(Slow Cooker) Winter Squash and Kale Soup

If you don’t love a good hearty bowl of soup in the winter… then I am at a loss for words. Soup is hands down my favourite meal when it’s cold outside, and this one is no exception — especially when you come home from a long day at work and the soup is sitting there, a smile on its face, its odour wafting through your home to welcome you back. But you can make this soup with or without a slow cooker! Hearty and chock-full of healthy veggies, I’ll be damned if you don’t go for seconds.

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Simple Bruschetta

Bruschetta is such a wonderfully fresh dish. It’s a wonderful appetizer, or works well as a light lunch when paired with a bowl of soup or a filling salad. Juicy tomatoes, basil, olive oil, crusty bread, and garlic — I mean really, what more could you want?

Granted, January isn’t the ideal season for fresh tomatoes, especially if you’re under a few feet of snow. But what better way to relive the glorious summer days than to put this on the table? It may just tide you over until June.

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Curried Tofu and Spinach

Every time my parents visit me, we go to an incredible fine foods store and they buy me a couple of totally overpriced but delicious items to test out. It’s awesome. Last time they came down, I bought a can of tikka masala sauce to make a quick curry with. So, a few days ago, when I was craving a very flavourful meal but didn’t have much time to spend in the kitchen, I grabbed the sauce, some extra firm tofu, spinach, and orzo, and had a fantastic dinner ready in no time!

Okay... so it's a bit brown. But it is SO delicious, I promise!

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Clean Green Smoothie

I know I posted about my resolutions for 2012 a little while ago, but I have a secret other resolution that I have been sticking to rather well thus far: to eat breakfast. There are SO many studies out there that have proven time and time again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I’ve never really been a fan of breakfast early in the morning. In fact, I get nauseous if I eat too quickly after getting up in the morning. It’s like my body is rejecting food while it gets out of its slumbering state.

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Coffee and Dark Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Who doesn’t love coffee and dark chocolate?!

This recipe is adapted from the sensational espresso and dark chocolate shortbread cookies recipe from smitten kitchen. I know lots of food bloggers have tried this recipe and I don’t blame anyone for raving about it because it is simply outstanding! The rolling method is also ingenious.

The only noticeable difference between my version and smitten kitchen’s is that I did not have powdered espresso, so we used instant coffee instead. The results were still fabulous.

My friend Mackenzie and I put these together over the Christmas holidays and he snapped a picture of the shortbread before we popped them into the oven... I was unfortunately included.

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Moroccan Chickpeas with Mint

One of my absolute favourite restaurants in Kingston is a café-bakery called Pan Chancho. Everything they serve is impossibly fresh and absolutely bursting with flavour. Whenever my parents come for a visit, we try to make a stop there, and last time they were down, they bought the Pan Chancho cookbook. This recipe is adapted from their own Moroccan chickpea salad.

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Pickle Juice Stir Fry

I know this sounds really weird and potentially gross, but bear with me on this one. I promise it is far from whatever you’re imagining right now. Unless you are imagining something totally delicious. In which case… right on.

When I was living with my housemates in between our second and fourth years of university, we had upwards of six jars of pickles in our fridge at any given time. It was just one of those things we had way too much of, and to top it off, one of my housemates couldn’t bring herself to throw out the pickle juice when the jars were empty. So, she had the brilliant idea of using the liquid to cook her vegetables in, and a legendary, inexpensive, and flavourful dish was born.

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Slow Cooker Southern Style Chicken with Okra, Black Beans, and Rice

My aunt gave me some birthday money back in September that I couldn’t decide what to do with. I knew I wanted something for my teeny tiny student kitchen, but I didn’t quite know what my new toy would be. As my schedule got busier and busier, with a part-time job consuming most of the “free” time I had when school was over and done with, I realized that a slow cooker may be a great fit for my increasingly hectic life. So, in December, I got my hands on my very own crock pot and got busy right away with a yummy recipe from scratch! I hope you like it as much as I did! I think I’ll be making a vegetarian chili next…

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