About laratboulos

My name is Lara and I'm 26 years old. I like to cook and bake, knit and crochet, read, eat, and be happy!

Citrus Scented Kale

It looks like summer is officially here, and to top off the gorgeous weather we’ve been having, I got my first vegetable share today! Lots of kale, swiss chard, garlic scapes and green onions, a zucchini, dill, and salad greens. Holy smokes, am I ever stoked!

My first recipe using my CSA veggies is a simple kale dish, inspired by one of my coworkers. While she uses a combination of sesame and olive oil to sauté her kale, I wanted something a bit lighter for this hot day. I opted to stick with olive oil but used the same base ingredients she recommended — garlic, green onions, and kale — with a squeeze of fresh orange juice and pulp to finish it off.

This is definitely a summery recipe! The garlic’s toasty flavour complements the brighter flavours of the greens and orange. Plus, it’s a great dish to serve hot, cold, or at room temperature.

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Zucchini Berry Breakfast Muffins

I have been baking oatmeal into lots of baked goods lately, in an attempt to create a variety of reasonably healthy and filling breakfast options. Having food ready to go in the morning has been really helpful in getting my days off to a good start the last few weeks, and this recipe is no exception.

These muffins are delightful because they combine hearty oats with fresh seasonal raspberries and blueberries. There’s nothing better than baking with fresh fruit, and I certainly miss berries in the Fall and Winter when they’re not as juicy (or affordable). Plus, the zucchini in these muffins keeps them moist and lighter than the average oatmeal muffin, so these won’t leave you feeling weighed down. Perfect for a summer morning!

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Fresh Mozzarella Grilled Cheese

We already know that I love to fancy up my grilled cheese. It’s just so much more delicious to add a few complimentary flavours to an already-amazing combo — bread + cheese = heaven!

But what happens when you combine fresh mozzarella, spinach, avocados, and sundried tomato pesto? It’s a happy tastebud explosion!

I’ve realized recently that I like using olive oil when I’m grilling my sandwiches. The oil is healthier than butter or margarine, it’s vegan, and it gives the bread a pleasant crunch without making the sandwich overly greasy. I definitely recommend giving it a try.

Crunchy, cheesy, veggie-packed sandwich!

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Summer Rotini Salad

Pasta salad is a summer classic. It’s refreshing, filling, and can be healthy as long as you choose the right dressing.

One of my favourite things about making pasta salad is that you can usually enjoy it warm as well as cold. In this salad, all of the vegetables are raw, which means that when you combine them with the freshly cooked pasta, they stay juicy and cold. This creates a nice contrast of textures and temperatures if you’re digging in right away, but this salad is equally tasty once the pasta has cooled completely.

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Peanut Butter and Banana French Toast Sandwiches

My friends Sarah, Sacha, and I got together for homemade brunch a few weeks ago and Sacha shared this amazing recipe with us. Imagine a classic PB-and-banana sandwich, dipped in french toast batter and topped with maple syrup and more fresh fruit. Doesn’t that sound divine?

Well, it was, and it was a blast to make, too. The three of us pottered around Sarah’s kitchen, slicing fruit, whisking the batter, frying the toast (I was also on tea duty — surprise! Haha), and having a great time. The best part was that we got to enjoy the fruits of our labour on Sarah’s gorgeous rooftop patio, basking in the sunshine. It was nothing short of perfect.

This recipe is very family-friendly and pretty affordable. It’s also a great way to involve kids with cooking, since some of the jobs are safe even for younger children to do (spreading peanut butter over toast, whisking the eggs and milk, etc.). So if you’re looking for something special to do with your family — perhaps in honour of Father’s Day coming up? — consider whipping these french toast sandwiches up as a family!

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Grilled Hummus Sandwich

I have been getting into grilled sandwiches a lot lately. Think gourmet grilled cheese, but not necessarily with cheese, and filled with lots of veggies and other delicious things. The possibilities when you’re making sandwiches are pretty much endless, but it’s easy to fall into old routines and get bored quickly, which is why I think grilling your sandwiches adds a new and exciting dimension to the whole process!

This particular grilled creation is packed with healthy spinach, avocado, and homemade hummus, with a touch of sundried tomato pesto for extra flavour. I try to stick to whole grain breads as much as I can, to ensure I’m getting healthy fibre and keeping my refined flour intake low. Plus, the texture of grainy bread goes so nicely with the smooth avocado and hummus.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can substitute a different type of bean dip (white bean dip is an awesome sandwich filling!) and totally different veggies, depending on what’s in your fridge and what suits your fancy at the moment. It’s an awesome vegan/vegetarian lunch option for any time of year.

I would love to throw a lunch or dinner party someday with a huge array of breads and fillings, where everyone could build their own sandwich and then have it grilled. Don’t you think that would be fun?!

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Simple Summer Salad

Oh boy have I been bad with my blogging lately! I was expecting to find that I would have more time to cook and blog once summer came around, but I’ve been surprised with how little of both I’ve managed to fit into my schedule.

On the bright side, the things I have been cooking have been really simple, fresh, and tasty, just like this salad I’m about to share. I visited my cousin in Toronto a few weeks ago and she turned me onto “chunky” salads, i.e. salads without greens in them. There’s something to be said about biting into nice big cubes of fresh summer veggies — especially when there’s also cheese involved!

This salad reminds me of a traditional Greek salad, but the choice of cheeses and the inclusion of avocado give it a bit of a new twist.

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Green Yoghurt Smoothie

I have fallen off my breakfast smoothie wagon lately, although I am still eating breakfast daily! (I am very proud of this.) However, I’ve come up with a new and delicious version of a green smoothie, which I’m happy to share today!

The original clean green smoothie recipe I wrote is still the one I revert to most often when I’m reaching for my blender in the morning. I like its light flavour and texture, and the ginger really gives it some zing! This smoothie is pretty different, as it contains both peanut putter (or your choice of substitute nut butter) and yoghurt. It is heavier and creamier, less fruity, but more protein-packed.

Either way, it’s nice to shake things up a bit and try new ways of getting my metabolism up and running in the morning, so this is a welcome addition to my breakfast rotation!

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