fresh produce delivered right to your door

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Most of the local farmers markets in Toronto are winding down  for the season and that means no more fresh fruit and veggies until next Spring (sad face).  Fortunately there are some fabulous small businesses that deliver the good stuff right to you door!

Wanigan Fruits and Vegetables is a great little company based in Brampton that delivers boxes of seasonal and organic produce. You can choose from an a la carte menu of items or you can get a suprise box (they call it a Wanigan) on a weekly basis. The price is right (range from $25-$54 for a box depending on size) and the fruit and veg are delicious! The best part is, you don't really know what you're getting so you get try items you wouldn't normally pick out at the grocery store.

Try it out and let your imagination go in the kitchen.

October 29, 2010 by Alanna Banks

would you like fries with that?

If you were to ask me what my one vice is I'd have to say my love for chips and fries (love the salty snacks!) In fact my love for chips is so deep that I once gave them up for 40 days just to see if I could do it (suffered major withdrawal symptoms, but did it). Anyway, last night I had a hankering for fries to accompany my western sandwich and normally I would make my own, but I'll admit I was feeling lazy, so I picked some up at Chippy's. Honestly, they're fries aren't as good as mine (I know they're Toronto's Best Fish & Chip shop). So here let me share my recipe with y'all. My mouth is already watering!

You'll need:

  • 3-5 potatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt

Here's what you do:

  1. Chop potatoes into chunky sticks and pat dry with paper towel
  2. Toss them in a metal baking pan and place in oven while it's preheating to 450F (this step sucks out the moisture)
  3. Once the oven is preheated pour a tablespoon of olive oil over the potatoes and toss them around (you want just enough to slightly coat them, too much oil is bad and results in greasy fries, yuck!)
  4. Let them bake for about 25-30 minutes until nice and crispy and be sure to continually check on them and stir them up to avoid sticking
  5. When they're golden brown pull them out of the oven, toss with salt and pepper or any seasoning you like

Delicious!

October 13, 2010 by Alanna Banks

pumpkin chocolate chip squares

My contribution to our Thanksgiving feast is dessert and rather than making the same old pumpkin pie I decided to switch things up and make pumpkin chocolate chip squares (yum!). Those that love the spicy goodness of pumpkin pie will be satisfied and all the chocolate lovers will get their fix (aren't I thoughtful?).

If you're scrambling to make a yummy dessert for your Thankgiving dinner try out this recipe from The Stop's Good Food For All: Seasonal Recipes from a Community Garden (love this cookbook!)

Here's what you need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp each nutmeg, ground cloves and ground ginger
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (or fresh if you're up for it)
  • 1 pkg (340g) semi sweet chocolate chips

Here's what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9x13'' baking pan.
  2. Whisk together all of the dry ingredients except for the sugar and chocolate chips.
  3. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth, beat in egg and vanilla until combined, then add pumpkin puree.
  4. Drop mixing speed to low, add in dry ingredients until just combined, then fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Spread batter in baking pan and bake for 40 minutes.
  6. Cool and cut into squares.

Yum! Happy baking!

October 10, 2010 by Alanna Banks

soft ginger cookies

I love anything with ginger and this recipe I have for ginger cookies is always a big hit. Since I missed Glee (thought it was on at 9:00 p.m. boo!) I thought I would share this recipe with y'all so you can enjoy in your warm cozy houses as the cool weather creeps in.

This recipe comes from one of my fave baking books The Clueless Baker: Baking from Scratch by Evelyn Raab.

You'll need:

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Mix butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the egg, water and molasses and continue mixing until smooth. In another bowl stir flour, ginger, baking soda and cinnamon together. Add dry mixture to wet mixture and beat until everything is combined into a soft dough. Roll into a big ball, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge while you clean up your mess. Once everything is cleaned up, preheat oven to 350 F and dump some sugar onto a plate (you're going to roll your dough balls in this shortly). Pull the dough out of the fridge and start rolling the dough into 1-1.5 inch little balls. Roll the dough balls in the sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes (I bake for 9 minutes). Pull them out at 9 minutes. They will look soft and like they're not finished but trust me they are (trust!). Let them cool for a couple of minutes and then move them to a plate (they will firm up!) This recipe makes 4 dozen so I hope you're hungry!

Happy baking!

September 21, 2010 by Alanna Banks

hungry for hummus

I just had to have some hummus and crackers as an after work snack today (so hungry!), so as soon as I got in the door I was at the counter whizzing up some homemade hummus. I always make it from scratch; the store bought stuff just isn't good enough, plus making it yourself is so much cheaper!

If you have a hankering for hummus too and want to try it out here's my recipe:

You need:

  • 1 can chick peas
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon juice (real or bottled)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Plain yogurt
  • Salt and pepper
  • Peanut butter (optional)
  • Food processor or blender

Chop garlic clove in food processor until finely minced, add can of chick peas, a few glugs of olive oil, a tbsp plain yogurt, salt and pep, three or four squirts of lemon juice and a tsp of peanut butter (if you're using) whiz up in food processor until creamy. You may need to add extra olive oil if it's too dry and extra lemon juice to taste. Voila! It's that easy. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, should be good for a week (if it lasts that long).

I heart hummus.

August 17, 2010 by Alanna Banks

chocolate + ginger = smiley face

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I was in the mood for some homemade baking on the weekend so I whipped up a batch of these delicious chocolate chip and candied ginger muffins courtesy of Dishii blog. They're delicious and wholesome!

If you fancy the chocolate/ginger combo try them out. You'll need:

  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup oats
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 generous cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup candied ginger (diced)

Preheat oven to 375F, in a bowl mix together all the dry ingredients except for the chocolate chips and ginger pieces, in another bowl mix together all of the wet ingredients, mix the wet and dry together, then add the chocolate chips and ginger pieces. Scoop batter into muffin pan filling each one to the top. Makes 12 good size muffins.

Yum!

August 03, 2010 by Alanna Banks

to market, to market...

I love farmer's markets! I forget how much I love them until I go and then I spend the entire time thinking why don't I always go?

On my way home from work tonight I stopped by the Trinity Bellwoods Farmer's Market, it's every Tuesday between 3:00 and 7:00 in the NW end of the park (you guessed it Trinity Bellwoods Park). I picked up lots of fresh local veggies for the week ahead as well as some delicious Ontario peaches, blackberries and little golden plums (my favourite!). It's such a pleasant and civilized experience shopping at the market (much better than the Chopper!) and I ran into Vodka Blog what a surprise!

If you're in Toronto and you have a hankering for some fresh fruit and veg you can find a farmers market almost every day of the week. Check it out:

Happy marketing!

July 27, 2010 by Alanna Banks

rainy day baking

I'm waiting for my fabric to wash and dry (pouf project) so to kill some time I'm making banana bread (yum!). I've been using this recipe (thanks mom!) for ages and what I like most is it's written out on this note paper that I remember having when I was a kid (the paper is wrinkled, slopped on and worn, but I'm keeping it this way).

So without further ado here it is for you to try:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar (I do half brown, half white)
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas (tip: I hate ripe bananas so when they ripen I throw them in the freezer so I always have banana's kicking around to use)
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (optional but highly recommended)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325F

2. Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy adding eggs one at a time, beat well

3. In a small bowl mash bananas, add the baking soda, milk and cinnamon

4. In another bowl mix dry ingredients

5. Add banana mixture to creamed mixture stir until combined then add dry ingredients and mix. If you're using chocolate chips add them in as well.

6. Bake in a loaf pan for 1 hour 10 minutes. (Check on the loaf at the one hour mark you don't want to over bake and dry it out.) If you want to mix things up you can also spoon the mixture into muffin tins, bake time is slightly less around 45 minutes.

Enjoy!

May 22, 2010 by Alanna Banks

nutella + banana bread = heaven

OK why didn't I think of this?! I've been making banana bread for years and my special addition has always been chocolate chips (thanks Mom!) but I never thought to spread the bread with Nutella (genius!).

I was enlightened this weekend by the Globe's Lucy Waverman when I read her recipe for this delectable treat. Check out her Grilled Nutella and banana bread sandwich demo here. You'll be running out the door to buy some Nutella before the video is over.

Bon appetit!

May 16, 2010 by Alanna Banks

crunchy granola

I'm not ready to part ways with my secret granola recipe yet, but Joshna's Granola recipe from The Stop's Good Food For All gets my stamp of approval.

So here it is (the moment you've all been waiting for!):

Ingredients:

6 cups rolled oats (I use Quaker quick oats)

2 cups wheat germ

2 cups bran-bud cereal (I use All Bran Buds)

1/2 cup flaxseeds

1/4 cup sesame seeds (I substitute with pumpkin seeds and make it 1/2 cup)

2 tbsp ground cinammon

1 large pinch of salt

2 cups shredded coconut (make sure it's unsweetened)

3 cups whole almonds (I just do 2 cups, 3 is a bit much)

3/4 cup honey

1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use 1/4 cup)

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup warm water

4 cups dried fruit (I use dried cranberries) *special note: these you add in at the very end after baking

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 375F. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a small pot mix the liquids and heat until almost boiling. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and mix well, mixture should be sticky and crumbly.
  • Spread granola on a cookie sheet (I use 2 tin roasting pans) and toast for about 30 minutes (keep your eye on it and stir every 10 minutes or so) until it's golden or until you're happy with (it's usually about 1 hour).
  • Remove from oven, let cool completely (I leave it out overnight in the roasting pans covered with tea towls) then add dried fruit and toss to combine
  • Store in an airtight container (you'll need a big one!)

Yum!

May 13, 2010 by Alanna Banks