The scoop on…

The scoop on… Lemons

  • Lemon is an excellent and rich source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient that protects the body against immune system deficiencies
  • Lemons contain pectin fiber which is very beneficial for colon health and also serves as a powerful antibacterial
  • It balances maintain the pH levels in the body
    Having warm lemon juice early in the morning helps flush out toxins
  • It aids digestion and encourages the production of bile
  • It is also a great source citric acid, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium
  • It helps prevent the growth and multiplication of pathogenic bacteria that cause infections and diseases
  • It helps reducing pain and inflammation in joints and knees as it dissolves uric acid
  • It helps cure the common cold
  • The potassium content in lemon helps nourish brain and nerve cells
  • It strengthens the liver by providing energy to the liver enzymes when they are too dilute
  • It helps balance the calcium and oxygen levels in the liver In case of a heart burn, taking a glass of concentrated lemon juice can give relief
  • It is of immense benefit to the skin and it prevents the formation of wrinkles and acne
  • It helps maintain the health of the eyes and helps fight against eye problems
  • Aids in the production of digestive juices
  • Lemon juice helps replenish body salts especially after a strenuous workout session

Where to go: Toronto {Introducing Furlough}

Tin ceilings, marble bars, vintage paintings, fresh oysters… mixed with my favourite place to drink {Bar Chef}

Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce to you… Furlough

I know I’ve raved before about BarChef and my long complicated relationship with the Hickory smoked Manhattan.  Once the word travelled around the city about this hip little bar with a speakeasy vibe, it became more and more difficult to obtain a seat.  It was the place to be, from the molecular cocktails to the hand chipped ice block… it was all about the details.

Furlough is the place to be, any night of the week.  Serving a mixture of small and large plates, including a platter of East Coast oysters, a pillowy pain au lait roll stuffed with foie gras and caramelized apples; and a creamy squid ink risotto with seared scallops.  It doesn’t end there… Furlough’s cocktail list is divided into 16 spirit-forward classics and 16 original recipes that make use of house made syrups, bitters and booze-soaked fruit.  They also have a short wine list, eclectic microbrews and absinthe.  With weekend brunch service scheduled to start this spring.  This is the spot to watch for 2015 in Toronto. Get there.

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Trend Alert {2015} High contrast pattern mixing

942140e4366406a29b073393fdd79768 Summer/Spring 2015 style is all about having fun with your wardrobe.  Your closet might already be full of stripes, florals, dots and plaids, but you probably only typically wear one patterned piece at a time. This season, step out of your comfort zone and explore the world of prints and patterns.  When done right, mixed prints can look fabulously high- fashion and breathe new life into your wardrobe.  The key to becoming comfortable with mixing patterns is to select a base colour and pick very different patterns in the same family that wont compete with each other.  Have a look at these examples of high contrast pattern mixing and try it yourselves!


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The scoop on… Ginger

238d0b4a4f5adb087792c3693b4b03aeThe Benefits of Ginger

Maintains Normal Blood Circulation.

Ginger contains chromium, magnesium and zinc which can help to improve blood flow, as well as help prevent chills, fever, and excessive sweat.

Remedies Motion Sickness.

Ginger is a known effective remedy for the nausea associated with motion sickness. The exact reason is unknown, but in a study of naval cadets, those given ginger powder suffered less.
Improves absorption. Ginger improves the absorption and stimulation of essential nutrients in the body. It does this by stimulating gastric and pancreatic enzyme secretion.

Cold and Flu Prevention.

Ginger has been used for thousands of years as a natural treatment for colds and flu around Asia.  To treat cold and flu symptoms in adults, steep 2 tbsp. of freshly shredded or chopped ginger root in hot water, two to three times a day

Combats Stomach Discomfort.

Ginger is ideal in assisting digestion, thereby improving food absorption and avoiding possible stomach ache. Ginger appears to reduce inflammation in a similar way to aspirin and ibuprofen

Reduce Pain and Inflammation.

Ginger contains some of the most potent anti-inflammatory fighting substances known and is a natural powerful painkiller.

Fights Common Respiratory Problems.

If you’re suffering from common respiratory diseases such as a cough, ginger aids in expanding your lungs and loosening up phlegm because it is a natural expectorant that breaks down and removes mucus. That way you can quickly recover from difficulty in breathing.

Ovarian Cancer Treatment.

Ginger powder induces cell death in ovarian cancer cells.

Strengthens Immunity.

Ginger helps improve the immune system. Consuming a little bit ginger a day can help foil potential risk of a stroke by inhibiting fatty deposits from the arteries. It also decreases bacterial infections in the stomach, and helps battle a bad cough and throat irritation.

Combats Morning Sickness.

Ginger has demonstrated a success rate of 75 percent in curing morning sickness and stomach flu.





The Scoop on… Almonds


Almonds are packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber, and are associated with a number of health benefits. Just a handful of almonds, approximately one ounce, contains one-eighth of our necessary daily protein

Wonderfully delicious, almonds have long been revered as the epitome of wellness and health. The nuts are among the richest sources of health-benefiting nutrients essential for optimum health.

Botanically, they are the fruits from medium size tree belonging in the family of Rosaceae, in genus: Prunus. The plant is a deciduous tree, native to mineral-rich West-Asian mountain ranges that provide fertile conditions favorable for their growth. In recent years, it is being cultivated in many regions of the world as an important commercial crop.


Health benefits of Almonds

Almond nuts are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals and packed with numerous health promoting phyto-chemicals. These nuts compose of well-balanced food principles that are essential for optimum health and wellness.

Almonds are the complete source of energy as well as nutrients. The nuts, especially, are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic, and palmitoleic acids that help in lowering LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increasing HDL or “good cholesterol” in the human body. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet, which is excellent in monounsaturated fatty acids, help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.

The nuts are an excellent source of Vitamin E. Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining cell membrane integrity of mucus membranes and skin by protecting from harmful oxygen-free radicals.

Almonds are free in gluten, and therefore, are one of the popular ingredients in the preparation of gluten-free food formulas. Such formula preparations are, in fact, healthy alternatives in people with wheat food allergy, and celiac disease.

The nuts are packed with many important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates. Altogether, these vitamins work as co-factors for enzymes during cellular substrate metabolism.

Furthermore, almonds are also an incredible source of minerals such as manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.

Almond oil, extracted from the nuts, can be employed as an emollient. Applied regularly, it helps keep skin well protected from dryness. Additionally, the oil is used in cooking in Iran, and Turkey. It is also used as “carrier or base oil” in traditional medicines in aromatherapy, in pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries.


Cooking with Almonds…

Have a look below at a few my my favourite almond recipes.


Almond & Bacon Brussel Sprouts

6 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used turkey bacon)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 pounds large Brussel sprouts, trimmed and quartered
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Salt and ground pepper

-Place the bacon in a large skillet and fry over medium heat until the fat renders and the bacon is crisp.

-Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.

-Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat from the skillet. Add the olive oil, garlic, and almonds to the skillet.

-Saute over medium heat until the garlic is fragrant, about one minute.  Add in the trimmed and quartered Brussel sprouts and the soy sauce.

-Cook, stirring frequently, until the sprouts are tender – about 6-8 minutes.

-Stir in the bacon; season with salt and pepper to taste.

-Serve warm.

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Spicy Almond Cider

This spiked hot apple cider recipe combines Mediterranean spices like cloves, allspice and cinnamon along with Disaronno Italian Liqueur. It’s the perfect flavour for fall.  Delicious.

Author: The Mediterranean Dish

4 cups apple cider
½ cup orange juice
8 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
½ tsp ground allspice
pinch nutmeg
Disaronno Italian Liqueur

Place all ingredients except the liqueur in a heavy saucepan or pot. Heat on medium-high until cider begins to bubble. Now lower heat and let simmer on low for about 10 minutes or so. Stir occasionally.
Prepare four serving cups. Pour 1 to 1.5 ounces into each cup. Top with the hot cider. Stir briefly.
Let spices settle into the bottom. Enjoy!



Almond Crusted Mac & Cheese


12 oz. (350g) elbow macaroni or other small, short-cut pasta
2 cups (475 ml) milk
3 tablespoons (55g) butter, plus extra for greasing the baking dish.
3 tablespoons (23g) flour
1 3/4 cups (about 150g) shredded cheese (preferably aged cheddar)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
a handful of ground almonds


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until it’s just underdone (not quite al dente). Drain and run the pasta under cold water to stop the cooking process. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk until it just comes to a simmer, turn off the heat, and set aside. In a large pot set over medium heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the flour is cooked and the resulting roux is a light brown color. Whisk in the heated milk and stir constantly for about 3 minutes, until thick and smooth.

Stir in the cheese and the mustard until it’s all melted together and well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the pasta into the pot and stir to combine.

Pour the mixture into a buttered baking dish and sprinkle with the ground almonds.

Bake for about 25 minutes, until bubbly.