Crunchy Quinoa Salad

Crunchy Quinoa Salad 
Makes about 6 cups of salad.  Keeps 4-5 days in the fridge (not dressed), so perfect for lunch take-alongs!  Add cooked chicken for extra protein.  

1 cup quinoa (white or multi-coloured) 
1/3 cup whole or sliced almonds
1/4 red cabbage, finely shredded
1 cup grated carrot (about 1 large carrot)
1 cup broccoli florets, in small pieces
2-3 green onions, sliced

1 clove garlic
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup oil: can be a combination grapeseed & olive or one or the other

1.Preheat oven to 375°F. Place almonds on a small baking sheet and toast for 3-4 minutes. Remove, cool and chop if using larger almonds.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add in the quinoa, reduce heat slightly and boil for 10-12 minutes or until al dente.

3. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and then turn out onto a baking sheet to cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl place shredded cabbage, grated carrot, broccoli florets, green onion and toasted almonds. Fold in the quinoa.

5. Make vinaigrette: in a blender place garlic, Dijon, maple syrup, red wine vinegar, kosher salt and pepper. Blend on high for 30 seconds.

6. Reduce speed and blend in oil.

7. Toss salad with vinaigrette to taste.

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Pan-Seared Scallops with fresh tomato-lemon sauce

1 large, ripe tomato, diced (remove some of the seeds) 
1-2 green onions, very finely sliced 
1 large clove of fresh, local garlic, finely minced 
Juice of 1 lemon 
2 tbsp. good quality olive oil 
A small handful of fresh basil, torn or roughly chopped

12 Scallops*
Salt, as needed

Oil (neutral), as needed 

*KEY TIP: Purchase a U10 or a 10-20 size FAS (frozen at sea) scallop.  We buy Comeau brand scallops from Nova Scotia at T&J Seafoods in Kitchener. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.  


  1. Make tomato lemon sauce:  In a bowl mix together tomato, green onion, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil & herbs.  Season with a few good pinches of salt.  Set aside at room temperature, make up to a few hours ahead of time.  
  2. Place scallops on a paper-towel lined plate.  Remove the abductor muscle (a small, opaque white piece attached to the scallop. Some may not have one).  Season very well with salt (pepper will burn).  
  3. Pan-sear scallops: preheat a frying pan over medium-high heat.  For best results, use a stainless steel or aluminum frying pan, not a non-stick.  Preheating the pan (without any oil in it) is key to getting that crust.  Put your hood fan on!  
  4. Once your pan is hot (you'll place your hand over top of the pan, and only be able to hold it there for about 5 seconds), drizzle in a neutral oil, 1-2 tsp.
  5. Your pan will smoke so act quickly: quickly PLACE (don't drop) your scallops onto the pan.  Allow to cook for about 90 seconds, undisturbed before turning over for a further 60-90 seconds.  Good quality scallops should be served medium to medium-well (i.e. there should be a thin line of translucency in the center of the scallop). 
  6. Serve immediately in a shallow dish with tomato lemon sauce, and some warm baguette to mop up all the juices.  Enjoy!

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Quick & Easy Pulled Pork

Quick & Easy Pulled Pork
We speed this up by a few hours by starting with smaller pieces, doing a relatively quick smoke, and then finished with some moisture in the oven.  We've gone from 8-10 hours for 'pullable' pork to 3-4! 

1-8lb boneless pork shoulder 
Salt, as needed

BBQ Spice rub, as needed 
Your favourite BBQ Sauce, as needed (we used The Lancaster Smokehouse Home Sweet Home BBQ Sauce!) 

  1. Cut your pork shoulder (or ask your fave butcher) to cut it into 4 thick pieces
  2. Lightly salt and sprinkle BBQ spice rub all over pork pieces.  This can definitely be done the day before, wrapped back up in butcher paper and refrigerated.  But day of works too! 
  3. Set your smoked to 300 degrees. 
  4. Smoke pork pieces for 1 hour. 
  5. Remove to a roasting pan with a lid.  Add in about 2 cups of water (or beer!), place lid (or tinfoil) on top and continue to cook in a 325 degree F oven for 2 hours, or until pork is pulling apart with a fork.  
  6. Assess the liquid: if there is a lot of remaining liquid in pan, remove it.  You can always add it back in.  
  7. Pull pork with 2 forks in a bit of the accumulated juice 
  8. Drizzle on some bbq sauce and stir in.  
  9. Great for make ahead and then reheated (that's why you save any juices).  

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Buttertart Muffin

Buttertart Muffin
Here's how it went:  Jody wanted a buttertart.  Kirstie wanted a coffee-cake type muffin.  Thus,  the Buttertart Muffin was created!  A real treat, this one.  

1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
2 whole eggs
1 cup sour cream
½ cup brown sugar 
½ cup pecan pieces 
¼ lb butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
¾  cup corn syrup
¼ cup maple syrup
2 eggs
½ tsp kosher salt
Generous pinch of nutmeg
Generous pinch of cardamom
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350
  2. Mix together baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour. Mix together with a fork until fully combined and set aside. 
  3. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time until fully incorporated.
  5. Add flour mixture alternating with sour cream, starting and ending with dry ingredients. 
  6. Divide batter into muffin tins lined with muffin papers.
  7. Mix together pecans and brown sugar in a small bowl.  
  8. Top with brown sugar and pecan mixture.
  9. Bake in middle rack 30-35 minutes until golden and a skewer comes out clean
  10. Allow to cool in muffin tin for 15 minutes before removing and finish cooling on a cooling rack.
  11. For the FILLING: Combine all ingredients together and whisk until fully combined. We like to use an immersion blender to bring it all together.
  12. Place butter tart mixture in a heat proof baking dish and bake at 350F until just set (approximately 30-35 minutes)
  13. To bring the butter tart muffin together…
    Using the handle end of a wooden spoon or a knife to cut a hole in the centre of each muffin. Fill the hole with cooking and slightly cooled butter tart filling. 
    Allow to cool completely before eating as the sugar in the butter tart filling is very hot!
    Keep in an air-tight container for a couple of days…if they last that long

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Fresh Thai Tuna Burger

Fresh Thai Tuna Burger
Warning: this sauce has an addictive personality and would be good on just about anything!  

Thai Curry Mayo:
2 tsp. white sugar 
2 tbsp. (30ml) lime juice (1 large lime) 
2 tbsp. (30ml) fish sauce (Red Boat brand is exceptional) 
1 tsp. red Thai curry paste (Aroy D brand is preferred) 
3/4 cup mayonnaise 

1 lb. (450g). piece fresh tuna, cut into 2 steaks 
Salt, as needed 
Oil, as needed 
2 green onions, thinly sliced 
2 sprigs fresh mint, roughly chopped 
2 sprigs fresh cilantro, roughly chopped 
2-3 radishes, thinly sliced 
1/4 English cucumber, thinly sliced 
4 large pieces leaf lettuce 
4 brioche buns
Butter, as needed 


  1. Preheat a medium frying pan over medium-high heat 
  2. Season the tuna steaks well with salt and drizzle generously with oil.  Set aside while you make Thai Curry Mayo
  3. In a bowl, whisk together sugar and lime juice to dissolve sugar.  Whisk in fish sauce, curry paste and mayo until combined.  Set aside.  
  4. Place tuna in now hot pan and sear for one minute per side.  Set on a cutting board to rest for a few minutes while you toast the buns.  
  5. Add a little butter to the pan and toast cut side of buns until soft and golden brown. 
  6. Slice tuna into 1/2 inch slices and then build your burger!  Top brioche buns with mayo, tuna, green onions, herbs, cucumbers, radishes, lettuce and more Thai curry mayo as needed.  Enjoy! 

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Spring Onion Sauce

Spring Onion Sauce
Makes about 1 cup

1 bunch green onions, rough chop, green and white parts
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup water
Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  


  • This sauce can be used as a dressing over mixed greens and grilled vegetables
  • It is also fantastic over chicken, pork and fish, hot off the grill
  • It is best used immediately





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Potato Salad with House Ranch Dressing

A few key tips here to great potato salad:  first, ensure you potato cooking water is salty, like the ocean.  This should pretty much be the only salt you need for the whole salad.  Two: cook the potatoes slowly so that they do not break up. We think Yellow-fleshed potatoes are a winner here.  Lastly: toss that salad when those potatoes are hot!  
Serves 4-6 

4 large potatoes
3 slices bacon, diced up 
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 dill pickles, diced 
4 hard boiled eggs (optional)

House Ranch Dressing (recipe below)

1.  Peel and diced potatoes, about the size of playing dice.  Place potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Season generously with salt (taste the water! It should taste salty). Bring potatoes just to a boil over high heat, turn temperature down to lowest heat setting  and cook until potatoes are fork tender.  Water should barely be moving, 30-40 minutes. 

2.  Once fork tender, carefully drain and place into a mixing bowl. 

3.  Meanwhile, fry bacon: pre-heat a small frying pan over medium heat.  Add bacon and cook until crisp.  Set aside until potatoes are cooked through, then gently toss with potatoes.

4.  Stir in green onions, pickles and hard boiled eggs if using 

5.  Fold House Ranch into potatoes and bacon, starting with about ½. The potatoes will continue to absorb dressing.  Add more dressing as desired.  


House Ranch Dressing
Basically good on just about anything!  Adding in 1/2 cup of buttermilk will lighten up the texture to make it more suitable to greens such as spinach or romaine lettuce.  

1 clove garlic, finely minced with ¼ tsp kosher salt
½ cup Hellman’s mayo
1 cup full-fat Sour Cream
4-5 sprigs Italian parsley, finely chopped
4-5 sprigs dill, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. dill pickle juice
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne

  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl or jar and whisk or shake to combine.

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Donna's Date Squares

Donna's Date Squares 

Without fail, no road trip or church bake sale is complete without a batch of Donna's (a.k.a. Mamma D a.k.a. Gramma D a.k.a Kirstie's Mom) highly addictive date squares!  

This recipe is for TWO 9x9 inch square baking pans.  Because as Donna says, if you're going to make them, make them.  They freeze really well.  

3 cups rolled oats
3 cups all-purpose flour 
1/2-1 tsp salt (we like that extra bit of salt) 
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda 
2 cups PACKED brown sugar 
1 1/2 cups salted butter, softened 
1 1/2 lbs. pitted dates, cut up 
2 cups water, or, as needed 
2/3 cup packed brown sugar (second amount) 
2 tsp. lemon juice, or to taste 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F 
  2. In a large bowl combine oats, flour, salt, baking soda and the two cups of brown sugar.  Mix in ('snap) the butter in until crumbly.  Roughly divide this mixture into 4: pat one-fourth of the mixture into the bottom of one of the 9x9 pans.  Pat the other one-fourth in the bottom of the other 9x9 pan.  Reserve remaining crumble for the tops of the pans. 
  3. For the filling:  place dates, water, and second amount of brown sugar in a medium pot.  Bring up just to a boil and continue to simmer over high heat until thickened, breaking up the dates with a wooden spoon or potato masher until no large pieces of dates remain.  Add more water if necessary.   Stir in lemon juice.  Taste your mixture, make sure it is tart enough.  
  4. Let cool slightly then divide evenly amongst the pans.  Top the pans with remaining crumble.  
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until tops are lightly golden brown.  
  6. Cool completely (don't even think about it, says Donna) before cutting into squares.  Give the rustic edges to your kids, save the nice ones for the bake sale :) 


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Homemade 'Orange Julius' !

1/2 can frozen orange juice
1 1/2 cup milk
1 raw egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 banana, fresh or frozen (optional)
1 tbsp. sugar
2 cups ice cubes
water, if needed
Vodka, if using, about 1 oz per drink
  1. Place everything in blender (except water and vodka, if using).
  2. Blend on high speed until nice and frothy, adding water if necessary, about 1 minute.
  3. Pour into two classes (breakfast size)  
  4. Pour into 4 coupe classes and add vodka if using, (adult afternoon sipper)

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Miso-Soy Glazed Black Cod

Miso Glazed Sablefish


2 x 6oz filet Sablefish/Black cod


2 Tbsp shiromiso (white) miso

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tsp. rice vinegar

1 Tbsp fish sauce

½  tsp. chili garlic paste


  1. Pre-heat oven to 425°F
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or use a square baking dish. Place fish on baking sheet and season with salt. 
  3. Whisk together miso, maple syrup, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce and chili garlic paste. Drizzle about half on the fish, setting the remainder aside to sauce the fish afterwards.
  4. Roast fish in oven for 10-12 minutes. Serve immediately with extra sauce. 

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