an interview with julie van rosendaal

One day I will have a book on a store shelf. Getting published is on my bucket list.

I'm in the very preliminary stages of writing a lifestyle cookbook of sorts, but I needed some questions answered. Fortunately, my brother-in-law hooked me up with one of my fave fellow Canadian cookbook authors Julie Van Rosendaal for a little chat. She was super friendly and happily shared her thoughts on my endeavors. Since I had her on the phone I took the opportunity to ask her some questions and have her as my first fridaysoff interview subject. Here's what she had to say:

fridaysoff (FO): Where do you get your inspiration for your recipes?

Julie Van Rosendaal (JVR): I'm never short of inspiration - there are always ingredients, people and ideas inspiring me. I think about food all the time - a lot of my inspiration comes late at night. Some days I get an idea in my head and can't shake it until I get into the kitchen and experiment! I guess you could say my appetite is my inspiration.

FO: I read that ice cream is your guilty pleasure; what kind of ice cream is your favourite and are you a toppings girl or do you eat it plain?

JVR: Oh my yes. I eat it any way I can get it! I could never choose a favourite - although sour cream ice cream is pretty fab. If I'm out, I almost always order chocolate or praline or coffee - the more chunks in it the better. I'm also a sucker for soft ice cream.

FO: You have friends pop in from out of town unexpectedly and they're hungry; what's your go-to recipe/what do you serve?

JVR: Something from the freezer! Or I'll take them out to one of the many fantastic restaurants in the city - depends on how much I like them. Skillet roasted chickpeas and chard with lots of garlic and a fresh piece of fish is always fast and easy.

FO: What's your favourite restaurant?

JVR: Impossible to choose! CharCut, Alloy, Rouge, Bonterra, L'Epicerie, Brava Bistro, Aidas, Without Papers, Una, Notable, Mirchi, Mango Shiva- depends on my mood, and what city I'm in. Those are all in Calgary. (I'm also a huge fan of SoBo and TacoFino in Tofino.)

FO: If you were a contestant on Iron Chef what would you want the secret ingredient to be?

JVR: I was a contestant once! At a live version at the Jasper Park Lodge, against Chef Michael Smith, with Kevin Brausch emceeing. Some of the ingredients were bison and white asparagus. Guess who won?

Go check out her cookbook Grazing: Portable Finger Snacks and Finger Food for Anytime, Anywhere. It's on high rotation in my kitchen and will become your go-to cookbook in the kitchen.


zucchini lemon walnut muffins

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Now that I'm on maternity leave I've taken to baking a little more than usual. My latest baking adventure was zucchini lemon walnut muffins from Grazing: Portable Snacks and Finger Food for Anytime, Anywhere by Julie Van Rosendaal (yes I think I've made almost everything in this cookbook). The muffins turned out beautifully but sleep deprived 'ol me missed one crucial ingredient...SUGAR. We ate a few but I ended up tossing the rest. I intend on making them again (with sugar) because they did taste delicious. If you feel like making them yourself I've included the recipe below or just go out and buy the book.

Here's what you need:

  • 2 cups flour (I used half white and half whole wheat)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (don't forget this important ingredient)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini (I hate zuccini but it tastes great in muffins, loaves and cakes!)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Then you:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together milk, eggs, oil, and lemon zest then add flour mixture as well as grated zucchini and walnuts. Stir until combined.
  4. Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch.


breakfast bean cookies

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Being a new mom with a 5 week old I'm finding it difficult to eat (not good) so I've been on the hunt for a recipe high in protein and not too fattening. My usual go-to - Peanut Butter Power Bars - is great but I was in need of an alternative. Enter Breakfast Bean Cookies from my fave cookbook Grazing: Portable Snacks and Finger Food for Anytime, Anywhere""by Julie Van Rosendaal. Now this might sound gross, but one of the main ingredients is white kidney beans (gag)! At first glance I flipped the page, but then went back and thought it can't be that bad. The Hubs thinks they vaguely taste like burritos, but he's been eating them like crazy. These cookies are delicious, they're moist and you wouldn't even know there are white kidney beans in them. Go out on a limb and give these healthy cookies a try (3.4 g of protein and 3.2 g of fat per cookie). You will be going back for more.

Here's what you need:

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 14oz can of white kidney beans
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup cranberries (you can also use raisins, but I don't like raisins)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed (optional)

What you do is:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Pulse oats in food processor until it resembles coarse flour. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Transfer to large bowl.
  3. Pulse kidney beans in food processor until smooth, then add butter and pulse until well blended. Add brown sugar, egg, and vanilla and pulse until smooth.
  4. Pour bean mixture into dry mixture and stir by hand until almost combined; add chocolate chips, cranberries, walnuts and flax seed (if using) and stir until blended.
  5. Drop large spoonfuls on a greased cookies sheet and flatten with your fingers (these cookies don't spread while baking). Bake for 15 minutes, until pale and golden around the edges.

Yum and enjoy!

peanut butter power bars

Who needs nasty store-bought power bars when you can make them yourself? Right?! I was inĀ a baking mood last night and pulled out this great recipe for peanut butter power bars from one of my fave cookbooks Grazing by Julie Van Rosendaal. So I thought I'd share (check the pantry before you get started).

Here's what you need (don't be intimidated by the long list):

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (I useĀ just peanuts peanut butter)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seedĀ Ā 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Stir together brown sugar, peanut butter, milk, honey, oil, and vanilla.
  3. In another bowl stir together flour, oats, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add dry mixture to wet mixture along with dried cranberries, chocolate chips, almonds, pumpkin seeds, coconut, and flaxseed; stir until well blended.
  5. Spread the batter in a baking pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
  6. Bake for 23 minutes, until golden and cool.

Happy baking!

January 07, 2011 — Alanna Banks