Are you Game? 5 Fun Things to Make with Venison


We thought it would be fun to play with some slightly more exotic ingredients and create a series of venison recipes for you. Venison has become quite trendy lately with the (justified) popularity of nose to tail eating and farm to table menus. But some people shy away from game meats like venison because they fear they will be, well... gamey! Truth is if you like lamb or other rich cuts of meat venison may soon become your new fave.

Venison has a full deep taste that pairs well with tart cherry or berry flavours. It also has a supple tender texture that lends itself to a variety of preparations. By now you may have tried it in chili (an easy entry to any new ground meat) or jerky (same idea!) It actually makes an easy substitute for beef or lamb in just about any dish and is a lower PointsPlus value, high-nutrient choice.

Deer are naturally lean animals; even farm raised venison contains less fat than other types of meat. It's also considerably lower in cholesterol and saturated fats while providing an excellent source of iron and protein.
We thought outside the box and had some serious fun using both tenderloin and ground venison in a variety of unique recipes. Hope you're game, and have fun with it too!


Follow me on Twitter @cookingwjulie

Venison Gyros with Tzatiki Sauce – Venison makes a simple swap for lamb in these Greek-inspired skewers. Let the meat marinate overnight for best flavour. An easy Greek yogurt based sauce makes this one a standout.

Thai-style Venison Lettuce Wraps – This fun "make your own wrap" dinner uses a simple stir fry preparation of diced venison tenderloin topped with flavourful garnishes.

Chipotle-Cheddar Venison Sliders – Easy savoury little sliders will wow guests at your next gathering. Please don't skip the Chipotle Sauce recipe! Even if venison isn't your thing you'll want to slather it on any burger you make.

Apple Sage Venison Breakfast Sausage – These lightly sweet and super savoury sausage patties would be a fun twist and guaranteed huge hit at your next brunch.

Mini Venison Samosas with Mango Chutney – Pre baked phyllo shells make this impressive party appetizer ridiculously easy to prepare. This one was the runaway hit with my Weight Watchers editors at the venison recipe tasting.

Categories: Cooking


Comments (see all 3 comments)


14/06/2013 3:24 AM
My partner is a hunter. We have vension often. Delish.

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Beauty Boost: The Recipe for Healthy Hair and Nails


It turns out mom was right! Remember her classic catch phrases? “You are what you eat!” and “Beauty comes from the inside out.” These prove especially true when it comes to healthy hair and nails. We all know we should be eating fewer processed foods, more vegetables and whole grains, and less sugar for overall health and weight management. What you may not know is that eating healthfully can also give you a big beauty boost! Studies have shown certain nutrients can directly contribute to stronger nails and healthier, shinier hair. Who doesn't want that? Of course, not coincidentally those same nutrients happen to be in some of the healthiest foods you can eat (think salmon, Greek yogourt, leafy greens, eggs, beans).

What exactly is it about those foods that make them both nutritional and beauty powerhouses?

Biotin (also known as vitamin H) is a fatty acid complex that strengthens nails and hair. It can improve hair that is splitting or thinning as well as help with weakened nails. A deficiency can even lead to hair loss. Great sources: bananas, beans, cauliflower, eggs, beans, peanuts and salmon

Protein intake is key when it comes to hair and nails. Both are made of structural proteins known as keratin. Adequate protein is important to provide the building blocks to grow strong hair and nails. Great sources: chicken, eggs, lean red meats, low-fat dairy, nuts, seafood, soybeans and whole grains

Omega-3s are another essential fatty acid that help support scalp health and may give your locks extra luster and shine. Deficiency in essential fatty acids can result in dry scalp or dandruff. Great sources: eggs, flaxseed, fish oil, mackerel, salmon, sardines, spinach, tuna and walnuts

Antioxidants like vitamin A and C help your body produce sebum, the oil that's secreted in your hair follicles and helps keep hair healthy. In addition, they help your body store iron, which is essential for healthy hair and giving your skin a gorgeous glow (bonus!) Great sources: leafy greens, fruits

Here are a few beauty boosting recipes I worked on to pack as many of these nutrients as possible in one delicious dish.

Let me know what you think of them!
XO Julie

Orange Ginger Yogourt Parfaits inspired by my favorite flavour of yogourt but with way less sugar. Love it for breakfast or a snack.

Spinach Salad with Poached Salmon and Vodka-Dill Dressingpoaching is a great delicate way to prepare this powerhouse. Adding vodka to the dressing is just plain fun!

Lemon-Herb White Bean Dip when I brought this for the recipe tasting bean-hating editors gobbled it up. The secret? Greek yogourt lends amazing creaminess to this light and tasty dip.

Chopped Egg Salad over Watercress with Tarragon VinaigretteA unique take on traditional egg salad. It's really beautiful to serve at a brunch buffet. Leftovers pack up perfectly for lunch.

Categories: Food


Comments (see all 3 comments)


06/08/2013 8:07 PM
There doesn't appear to be Vodka listed in your ingredients for your Vodka-Dill Dressing. How much?

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Sneak Peek at What's Coming


I recently attended a fun and information-packed new food event featuring product innovations in the health and wellness field from well-known and up-and-coming brands. I LOVE discovering and sampling new foods and noticed some common trends emerging. I thought you might enjoy a sneak peek at what's coming soon too (including a few brands based or manufactured in Canada that I'll highlight for you - always great to go local!)

Sneak in the Veggies: Several brands with lunchbox packable products geared towards children are coming out with kid-friendly packaging/foods featuring veggie purees in unexpected places (Stonyfield yogourt, Del Monte fruit puree squeezers). Great way to painlessly sneak in more fruits and veggies!

Go No-GMO: We're all concerned about GMOs in our foods and many brands are making a more conscious effort to source and label their products (breads, cereals, and snack chips) as GMO-free. Check out One Degree Organic breads and flours from Vancouver. Their products are even “veganic” (no animal by-products used in growing their grains)

Kale Craze Continues: By now I'm sure you've heard about what a super food kale is and may even be juicing or cooking with it yourself. Forward-thinking brands like Pacific foods are noticing. Try their new Black Bean & Kale Soup in a shelf-stable carton. We did and it's seriously delicious! Want to play with kale and other leafy greens more at home? My upcoming Menu Makeovers article on leafy greens will give you a grand intro on how to cook them and delicious new recipes. Here's a sneak peek! Try my recipe for Crispy Kale Chips – a fun way to introduce it into even the pickiest eater's diet.

Sensitive Snacks: Snack food companies are offering more gluten-free, allergen-free and often fibre-full options to customers with food sensitivities. We were skeptical but blown-away by the gluten-free frozen pizzas and (soon to market, standalone crust) by Better4U Foods (manufactured in Toronto!) We also snacked on chips made with lentils (you've probably seen these around) and cheese puffs made with bean powder.

A Jolt of Wellness: Popular coffee and tea manufacturers (such as Green Mountain Roasters, Republic of Tea, Celestial) were showcasing new products made specifically for pre- and post-workout as well as K-Cups featuring antioxidants and vitamins.

Hemp is the new Chia is the new Flaxseed? You may be eating or have heard about the health benefits of these omega-3-rich seeds. A new one to be on the lookout for is hemp! Manitoba Harvest was offering samples of hemp protein powders as well as shockingly delicate and delicious "hemp hearts" (raw shelled hemp seeds). I'm loving them on yogourt.

Low-Cal Cocktails: Not gonna lie, the event was made just a little bit more fun because it was a cocktail party! Riffing off the success of the SkinnyGirl line of mixers and drinks, you'll be seeing lower calorie mixers and vodkas from your favorite brands such as Smirnoff. They were there pouring some amazingly light cocktails using their new Smirnoff Sorbet Light line of vodkas.

Speaking of cocktails! One last sneak peek… I'm working on a new Fun and Fabulous article for you all about summer cocktails including PointsPlus-friendly snacks to pair with them. Let me know if you have any special requests…

XO Julie

Follow me on Twitter @cookingwjulie

Categories: Food


Comments (see all 3 comments)


12/05/2013 9:58 PM
you asked for special requests in the category of cocktails -- how about some non overly sweet ones, for those of us who prefer the dryer side of life and would normally be dry gin martini / manhattan etc drinkers...

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Secrets of a Weight Watchers Recipe Developer – Part 2


Ready for more of my secrets? In my last post I shared a few of my favourite ways to write recipes that are as low in PointsPlus values as possible while still being delicious, beautiful, and satisfying. Here are a few more for you to try:

Add veggies to make a portion look bigger. Serve foods on top of a bed of salad greens, add diced peppers or other sweet/neutral flavoured raw veggie to chopped salads, add roasted or sautéed mushrooms to dishes for a meaty texture, toss baby spinach or other leafy greens into soups and stews. These all allow for a more substantial portion (and hey, it never hurts to eat more veggies!)

Roast your veggies… preferably on parchment paper. It’s a magic combination. Roasting reduces the veggies’ water content and imparts amazing flavour to just about any veggie. Try sweet potato fries, roasted cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, mushrooms, root veggies, peppers. Preheat oven to 230°C (450°F), toss veggies with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, leave a little room between pieces, and toss/rotate pan every 20 minutes until done. As it absorbs moisture, parchment paper ensures a crisp finish and makes for easy cleanup. Hint: I often use roasted veggies as a component in other dishes.

When working with melted cheese try using a mix. I’ve written several recipes where I mix full-fat Gruyère (or other strongly flavoured cheeses) with a plainer-tasting, lower-fat cheese like part-skim mozzarella. When they melt together you’ll get a pungent Gruyère flavour with fewer PointsPlus values. I also often create spreads with reduced-fat cream cheese and top with grated cheese. The cream cheese melts in to spread the cheese throughout the dish and create a gooey satisfying feel in the mouth.

Get cute when making desserts. Sweet things in smaller portions have been trendy lately (mini-cupcakes, desserts in shot glasses, miniature ice cream sandwiches). A small sweet portion can be just as satisfying as a bigger one. Be sure to enjoy every bite!

Lightened-up cooking doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste or portion size. It’s all about tricking your eyes with a seemingly larger portion or an indulgent garnish, adding strong or bright flavours, or playing with different ingredients or techniques.

Let me know if you have luck with any of these ideas in your cooking!

XO Julie

Follow me on Twitter @cookingwjulie

Categories: Cooking


Comments (see all 4 comments)


12/04/2013 10:56 AM
Thank you Julie....great suggestions. One of my favourite go to veggie recipes is simply roasting the vegetables on parchment paper with a little olive oil, pepper and salt. They can be eaten hot, room temperature or cold. The best part is I never get sick of them and they are always declicious and satisfying. Another tip is to roast one red pepper, one eggplant with the skin, one red onion and a couple cloves of garlic & puree with 1 tbsp tomato paste for a delicious dip/spread..YUM!

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Secrets of a Weight Watchers Recipe Developer – Part 1


I love doing tastings for my Weight Watchers editors… to see and hear their instant reaction to recipes I’ve worked on for them. I always describe my thought process in writing the recipe and how I tweaked the ingredients or technique to lighten it up and keep the PointsPlus values as low as possible.

At a recent tasting one editor commented that she loved to hear all the little tricks I had up my sleeve and I thought maybe I’d share some of them with you! Over the years I’ve written hundreds of recipes for Weight Watchers and realized that I do indeed have a few proven and taste-tested tricks that I use over and over… So many that I need to divide them into two posts (darn space limitations!) Here are a few simple ones to start with:

Always add fresh herbs. They’re in just about every recipe I write and add a fresh, clean, interesting flavour with zero PointsPlus. Mint, rosemary, and parsley keep well in the fridge wrapped in damp paper towel and can be used in a variety of dishes. I’d include scallions in here as well. They make a great garnish, add colour and a light onion flavour to a dish, and are easy to keep on hand.

Punch up foods easily with spices. I have a few favourites to recommend: smoked pimenton for a lightly spicy/smoky taste, salt-free Italian seasoning blend to make anything taste like “grandma’s sauce” (in one bottle!), granulated garlic (vs. garlic powder) to add a true garlic flavour that won’t burn like fresh, and cumin for an earthy flavour in anything Mexican, Spanish, or Asian.

Use citrus in different ways. I often find myself reaching in the crisper for a lemon, lime, or orange to use the juice in a vinaigrette or marinade or to add brightness to a sauce or soup. (Chef Tip: If your soup or sauce tastes a little flat at the end, add something acidic to brighten it up – citrus juice, cider, or balsamic vinegar work well. Every chicken soup I make gets finished with some lemon juice.) I also use citrus zest in both sweet and savoury dishes to give great flavour without any additional tang (or PointsPlus).

Save high-PointsPlus-value ingredients for a garnish or topping to make a bigger impact. I’ll often top dishes with a dusting of toasted nuts, crumbled pungent soft cheeses like feta, blue or goat or sharp coarse grated cheeses like parmesan or manchego. We’ve all heard the expression “you eat with your eyes.” Reserving these for a garnish helps you notice and savour their flavour.

Swap fresh fruit for dried in dishes that need a little sweetness. I’ve added grapes, peaches, apricots, diced apple, etc. to all manner of salads (garden, chicken, grain) to give a delicious “sweet and savoury” taste without the high PointsPlus values that come from dried cranberries, raisins, etc.

Go for low-fat Greek yogourt. I’ve written blog posts about how much I love this ingredient but can’t rave about it enough! It works as a substitute (or partial substitute) for sour cream, butter, heavy cream, mayonnaise…I could go on. It’s worth it to use the low-fat version vs. fat-free for a richer mouth feel. I’ve recently used it in pureed vegetable gratins, smoothies, chicken salads, guacamole, and cream-based soups. It gives everything a rich, creamy, lightly tangy finish. Please play with it!

Hope I gave you some new tricks to try in your cooking! I’ll share more of my secrets in my next post.

XO Julie

Follow me on Twitter @cookingwjulie

Categories: Cooking


Comments (see all 6 comments)


17/06/2013 10:14 AM
I find that a lot of the WW recipes used processed foods or edible oil products or chemical substitutes that r high in sodium.

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Healthy Habits for Picky Little Eaters


As parents we all want the best for our children, including instilling healthy eating habits in them from the get-go. Unless you were blessed with an aspiring gourmand you’ve probably bumped heads with your child over eating their veggies, trying new things, or asking for treats 24x7. It’s a challenge for all parents (including me)! Here are some ideas that have worked with my daughters as well as in the kids’ cooking classes I’ve taught:

How to get them to “Eat Their Veggies?”

  • Get ‘em while they’re hungry (after nap or school). Note: this works for you too! Keep a party platter at the ready to whip out when everyone’s ravenous. The variety makes kids feel some control.
  • Prepare in different ways. Not a fan of raw veggies? Grilling or roasting softens and lends a kid friendly sweetness.
  • Try different shapes. Shredded carrots, carrot “chips” (crinkle cut cross-wise) cucumber sticks, broccoli stem “wheels” (peel and cut crosswise), baby spinach “leaves”, asparagus or green bean “sticks.”

How to get them to “Try New Things?”

  • Get philosophical. Ask “What if you never tasted a brown, crumbly cookie because it looked scary and you thought you might not like it?” You never know until you try!
  • Don’t expect them to love it instantly. Try not to let them get too used to the same meals – rotate new foods in on a regular basis so trying new things becomes the habit.
  • Get kids involved in the process. Shop for new ingredients, look for healthy recipes together online, visit the farmers market, and let them help with basic prep.
How to make “Snack Time” count?
  • Use snacks as a way to get missing food groups in your child (aka. fruits and veggies, proteins) vs. filling up on less nutritious kid-standards (crackers, cookies, goldfish)
  • Make it a family project to toss the junk. (Hey, you might find yourself snacking healthier too!) Toddlers in particular love to be just like “Mommy and Daddy”.
  • Make it fun and let them play with their food! (Note: This works at meals too.)
  • Kids love to dip (raw or cooked veggies) try yogourt, hummus, tahini, buttermilk ranch, guacamole, balsamic dressing, mayo, or even ketchup (whatever works!).
  • Give them a spoon to layer their own Greek yogourt parfaits with fresh fruit and chopped nuts.
  • Another fun option? Put out a plate of healthy ingredients, let them pile it on, and make their own wrap as in my recipe below.

Hope I gave you some new tricks to put up your sleeve!

xo J


Turkey Rainbow Wraps

I used this recipe in a cooking class for school-age kids and they all “oohed and aahed” at the pretty “rainbow” they made. Even the self-proclaimed veggie-haters gobbled it up.


  • 1 whole wheat wrap (20 cm [8 inches])
  • 30 ml (2 Tbsp) hummus or ranch dressing
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) sliced turkey breast
  • 30 ml (2 Tbsp) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) shredded red cabbage
  • 4 red pepper slices
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) shredded carrots
  • 75 ml (⅓ cup) baby spinach


  1. Gather together all your ingredients first
  2. Lay wrap down on plate
  3. Spread hummus (or dressing) across wrap, all the way to edge
  4. Layer turkey, cheese, and veggies down the middle in any order you want to create a pretty rainbow
  5. Fold in sides of wrap a little bit on top of rainbow (about 2.5-5 cm [1-2 in])
  6. Roll up tightly from the side…press down when you get to the spread to “seal” the wrap
  7. Have a grown up cut the wrap in half diagonally so you can see the “rainbow” and enjoy!

Categories: Food


Comments (see all 7 comments)


22/04/2013 9:23 AM
Can't wait to try, **** :) How many points in 1 wrap?

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Fun and Fabulous: Romantic Dinners for Two


Planning a romantic dinner for someone special this weekend? Nice! Sharing an intimate meal is a super way to get to know (or impress) someone new, spend quality time with your long-term, or pamper your stressed-out sweetie. This weekend, why not skip the diner reservation and show your date some love by cooking at home instead. Think about it: Oversized restaurant portions can leave you bloated (so not romantic!) while cooking at home slashes PointsPlus® values and lets you set the stage for a cozy evening in. It’s tricky enough to stay on track when eating out. Add first-date nerves, a glass of wine, a bread basket… and your resolve to stay on Plan may fly out the window.

Not very experienced in the kitchen? No worries! Cooking at home doesn’t have to be daunting. Our so-simple recipes will let you impress with less (time, money, PointsPlus values) and help you both avoid that new romance affliction commonly known as “love chub.” Cooking together is another fun option (not to mention getting a little hands-on with each other in the kitchen is sure to up the romance-factor.)

No matter who your special someone is, we’ve got ideas for indulgent-seeming, perfectly-portioned, PointsPlus-friendly meals that are sure to please. Just add a beautifully paired bottle of wine (we’ve got that covered for you too), some flowers, maybe a little candlelight… and see where the night takes you!

If you’ve got (or are) a meat and potatoes man try this classic French bistro-style Pan-Seared Filet Mignon with Red Wine Sauce and Celery Root Puree. What to pair with this powerhouse meal? Try a full-bodied dry red like Cabernet.

Are you entertaining a world traveler? Spanish Spiced Beef Skewers with Pimenton Roast Potatoes is your ticket. The spicy-smokiness of this dish pairs really well with a juicy Shiraz.

Do you guys like it on the spicy side? They may or may not be an aphrodisiac but these Roasted Oysters with Spicy Chimichurri and Tomato-Corn Salad will surely spice up your night. Balance the spice in this recipe with a nice dry Riesling.

Want to make them feel at home (or ahem, that you’d be a great person to share one with!?) Nothing does it better than a classic Romantic Roast Chicken with Root Veggies. This so-simple one-pan wonder will make them want to move in (be careful…we warned you!) It’s amazing with Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.

Blow away the aspiring gourmand with this ambitious-sounding but ridiculously easy Crispy Tortellini with Asparagus and Mushrooms in Brown Butter Sage Sauce. Go with a light bodied Tuscan Red (think Barbera) to perfectly complement the dish’s earthiness.

Categories: Cooking


Comments (see all 1 comments)


13/02/2013 5:46 PM
Good pointers for this old couple who will be celebrating at home together.

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Easy (and a Bit Sneaky) Intro to Tofu and Tempeh


I promised a few posts ago to revisit our “Eat More Veggies” theme with some creative ways to introduce tofu and tempeh to your diet. Haven’t tried them yet? You should! Long considered a mainstay for only vegetarians and vegans; tofu and tempeh are a great addition to any diet. They can give your dishes a protein boost and make excellent substitutes for high cholesterol meat and dairy products.

A quick rundown on the difference between the two:

Tofu is made from soymilk in a similar way cheese is made from milk. It has a soft, smooth feel and comes in a variety of textures from silken (try it pureed in smoothies, puddings, or creamy dishes) to extra firm (strong enough to hold up to marinade and grilling or pan-searing; just press slices between a paper towel first). Tofu is known for having a very mild flavour and miraculously taking on the taste of whatever you mix it with.

Tempeh is made by fermenting whole, cooked soybeans, so it retains some of the texture and fibre of the individual beans (you can still see this in the final product). It’s brownish in colour, firm and chewy with an earthy lightly sweet taste, is available in a variety of flavours, and can add a meaty texture to dishes.

Here are some easy recipes (or sneaky if necessary! No judging!) to
introduce tofu and tempeh into your diet… Let me know what you think! 

xo J

P.S.: Follow me on Twitter for more healthy cooking tips, interesting
links, recipes


Vegan Egg Salad Pita Pockets with Watercress – The perfect one to start with if the very word “tofu” makes you nervous… It truly mimics the flavour and texture of your favourite egg salad. I tried this recipe on my family as I was tinkering with it and they had nooo idea. (File this one under “sneaky”)

Mediterranean Wheat Berry Salad with Tempeh – This salad’s tangy, briny flavours (olives, capers, Dijon mustard) pair well with the unique flavour of tempeh. Easy to make ahead and serve later–this is a great way to try tempeh for the first time.

Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille with Tempeh and Pine Nuts – This recipe features my favourite (unconventional) way to prepare ratatouille… Hands off in the oven vs. time sautéing over the stove. It gets some meaty main-dish heft from the addition of tempeh.

Hummus and Shredded Veggie Wraps – File this one under “easy”! Pre-shredded veggies and store-bought hummus combine with sliced tofu in this filling, flavour-packed wrap. This recipe is a fun one for kids to help prepare (always a super way to encourage them to try new things).

Silken Tofu Mac and Cheese – Silken tofu replaces much of the cheese in this surprisingly rich version of everyone’s favourite. It’s a great way to enjoy this classic dish if you’re watching your fat and cholesterol. Taste testers couldn’t tell there was tofu in it at all.

Categories: Food


Comments (see all 3 comments)


08/02/2013 6:02 PM
the only tempeh I saw in the store was salt-heavy. Is it all like that?

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Easy Little Recipe Ideas… for a Holiday Wine Pairing Party


A few posts ago I mentioned I was working on a fun new series of articles about PointsPlus-friendly wine and food pairings. I’m so excited to let you know that the first few articles in the series are online!  What better time than the holidays to enjoy perfectly paired food and wine? 

Series Intro: A bit of wine education

Pairing 101:   Some basic pairing principles to get you started

Celebrate the Holidays: Wines to serve with classic holiday meals and
creative “bring a bottle” gift ideas

As a kickoff to the series I hosted a small plates tasting-and-pairing party for my editors last week. We sampled some of the suggested pairings from the article about holiday entertaining (menu below). I thought I’d share these easy little light recipe ideas (and wines to pair) with you now… in case you’re hosting for the holidays over the next few weeks. Enjoy!

XO Julie

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What I’m working on, recipe
ideas, interesting links

Our Holiday Tasting Menu

Champagne with... Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Canapés

Champagne (or any dry bubbly – a Rose would be beautiful here too) pairs so well with these canapés. To make: layer a small piece of smoked salmon on a cucumber slice, top with a mixture of light cream cheese, minced red onion, and lemon juice (to taste). Garnish with a sprig of dill and done! Beautiful.

Sauvignon Blanc with... Herbed Goat Cheese on Endive

The crisp grapefruit notes in Sauvignon Blanc are perfectly matched to the tart grassiness of goat cheese. I mixed some room temperature goat cheese with a bit of skim milk to thin, then folded in minced chives, parsley, salt, and black pepper. I piped the mixture onto individual endive leaves and garnished with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt before serving.

Off Dry Riesling with... Smoky Pimenton Grilled Shrimp

A great example of opposites attracting, this pairing was the hands-down favorite among party guests. Slightly sweet Rieslings make the perfect mouth-cooling foil for spicy dishes… in this case shrimp that was briefly marinated in a sherry vinegar/spicy pimenton/garlic/olive oil dressing. Haven’t cooked with smoked pimenton yet? Please try it! This uniquely spicy paprika imported from Spain lends everything a deliciously smoky heat. It’s a favorite of mine!

Shiraz with... Cumin and Garlic Grilled Beef Tenderloin Skewers

The lightly sweet BBQ-smokiness in a good Shiraz takes so well to the richness of grilled beef. In this dish I used cubed, lean, beef tenderloin that was treated with a nice cumin-garlic rub before skewering and grilling. Perfect for the meat-eaters in your life…but still PointsPlus-friendly.

Cabernet with... Blue-Cheese-and-Bacon-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

A tannin-heavy wine like Cabernet holds up well to the richness of blue cheese and crispy fatty bacon. For this light bite I mashed triple-cream blue cheese with a bit of light cream cheese, lowfat milk, and black pepper. This creamy mix was piped onto cherry tomatoes and topped with a bit of crispy bacon and a sprinkling of chives. The blue-cheese-bacon flavour packs a punch without a big impact on PointsPlus values. A perfect example of everything in moderation!

Port with... Dark-Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Port is a natural when paired with dark chocolate. For a simple, sweet finish to your party try serving dark-chocolate-covered strawberries (party planning time-saver! purchase these at your local candy shop) with a sip of port. An easy way to enjoy a festive, decadent-seeming dessert in a PointsPlus-friendly portion.

Categories: Food


Comments (see all 3 comments)


14/12/2012 9:24 PM
I don't drink alcohol - but all the canapes and finger sound so good! Definately trying this this winter vacation for entertaining! Grilled Shrimp ones and the goat cheese and endive sound like exactly my kind of nibbling food.

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Eat Your Veggies! Accidentally Vegan Recipes


I’m often asked for vegetarian and vegan recipe ideas as well as creative ways to encourage kids to “Eat Their Veggies.” Seems it’s a common (and so worthwhile) healthy-eating goal for many! I thought maybe I’d make my next few posts a little veggie-centric for you.

For this first post I’m focusing on dishes I’ll call “accidentally vegan” – recipes I’ve written for Weight Watchers that wound up being vegan without meaning to! When I’m assigned recipes to develop I’ll sometimes get requests for dishes like “a hearty winter stew” or “side dish with quinoa”. I recently realized that in many cases I inadvertently develop the recipes to be meatless/dairyless/eggless without it being a specific requirement. Weird right? Maybe it’s because I’ve always loved vegetable and bean based dishes? One of my all-time favorite childhood dinners was my grandma’s pasta fagioli. Soooo good.

While I readily admit to an ongoing love affair with bacon cheddar burgers I’ve also never felt a need to include meat at every meal to feel satisfied. I often combine veggies, beans, and grains in unique ways with fresh herbs and/or different spices in my cooking. I joked in my initial blog post about convincing my “meat’n’potatoes” husband that meatless meals can be filling and delicious. He’s a big fan of the dishes below and hopefully you and your family will be too!

Next veggie posts? Tasty recipes with tofu and tempeh (yes, it’s possible!) and ideas to convert your pickiest little (or big!) ones into veggie-eaters.

Accidentally Vegan Recipes

Curried Roasted Cauliflower with Chick Peas, Currants, and Pine Nuts
– roasting cauliflower brings out it’s nutty sweetness…it’s my favorite way to prepare it!

Gingered Red Lentil Stew with Brown Rice and Sweet Potatoes – ginger and sweet potatoes lend this one a lightly sweet, kid-pleasing flavour.

Lemony Quinoa Tabouli with Chick Peas – you may have heard how quinoa is a unique source of “complete protein” – it also happens to have a delicious nutty flavor and is a natural for making tabouli.

Vegetarian Minestrone Soup with Escarole – total comfort food and a great way to sneak greens into your diet – leave out the dusting of parmesan at the end if you want to keep it vegan.

White Bean Stew with Spinach, Tomatoes, and Roasted Peppers – I love making bean-based stews where you lightly mash the beans for a thicker consistency… I also do a spicy version of this dish subbing chick peas for the cannellini beans and adding cumin/cayenne/ginger for a nice kick. This is a great one for busy weeknights because the ingredients are super-easy to keep on hand and it comes together quickly in one pan.

Categories: Food


Comments (see all 5 comments)


16/01/2013 2:30 AM
Sharing these delicious recipes! Thanks!

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