Category Archives: Vegetarian

Greek Feta Summer Salad

My husband will tell you – I get on these little food kicks. I decide I love something, I eat it and eat it and eat it until I hate it. Right now one of those food kicks is Feta cheese. I’ve been known to head into the grocery store, plunk down a couple containers on the conveyor belt, go home and eat big ‘ol hunks of it at a time. Sure, maybe it’s not the BEST habit I could have gotten myself into. But it’s definitely not the worst either. While it may be high-ish in sodium, it’s also high in protein. And when you aren’t eating bread and wheat, high protein is GOOD. My husband will also tell you that I’m VERY good at justifying things 😉
 
Anyway, being on this kick, I knew I needed to make a summer salad with this to, you know, justify the amount I’ve been buying. So I thought I’d try my hand at one of those Greek-type salads with the tangy/sweet dressing. I know this salad is often made with olives. I, however, think olives taste like bung hole so I’ve omitted them. If you love them, they could be an excellent addition to this though. Same with pasta. If you have a favourite type of pasta and want to add it in, I think it would be super delicious! If you plan to do that though, I’d recommend doubling the dressing for this. Pasta tends to absorb a lot.
 
Greek Feta Salad Recipe
 
Greek Feta Salad Recipe

Greek Feta Salad

– 2 large ripened tomatoes
– 1/2 large English cucumber
– 1 chunk of Feta cheese (the piece I used was about 1.5 inches square)
– 1/4 of a small red onion (optional)
– 8 fresh Basil leaves
– 1 sprig fresh Oregano
– 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
– 1 Tsp honey
– 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– Salt and pepper to taste

– Dice Tomatoes, cucumbers and onion into small, bite-sized pieces and place into a medium sized bowl. Finely chop the fresh basil and oregano and add into bowl. Crumble in feta cheese. Drizzle in the white wine vinegar, honey and olive oil. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Toss all ingredients together lightly and serve chilled as a side with your favorite BBQ’ed meal!

 

Recipe for Greek Feta Salad

 
Do you have a favorite cool summer salad that you like to make this time of year?

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

I’m not big into fad diets or anything but in recent months I guess you could say I’ve been watching what I eat. Upon discovering my husband had super high blood pressure and cholestrol issues late last year, he was advised by his doctor to cut out all refined sugar, dairy and wheat. Within 2-3 months of doing this, we noticed a rapid weight loss in him. He looked healthier, felt healthier and upon updating his blood work it was a massive improvement – the doctor was thrilled. He had gone from exhausted, slightly over-weight, low energy with high blood pressure and cholesterol to healthy, slimmer and energetic within a few short months. Everyone around us couldn’t believe it.
 
With me being a natural skeptic and wanting to hold onto my cake and pasta for dear life, I avoided it like the plague. Sure I knew I was overweight and felt tired during the day, but isn’t that how everyone feels? If there was an excuse I could make, I made it. On a total whim though, I decided at Christmas time last year that I was going to try this. I would rid my diet of refined sugar and wheat. Mostly just to prove to my hubby that I COULD 😉 But what I didn’t know was how this change in eating would literally change my life.
 
Shortly after cutting out refined sugar and wheat, I noticed it. I dropped a jean size almost immediately (wheat had unknowingly caused me to bloat), I had bounds of energy, my blood sugar levels evened out which caused me to feel less moody and my skin became completely clear and smooth. Probably one of the greatest benefits though was the anxiety that had been so debilitating to me early in in 2012, had improved in ways that were truly immeasurable. These changes, both physical and mental, started happening in less than 6 weeks. At almost 4 months in now, I feel better than I have…probably in my whole life.
 
Now before you think I am getting all preachy and infomercial on you, I have to say that I have absolutely zero to gain by telling anyone about this. I’m sharing this here because I feel like this made such a difference in my own life that I hope others can be inspired to make similar changes for themselves. I wish more people knew. I wish more people knew how refined sugar and wheat/gluten could potentially be effecting them in ways they don’t even know. I wish people knew what they could potentially be gaining by replacing some of those processed, sugary and carb filled foods with actual real vegetables, fruits and lean meats – even a bit of dairy now and then! These things all seem like such a no-brainer, but it’s shocking to think what we consume, thinking it’s healthy, and so often we don’t even know what’s in it. Do you KNOW how many forms/names for sugar are out there?! Neither did I.
 
I’m looking forward to sharing more recipes here that fit into this lifestyle of healthy but still decadent eating. Like I mentioned above, I don’t subscribe to any one type of diet. I don’t like to put labels on what I’m doing. I know it doesn’t quite fit into any one category and I like that…because I DO like to treat myself to the odd sandwich or bit of junk food every now and then 😉 and I don’t need to feel guilty for that!
 
This past weekend we experimented with one of my favorite foods – home made Macaroni and Cheese. Because I’ve never been satisfied by the taste of wheat-free pasta, I decided I would skip the pasta completely and replace it with something I love even more – cauliflower. Cauliflower is one of my favorite things EVER. I like it raw, with or without dip, roasted, mashed, boiled and now…baked into a bowl of warm, comforting, cheesy deliciousness. This recipe is adapted from a Dr. Oz recipe. I reduced some of the cheese and used a lower fat cream to make it slightly less fatty. Though I don’t have cholesterol or blood pressure issues, I do like to make things with hubby in mind since things like this are a total treat for him!
 

 cauliflower mac cheese

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 3/4 cup 10% (half and half) cream
  • 4 tablespoons of cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan for topping
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  1.  Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Spray cast iron skillet with vegetable oil.
  2. Cook the cut cauliflower in the boiling water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well. Transfer the cauliflower to the skillet and set aside. 
  3. Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan and then whisk in the cream cheese and mustard, continuously whisking until smooth. Stir in the 1 1/2 cups of cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and whisk just until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes.  Remove the sauce from the heat, pour over the cauliflower, and stir all to combine. 

Top with parmesan cheese and bake until browned and bubbly hot, about 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

 Ottawa Food Photographer
 
Mac and cheese ottawa food photography
 
 
Do you have any recipes that you are loving right now? I’d love to hear about them in the comments – especially if they are wheat and refined sugar free! You never know – I may feature them here!
 

Sexy Fresh Salsa with Blackened Corn

I’m hesitant to just come right out and call this a food blog, but in essence, I guess that’s primarily what this is. The thing is, I love food. I love eating. I love, love, love photographing food. But I am NOT a food snob. My least favorite food related activity is the actual preparation of it. I’m a photographer at heart. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t have to shop for or cook any of it. Just have some hot man servants bring it to me, I’d style it, photograph it, and eat it of course 😉

corn skillet - Food Ottawa 

The reason for this attitude is primarily because of my lifestyle. I’m a wife, mom to two crazy humans, two pugs and a business owner. The logistics of my life are such that I cannot, even if I want to, spend hours preparing food most days of the week. If I’m being super honest, I sometimes struggle to find the energy to even turn the handle on the can opener on a can of Zoodles. I wish that was a lie.

But I oh how I love food photography. I love food styling. I would love to do this kind of work all day, every day. So in part I hope this blog will keep me accountable to continue to dedicate what time and energy I have to preparing fresh, healthy but easy food for my family. It will also encourage me to push my creativity and take the time to think of new ways to style it and photograph it more regularly. The ultimate goal for me would be to some day photograph a cook book. (OMG Did I say that out loud?!). But enough about that…

One of the things I’m loving right now is fresh salsa. Most people would group it in as a condiment but I feel like it doesn’t get enough credit. It’s one of the few dishes one can make that combines a variety of delicious fresh fruits and veggies into this mish mash of healthy, beautiful, colourful yumminess. It’s so forgiving too. Don’t have an ingredient? No problem! Just use what you have. There is really no wrong way to make a fresh salsa. And I like that.

Here’s the recipe for the one I’ve been making. You could make more or less but I find that this makes a great amount for a family meal (and then some) if you like to add it in with tacos, fajitas and like to eat with tortilla chips. For a large crowd, double this and serve it within a few hours of making it for optimal flavor mingling and visual appeal.

 
Sexx Fresh Salsa
 
 
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced.
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1/2 large avocado diced
  • 2 large, ripe hot house tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 or 1 whole mango, diced
  • 1 cob of fresh sweet corn (or 1 can of sweet corn) 
  • Handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Juice and pulp of one lime
  • Sea salt to taste

Step 1: Place all chopped ingredients into a bowl and mix together. Add lime juice and sea salt to taste. Place in fridge to let flavors begin mingling.

Step 2: Spray cast iron skillet lightly with olive oil and heat on stove on high heat for about 2-3 minutes until it’s nice and hot. Place corn into skillet, spread out evenly and allow to stand untouched for about 1 minute. Begin turning and stirring the corn, watching carefully as it begins to caramelize. Cook, stirring frequently for approximately 7-8 minutes or until it reaches a golden brown colour with bits of black. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before adding it into your salsa. Mix well and serve with your favorite mexican dish or on it’s own with tortilla chips!

 
Fresh Salsa - Ottawa Food Photographer
 
Fresh Salsa - Food Photography