A touching Thanksgiving for the Rome Family with Loblaws

Thanksgiving is just around the corner… in Canada at least as it will take place weekend. For our dear neighbors to the south, I am sure many are already planning their menus and trip arrangements to see family. In my family it is a small and quaint affair as this is the weekend we close the cottage. Which ever way you do celebrate Thanksgiving, the message is the same everywhere….

The love of food ties families together

Thanksgiving is about two things – food and family. Ask anyone what kind of stuffing they like, or how they prefer their mashed potatoes and there is a good chance the will say how their mom, dad or grandparent has been preparing it all their lives. These recipes are as much a part of a family’s history as the memories of the times they’ve enjoyed them.

Through the years, a family’s shared love of the food that is only theirs, ties them together. Just look at what’s on the menu for a family feast and you have a unique view of how different cultures converge to form who that family is today.

This is very much the case for the Rome family. A combination of Croatian, Ukrainian and Italian recipes all have a place at their table. After losing a vital member of their family, Matthew along with his daughter Cheryl work hard to keep the love alive through the food and gatherings of their family.

Chris Karsisiotis, store manager for the Loblaws Burnhamthorpe, was excited to have Matthew and Cheryl in-store. He said they a have a lot of “Matthew”, family members who love food and want to keep memories alive, who come into the store looking for ingredients and suggestions on how to make things taste just like they remember. At Loblaws, we’re proud of the role we play in helping to keep these traditions going.

What an awesome video. Did you need to reach out for a Kleenex like I did? I thought it was truly a touching story and family, and it makes me want to prepare a family recipe book too.

What recipes would be in your family cookbook?

This post was sponsored by Loblaws

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The Gift of Presence #givepresence

I have been thinking about the holidays and my lists are done, but I have not started anything in preparation yet. Honestly I am a little overwhelmed by the holidays this year it seems. I really need to take a step back and breath.

And it is as if Lululemon heard my call when I found out about their awesome new campaign: give presence!

We forget that this time of the year is about getting together and spending time with our families. Not just being with them but taking in their presence and giving yours back. Spend time with your neighbors too and why not get involved in your community.

It is a great reminder to put all you phones, laptops and Ipads away. Disconnect from the noise, inhale and just exhale, breathe.

Check out the #givepresence global movement all over the internet and watch this great little video reminding us to reconnect with our loved ones.

This was a sponsored post brought to you by Lululemon.

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CEE Foodie Foto Memories for RED TO REMEMBER


On December 1 it will be World AIDS Day

The “cooking red to remember” for World Aids Day is an initiative by Angela, of the blog Spinach Tiger, who lost a brother and a cousin to Aids. Read the eloquent post she wrote about her experience.

Here is a little retrospective of recipes from this blog with RED as the main color. Through theses recipes I hope you take a moment to remember those who have died and to comfort those who mourn them.

Strawberry Puff Pastry Pizza

Homemade Lobster Broth

Shrimp Saganaki

Strawberry Avocado Salsa

Fish tortilla with a citrus & vanilla gastrique radish salsa

Barbecue Tomatoes Stuffed with Oka

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A Special night: DE LA RUE AUX ÉTOILES

Everyone in Montreal is familiar with the epic Dans la Rue organization, which was Founded by Father Emmett Johns (nicknamed Pops) in 1988. This grassroots, community-based organization works with street kids and at-risk youth aged 12 to 25. The philosophy of of the organization is to help without judgment into action by providing street kids with food, shelter and support through our outreach programs.

The main ‘vehicle’ of this organization the Van and its hotdogs. The Van roams the streets of Montreal, five nights a week from 8 p.m. until the wee hours of the morning providing food, hot drinks and toiletries to youths in need. The Van is often the first line of contact with many street kids. Back in the day when I was more of a rebel I had a few friends that were runaways living on the streets. Following these friend one night I ended up  inside the Van and was handed a hotdog that I refused. I just pretend to be bad but lived well in a house with parents who loved me. I felt guilty taking that hotdog from some else who really needed it. It was a humbling experience I never forgot.

I am so honored to be included in this year’s DE LA RUE AUX ÉTOILES event, an evening of friendly competition amongst some of the city’s current most talked about chefs. This delicious evening for a good cause will take place on September 27th. Each chef is coupled with a local food blogger. I have been matched with chef Benjamin Léonard at Bocata. It’s my first time so not sure what it will involve yet, maybe it will be my chance also to help out in the kitchen with a chef in this year’s theme: the Taco.

After all I did a good job when I made this Fish tortilla with a citrus & vanilla gastrique radish salsa 😉

Ferreira Café
Le Boucan
Tuck Shop
Taverne Gaspar
Le St-Urbain (dessert station) with Van Houtte Coffee

The evening will also include amazing street entertainment and groove rhythms, while enjoying the most scenic views of Montreal. All profits of this wonderful evening of haute street cuisine will support Dans la rue, an organization helping young people get off the streets.


September 27th, 2012, 6pm
Montreal Science Centre – Le Belvédère
Ticket: $125 (receipt of $100), 10 tickets: $1,000 (receipt of $750)
Call 514-526-5222 to buy your tickets.

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Exotic Dragon Fruit Flan

Funny how a recipe can travel around the world and take different shapes, take the crême caramel for example. Of European origin, crême caramel was found in most European restaurant’s menus during the 20th century. Sometimes a crême caramel is called a flan.

But the word flan comes actually from an Old German word “flado” meaning cake and around most of the world a flan refers to a tart with a crust and a egg custard filling…except in Latin countries and North America. Sometimes a flan is called a crême caramel. Confused? Wait I am not done yet!

Now let’s look at the Pitaya, also called Dragon Fruit. I had always assumed it was an Asian fruit. After all when it arrived in the markets I frequented it was always in Asian markets or in the pile of Asian fruits at the super market and the name Dragon Fruit kind of screams Asia. Well it turns out the Pitaya is actually native to Mexico and the South and Central Americas. It was only later that they started cultivating Pitayas in Asia which is were it was re-baptized Dragon Fruit.

When I was contacted by the wonderful people at Pitaya Plus for a review I was a little confused as to the big focus on Nicaragua and not Asia. Now I now why! The fruit is in fact native to them. This company offers a unique selection of products made from the Pitaya, or as they would say the Superfruit. The company offers juices, smoothies and dried Pitaya. I think these fruit ‘chips’ are really cool and I love the crispness to it. It is leathery like any dried fruit but there is a distinctive crackle when you take a bite. The juice is not a sweet one but it is refreshing as it is also mixed with coconut water and a touch of lemon. One bottle contains 16% of your daily dietary fiber recommendation!

When the dragon fruit made its first appearance in my local markets it was a ridiculous 8.99$ per fruit so I did not go exploring. I think my first taste was of a catered platter at a function I attended. I never bothered to look into this fruit, just admired the exotic look from afar. Now the store sells them for 2.99$ a fruit. And that is a good thing as it turns out Pitayas are very good for you.

Pitayas from Central America are characterized by a red flesh (unlike the white fleshed Asian Pitayas) and are just brimming with nutrients. Each fruit is packed with natural fiber, protein, vitamin C, antioxidants and Omega-3s. Pitaya has also been known to lower and stabilize blood glucose levels for people who suffer from Type-2 diabetes, while also decreasing levels of bad cholesterol. And now for some odd facts: did you know Pitayas are one of only a few fruits that grow from a cactus, and are the only fruits in the world pollinated by bats?

As of today Pitaya Plus offers the only certified organic pitaya on the planet! Pitaya Plus is also a great story of a social mission, social responsibility and empowerment. The company supports the community by hiring and working one on one with local farmers and single mothers which are all hired above minimum wage. The plant factory is solar powered, a renewable energy. The company is clear in specifying they are not a charity, they just want create something long lasting with benefits for everyone involved. Brava!

Dried Pitaya 'chip'

I really wracked my brain when trying to come up with a recipe to test out the juice. I spent a lot of time surfing the net for inspiration. That is when I fell on flans. A Dragon Fruit Flan would definitely be out of the ordinary yet I saw it as a perfect marriage of a Latin fruit and a Latin dessert.


Ξ Dragon Fruit Flan Ξ


1/2 cup water
3/4 cup  sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup Pitaya Plus Super Juice
1/2 cup  milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Put water and sugar in a pan over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. Leave it on the flame until the mixture turns into a nice dark caramel color. Do not stir the pan while boiling. Immediately pour into ramekins.
  3. While the caramel is cooking, whisk eggs and sugar together, than add the juice and milk and mix thoroughly. Pour into ramekins over the caramel.
  4. Place ramekins in a large baking dish and fill with hot water 3/4 of the way up the edge of the ramequins . Bake for 45 minutes in the water bath until the flan is set and a knife comes out clean. Allow it to cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  5. Prior to flipping ramekin, run a knife along the sides of  flan to loosen it. Hold your deep plate tight to the ramekins and  flip.

Note the recipe make either 4 small ramekins or you can make one flan with a souffle dish, about 8 in across, like it did. In that case cooking time will be around 65-75 min approximately.

I always had a fear and a need to make a flan. As silly as it sounds single portion crême caramels turn me off but a cake sized Latin flan I adore. In a way by making this recipe I was facing my flan fears because it is very delicate in texture. And my flip was not exactly perfect as some sides broke off a little. The taste however was out of this world. My caramel was intense and a little overpowering but when I took a bite of the flan without the caramel I enjoyed a very light taste with a very subtle hint of Pitaya. It was a nice change from the usual cake or pie.

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Guilt Free Chocolate Pudding, Mortimer Winners and Film Marathon Recap

I have the two winning names in hand for the big 75$ cool kitchen gift baskets  winners! The numbers from the eligible entries were picked randomly by the store’s owners daughters: they chose numbers 40 and 60. I hope you enjoy your prizes.

Congratulations Tasty Trix and Rituparna

If you ladies want to celebrate with a great guilt free dessert let me suggest the following recipe: a healthy chocolate pudding. It is so simple, I know the recipe by heart and so do not remember the source except that it was from a vegetarian cookbook. So yes this recipe is vegetarian and dairy free. The base of the pudding is silken tofu. Unless you are an ultra fussy eater you will not even taste the tofu plus the texture will delightful.

Ξ Guilt Free Chocolate Pudding Ξ

  • 1 block of silken tofu (300 gr)
  • 1/4 cocoa powder
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 1 ground cardamom pod (other substitutes 1/4 tsp cinnamon, a pinch of cayenne, etc)

Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Spoon into 3 dessert dishes and refrigerate at least an hour before serving.  Makes 3 servings.

I’ve tried to skip the blending part once and just mix by hand….not the same and lumpy, do blend it for top results.


Each serving is a mere 128 calories, 4 gr of fat, 21 gr of carbs and 7 gr of protein.

And let me tell you I will really need a guilt free dessert after I finish all the leftovers in the fridge, especially the pies, from the CEE Food Film Marathon I hosted the Saturday at my place.

It was declared a success by all that attended and lots of non perishable food was donated plus I raised a bit of money from the raffle too.

The prizes were set

The screen was set

And there were a many guests brewing in the kitchen.

The lights were off for the presentations

The table was set, so much food this is a fraction of what was there

The people were hungry between films – small mob attacking pot-luck table

One more big thank you to my sponsors: My Cookbook AddictionNDG Food Depot and Pierre Black. I can’t wait to host the 2nd one next year. I definitely learned a lot and some thing will change but I definitely see this becoming a yearly event. Will you come next year?


Got a simple recipe up your sleeve? Enter it and thousands of people could be cooking your recipe from a special cookbook that will be in youth hostel kitchens all over the world. To submit a recipe check out how to enter.

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Cheap Ethnic Eatz food film marathon in 12 days

I am getting really pumped and trying to get organized for the upcoming event on Oct 15th, the…

1st annual Cheap Ethnic Eatz food film marathon and pot luck

A day of movies about food…with food, starting at noon and running for 12 hours. This is a private on-invitation only event as it is at a private location. Fingers crossed for a public venue next year!


The 2011 Playbill

12 pm – Babette’s Feast
2pm – Ratatouille
4pm – Coffee and Cigarettes
6pm – Tampopo
8pm – Chocolat
10pm – The Cook, his Wife and her Lover




Food and Fundraising:

This is a perfect opportunity to help out a local charity and I chose the NDG Food Depot, a place that strives to eliminate hunger in a manner that ensures dignity, community engagement and the development of human potential since 1986. The NDG Food Depot provides:

  • 700 emergency food baskets EACH WEEK
  • help and resources for immigration, employment and housing assistance
  • the Boomer Cafe, a weekly drop-in is for anyone aged 50-64
  • the Good Food Box, a bi-monthly produce-buying group collective
  • food rescue through the Zero Food Waste Network
  • 2 employability programs, BIL Project and ACTION, in partnership with Emploi Quebec
  • cooking classes, movie nights and skill-sharing workshops
  • a huge Holiday Food Drive (need 500+ volunteers on Dec 3rd 2011)

Guests are asked to bring non perishable items (need ideas?) and there will be a raffle with 3 prizes! 1$ for a ticket, 3$ for 5 and 5$ for 10. Prizes will be raffled off the day of the event.  Tax receipts will be issued for donations of $20 +. All proceeds will be donated to the NDG Food Depot. I want to send out a BIG Thank You to our sponsors! The prizes are:

♥ 2 cookbooks: Good Food to Go , donated by My Cookbook Addiction and Les Carnivores Infidèles, donated by me.

An artist’s materials and family movies gift package – donated by the NDG Food Depot

1 free consultation with Pierre Black, Health and Lifestyle Strategies – donated by Pierre Black

Not in Montreal or cannot attend? Want to make a donation to show you support, just click the button!


Will let you know how the event goes and see you next year for the 2nd annual edition!

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