetables such as zucchini, onion, red pepper and carrot.
2 tablespoons curry
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup water
fresh cilantro

To Make:
1. Mix cauliflower bites with 2 tablespoons olive oil in bowl. Season with salt and pepper and roast on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet at 400 degrees until fork tender. About 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and place in large bowl. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in large frying pan. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil  and add diced veggies.
3, Stir fry veggies for 4-5 minutes. Add water and curry, turmeric, and cumin. Let cook until a think sauce forms over veggies...about 4-5 minutes.
4. Pour veggie stir fry over roasted cauliflower and stir gently until veggies are mixed. Pour veggies onto serving platter, sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve.

Serve with a bowl of hot rice.
This is such a delicious meal with the fragrant curry lime kabobs and the lovely roasted cauliflower. With some hot rice and mango sour cream served on the side, it is a wonderful, complimentary mix of flavours and aromas.
This whole meal was a lovely way to celebrate the return of grilling season.
I always love cooking with Patak's sauces because it is such a great way to add some pep and zip to any meal without a lot of work! And my family loves spicy foods and Patak's add just the right touch to any dish!

Thank you so much for visiting!
Bon Appetite!

Disclosure: I am part of Patak's Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Saturday, 26 April 2014

Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Icing & Teaching Kids About Generosity

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One of the things that my family loves is the smell of tasty treats baking in the oven! It is such a warm, comforting aroma to have wafting through the house. And some of our favourite flavors include the colour orange...like orange-cranberry, or this delicious & moist Minute Maid® recipe for Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Icing because it has both oranges and carrots for a hit of great taste and nutrition.
These Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Icing take a bit of time to mix, but the reward is well worth the effort! With Minute Maid® Orange Juice providing the delicate orange flavour, these bars are perfect for a treat or snack. Minute Maid® has been a part of our morning routine for years as I keep our freezer and fridge well-stocked with Minute Maid® Orange Juice so we can enjoy a delicious glass any time. This wonderful recipe {along with many others} was developed by Minute Maid®, in partner with the Canadian Living Test Kitchen,  and I am thrilled to be able to share this tasty treat with you.
Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Icing
{Recipe by Minute Maid® and The Canadian Living Test Kitchen}
~Makes 16 bars~
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
Pinch each of ground cloves and ground nutmeg
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup Chilled Minute Maid® Original 100% Orange Juice

Cream Cheese Icing:
1/4 cup cream cheese
4 tsp Chilled Minute Maid® Original 100% Orange Juice
1-1/2 cups icing sugar

To Make:
1. In large bowl, beat butter with brown sugar until combined; beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla.
2. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, salt, cloves and nutmeg. Stir into butter mixture; mix in carrots.
3. Stir in Chilled Minute Maid® Original 100% Orange Juice. Scrape batter into parchment paper lined 8 inch metal cake pan.
4. Bake in 325 F {160 C} oven until cake pulls away from side of pan and cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely.
5. Cream Cheese Icing: In bowl, beat together cream cheese, Chilled Minute Maid® Original 100% Orange Juice and vanilla until smooth; beat in icing sugar, one third at a time until thick but smooth. Spread over cake and cut into bars.
{Note: For a little pretty touch, I added some orange zest on top of the bars.}
These bars are tasty, moist and the cream cheese icing is AH-mazing. Mmm. I believe that cooking and baking are an important life skill and had my children in the kitchen at an early age. My daughter, now 17, can cook or bake almost anything and bakes cookies, bars or muffins as a hostess gift when invited out to dinner at a friend's house. My son, 13, can make homemade pancakes, pasta, cookies and quite a few other dishes, and can easily feed his large appetite when Mom or Dad are not around.
Recently, Minute Maid conducted a poll {see note below} and found that Canadian parents are in overwhelming agreement that raising caring and generous children is one of their top priorities. More than half of parents set a good example of generosity through spontaneous good deeds such as: shoveling a neighbour's driveway, carrying groceries, holding the door open for a stranger, or giving homemade gifts to family and friends such as crafts or baked goods. Our family loves to make and give tasty treats to family & friends. It's our favourite little way of showing appreciation and love. Often, when I make cookies or bars, I simply double the batch so we have some for gifting. These delicious bars are the perfect gift for sharing and would be sure to warm up any one's day.
Minute Maid wants to help Canadian parents with fun, new ways to teach generosity to their children. Minute Maid has developed a collection of recipes that are perfect for gifting...from cookies to squares to cakes, these wonderful recipes are sure to bring a smile to the faces of the people you would like to share them with! And when you bake with your children with the idea of giving and sharing, you are working to instill goodness…one moment at a time.
For more information and amazing recipes, Canadian parents can visit www.minutemaid.ca for a collection of delicious homemade food and drink ideas.
You can also connect with Minute Maid on Pinterest HERE

Disclosure: This post was generously sponsored by Minute Maid Canada. As always, I only partner with brands/products that I love and use in my own home. All opinions are my own.

Please Note: Canadian parents are in overwhelming agreement that raising caring and generous children is one of their top priorities. This key insight, along with others, was gathered through the Minute Maid Moments poll conducted earlier this year in partnership with Leger, an independent research firm.  

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Monday, 21 April 2014

Join Us for the Outdoor Extravaganza Link Parties Starting Soon!

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Hello sweet people! I hope you had a wonderful long weekend! I spent lots of time with my family and friends sharing good food and laughter. It was so fun and I had such a nice break!

I am so excited to share with you that this year I have been invited to join these ladies to help host the 2014 Outdoor Extravaganza Link Parties! We invite you to share and link up your wonderful projects for Spring...be it specially crafted planters, colourful planters, deck decorating, flower bed design, or paint projects that give your home even MORE awesome curb appeal! We are looking for ALL of your creative projects so we can have the BEST Outdoor Extravaganza party ever! And as part of the fun, we 6 lovely hostesses will be sharing our own creative projects too! So MARK YOUR CALENDARS for these 3 Wednesdays in May to share your projects and get ready for the BIG-fun- jam of outdoor projects! Each week's THEME is listed below so will have lots of time to craft projects to share!
This year’s hostesses are (left to right):
Tiffany from Living Savvy
Angie from Echoes of Laughter {That's me!}
Lucy from Craftberry Bush
Dawn from Inspired Living

I cannot wait to see ALL of your amazing projects! 

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Thursday, 17 April 2014

Win Delicious Chocolate with a Ferrero Rocher Giveaway

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Hello sweet friends! I hope you are well! What are your plans for the weekend? I will be hosting an Easter dinner on Sunday for my family with a few invited guests. Then I am looking forward to some time for relaxing, walking the dogs with my husband and catching a movie with a girlfriend.

I am so excited to share with you that I have partnered with Ferrero Rocher to offer an amazing chocolate gift for one lucky reader. And although it will arrive to your home after the Easter weekend, this will only mean that you will have more time to enjoy and savour it with the rush of hosting a holiday weekend over!  The gift will include an assortment of Ferrero Rocher chocolate so you and your loved ones can enjoy this perfect indulgent treat! For this Easter season, Ferrero Rocher is offering pretty gold-wrapped Ferrero Rocher® Rabbits, new Cocoa & Hazelnut Ferrero Eggs and lovely Ferrero Rocher® assortments packaged inside eggs. Ferrero Rocher products make wonderful gifts for friends and family and can add just the right amount of sparkle to your home.
And you know how I like to keep giveaways simple!

To Enter:
1. You must be 18 years of age and live in Canada to enter. One entry per person.{Except void where prohibited.}
2. Please leave a comment below with a valid email address so I can contact you if you are the winner.
3. Giveaway ends Monday, April 21, 2014 at midnight MST. Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.

Wishing You A Wonderful Easter Weekend!

Disclosure: This post was generously sponsored by Ferrero Rocher. However, as always, I only partner with products/brands that I know and love and use in my own home. And we love, love, love Ferrero Rocher chocolate.

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Monday, 14 April 2014

Homemade Poutine with the New Kraft Shredded Cheese with A Touch of Philadelphia Cheese

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On the weekends, I often take a more relaxed approach to meals by making a treat that we might not have for a regular Monday-Friday meal. The classic Canadian dish ...Poutine...is a really fun and delicious dish that we sometimes create on weekends. It's something that we enjoy on a Saturday night when we have a family movie night. And with a few ingredients, it's a very simple dish to put together and it's something that everybody loves!
This dish is flexible in so many ways. It can be created with homemade fries or store bought fries, homemade gravy or store bought gravy and it can be covered with whatever cheese you desire. This dish is really all about the crispy fries and the delicious cheese that is melted perfectly on top! Recently I had the chance to try the new Kraft Shredded Cheese with a Touch of Philadelphia and it produced the most gorgeous melt on our poutine. It was absolutely heavenly! Kraft has specially blended their Kraft Shredded Cheese with a Touch of Philadelphia to deliver a soft and creamy melt that will make your favourite meals even better. Available in 3 delicious kinds including:Creamy Mozza, Creamy Herb & Garlic and Creamy Mexicana, this new cheese is so good that the melt is all you'll remember! Just see how delicious our poutine looks with the new Kraft Creamy Herb & Garlic Shredded Cheese with a Touch of Philadelphia.
 Here is how we make poutine at our house:

Homemade Poutine
{serves 4}

5-large russet potatoes, cut into fries with knife or mandolin slicer, lightly drizzled with oil, sprinkled with salt and cooked on a greased cookie sheet in 400 degree oven 20-25 minutes OR frozen french fries cooked according to package directions.
2-3 cups gravy, homemade, canned or powdered mix,  made according to package directions.
2 cups Kraft Creamy Herb & Garlic Shredded Cheese with a Touch of Philadelphia.

To Make:
1. Cook fries until golden and crispy
2. Remove fries from oven and divide amongst 4 individual heat-proof dishes.
3. Spoon hot gravy over top according to taste.
4. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and place back in oven for 5-7 minutes so that the cheese can melt over the fries.
5. Remove and serve immediately.

The poutine looks and tastes so good!
Everyone in my family loved this new cheese and the poutine disappeared quite quickly.
I mean seriously...look at these fries! Delish!
Kraft Canada is also hosting a 'What's Cooking' Twitter Party' on Wednesday, April 16th at 9 pm EST.
You are invited to join in at @KraftCanada on Twitter by following the hashtag #TouchofPhillyCheese
We will be chatting about lots of tasty ways that you can make meal time better by adding the new Kraft Shredded Cheese with A Touch of Philadelphia to your dishes for a great creamy melt!
And for more scrumptious, melt-in-your mouth recipe ideas, don't forget to check out the 
Thank you so much for visiting!

Disclosure: Although this post has been generously sponsored by Kraft Canada, the opinions and language are my own, and in no way do they reflect Kraft Canada.

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breakfast coupons you also can find recipe from