Month: April 2013

Crispy Green Beans with Parmesan



  • 1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
  • 2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground peppercorns, to taste
  • olive oil
  • parmesan cheese, optional


  • Preheat oven to 450.
  • Line baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  • Combine green beans, onions, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a large mixing bowl; toss to coat evenly.
  • Spread the green beans on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally for even cooking.
  • Taste for salt and pepper.
  • Top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
  • Serve immediately.

Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Dog Treats




makes about 8-1/2 dozen (100ish) small bones



    • 1/2 cup peanut butter
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 1 cup rolled oats
    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup wheat germ (optional)



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together peanut butter, honey, oil and chicken broth. In a separate bowl, combine flours and oatmeal. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Place dough on flour dusted surface. Roll or press dough out to about 3/8” inch thick (mine varied somewhere between 1/4” and 1/2”). Use a small bone cookie cutter to cut out cookies. My cookie cutter was 2”x3/4”, but for larger dogs you may want a larger cookie cutter. Roll out leftover scraps and cut out as many as possible. Put cut out cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 14-16 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.

For gifts, once bones are cooled, place them in cellophane bags and tie with ribbon. Note, these will be more the consistency and softness of a cookie, not a biscuit.



The Best Falafel in Toronto


Dr Laffa

This new North York restaurant near Dufferin and Steeles not only prepares its falafel balls fresh to order, but will also throw some dough in its custom-made tabun ovens to bake up a soft, hot laffa for each wrap. Its falafels are Israeli-style, huge, and tremendously delicious, and also come available in a pita, for some reason. Laffa falafels are $5.99.

College Falafel

College Falafel practically beckons late on Friday and Saturday nights from its modest spot at Ossington and College. Even at 2am, the falafel balls are deep-fried on the spot, topped with fresh tabouli, hot sauce, and all the other fixings. Halifax donair and baklava to boot. $5.99

King Falafel

Lest new condos threaten its unchanged existence, King Falafel will keep serving the same great falafels that have earned it a top spot in Toronto’s royal (ahem) falafel hierarchy. While I find these falafels tend to be crunchier than most, they’re every bit as fresh, and certainly just as delicious. $3.60.

Akram’s Shoppe

The falafel’s at Akram’s Shoppe are not just unique in their $2.99 price tag (though that, of course, makes them an easy sell), but they also stray from the traditional chickpea recipe. The balls are made from a mixture of soya, fava and mung beans, rendering them crispy and hearty without being heavy. Occasionally, you’ll be able to catch them priced on special for $1.99.

King David

While some may laud King David for its pizza (curiously), it’s the quality and tastiness of the falafels that regulars and newbies all seem to agree on. Prepared to order (of course), and topped with everything, falafel customers should be prepared to use both hands.


Like Akram’s, the falafels at Sababa come fast and cheap ($2.95), but the price tag only underemphasizes the value. Yes, the takeout counter at this North York market offers consistently delicious falafels, with an adjacent store selling all the ingredients for you to make it at home. I’m sure no one does.

Sarah’s Shawarma & Falafel

Sarah’s is where you’ll find hoards of hungry University of Toronto students looking for a cheap and filling lunch. The falafel combo with fried eggplant and cauliflower is definitely a favourite, though many just opt for the sandwich for $3.49. Special hot sauce and tahini make the falafel.


This is one place where you can actually opt to have your falafel balls baked instead of fried. While the health benefits of a baked falafel are obvious, I think I’d miss that satisfying crunch and subtle pang of guilt that can only come from a food that has gone diving in the deep fryer. Customers can also opt for a half or whole falafel, and take their pick of white or whole wheat pita.

Mystic Muffin

It seems Mystic Muffin is loved as much for its owner, Elias, as it is for its fresh and tasty falafel. Oh, and possibly the apple cake. The falafel balls come crispy, crunchy, and soft on the inside, paired with veggies and sauces, and wrapped in a fluffy pita. For $4 and change, you can’t go wrong.

Low maintenance outdoor planting

Between the scorching summer sun and extended vacations, it’s probably not a surprise when your outdoor plants start looking like they need a little love. Instead of paying the neighbor kids to keep your vegetation hydrated every time you hit the beach, rethink your landscape scheme to require less maintenance and be more sun tolerant and more in line with your carefree summer attitude.The right plant picks can stand extended sunlight and a little neglect. Now you can save your plant guilt for ice cream!

Aloe, scilla, gasteriaand haworthia are a few examples of succulents that thrive in the hot, bright summer sun. If you’re looking to increase the beauty of your outdoor scape, consider planting flowering Autumn Joy — which not only is pretty in its own right but also attracts butterflies.
Succulents tend to need less water than most other outdoor plants. But be wary when using terra-cotta pots — they tend to dry out most quickly. To see if your plants need to be watered, place your finger a centimeter or two below the soil. If it’s moist, no water is needed.More fuss-free ways to garden

Remember, many succulents thrive on neglect. Always err on the side of underwatering, not overwatering. If they look a little limp, then it’s time to water.Note: Some succulents are frost tender and may need a cover in cold weather.

modern  Soda Crate Wall Plantings
If you’re really worried about your outdoor plants, a crate like this one does double duty. It looks great hanging on your wall, and you can always pull it down and take it with you. For succulents that do double duty, consider planting edible succulents. Yuccas, aloe vera, prickly pearand night-blooming cereus are all tasty varieties.
modern pool by usona

by usona »
If succulents aren’t your thing, many green shrubs make for clean, easy-to-maintain outdoor planters. Boxwoods, for example, require afternoon shade and need to be pruned but require watering only every seven to 10 days — more often if you’re having a scorcher.
Ornamental grasses are another good low-maintenance option for outdoor planters. They need to be cut back only once a year in the spring and, after the first year of growth, require very little water. They tend to thrive in areas of full sunlight.
An outdoor scape like this one, where plants are divided into separate pots, is easy to maintain. When one plant begins to look a little wilty or in need of replacing, it’s no problem to simply remove one without disturbing the others.
Topiaries are a simple way to keep your outdoor planters looking fresh. For a burst of energy during parties or special events, a brightly colored perennial around the base adds pizazz.

The scoop on… Grapefruit


Grapefruit is a large subtropical citrus fruit generally recognized for its slightly bitter and sour taste. It was first produced in Barbados as a hybrid fruit that resulted from a cross between pomelo and sweet orange. Grapefruit was named after the grape, because grapefruits grow in clusters like grapes.

Many grapefruit varieties are being cultivated in different countries such as the United States and China. The well-known varieties include those with red, pink and white pulp. Like all other citrus fruits, grapefruit is loaded with vitamin C, although this is not the only benefit that you can get from grapefruit. Here are five other health benefits of grapefruit.

1. Grapefruit Helps in Losing Weight

Grapefruit is high in enzymes that burn fats, has high water content and has less sodium. A combination of these three characteristics make grapefruit a perfect food for increasing your body’s metabolism. Try eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice every day and you will notice how quickly you lose those extra pounds.

2. Prevents Arthritis and Works as an Antiseptic

Grapefruit contains salicylic acid that helps break down the body’s inorganic calcium, which builds up in the cartilage of joints and may lead to arthritis. If you have arthritis, try drinking grapefruit juice with apple cider vinegar. You will notice a reduction in your arthritis symptoms.

The salicylic acid in grapefruit also works as a powerful antiseptic. In addition, grapefruit seed extracts can be added to water to make an antiseptic spray for treating bacterial and fungal infections.

3. Grapefruit Helps in Cancer Prevention

Lycopene is a carotenoid pigment that is responsible for the red color of grapefruit. It is a powerful agent against tumors and cancers as it acts as a scavenger of cancer-causing free radicals. Lycopene works best with vitamins A and C, which are also found in grapefruit.

An antioxidant compound, called naringenin, is also found in grapefruit. Naringenin helps repair damaged DNA in prostate cancer cells. DNA repair contributes to cancer prevention as it impedes the reproduction of cancer cells.

4. Grapefruit Helps Lower Cholesterol Levels

The antioxidants found in grapefruit are effective in reducing cholesterol levels. However, if you are on prescription drugs, do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice. Grapefruit has a negative reaction against many prescription drugs such as those used in treating depression, allergies, high blood pressure, seizures, impotence, heart palpitations and even HIV. Inform your physician if you want to use grapefruit as a regular form of treatment.

5. Grapefruit Treats Common Ailments

Eating grapefruit or drinking its juice helps treat common cold and fever, dissolve gallstones, boost liver function and enhance immunity against infections. As grapefruit contains a dietary fiber called pectin, it thus promotes better digestion. In addition, if you want to have a healthy and smooth skin, try including grapefruit in your diet.

You can get many other benefits from grapefruit because it also contains essential elements such as iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, folic acid and B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin and niacin). You can even extract oil from grapefruit peel for use in aromatherapy.