Bruschetta recipe—from a real Italian

A great recipe when you’re hungry, want something quick and need to fill up your fruits and vegetables group for the day. Makes a fantastic high-in-demand item for parties! (But be prepared for the incessant chanting of “More, more!”)

Juicy tomatoes drizzled in olive oil over a crunchy panini. Photo credit: iStock

Ingredients

  • 1 panini, cut in half length-wise (so it opens like a sandwich), producing two pieces of bread
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • dried oregano

Directions

  1. Heat bread in toaster oven at 325°F convection until surface is lightly crunchy.
  2. While bread is heating, dice tomato and put in bowl. Add salt for taste.
  3. Cover tomatoes with a rich layer of olive oil.
  4. Lightly sprinkle dried oregano over the tomatoes.
  5. When bread is lightly crunchy and has been removed from toaster oven, spoon the delicious tomato concoction over, making it as heavy or as light as you wish, depending on your love for tomatoes versus bread.
  6. Heat bruschetta in toaster oven at 325°F convection until tomatoes are warm and before the bread becomes too hard. Serve to satisfy very eager stomachs!

Serves 1 (multiply by number of guests or depth of hunger)

Daily food group servings
Grain: 1 (per piece of bread—so cutting a panini in two = 2 servings)
Fruits&veg: 1 (per tomato)
Dairy: 0 (You may add a layer of cheese under the tomato. Most use soft cheese but I feel a strong, hard cheese adds a kick!)

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    Nacho dip recipe—supreme it or basic, both yummy!

    Health tip: Buy nachos that are baked, such as Garden Fresh Gourmet chips, and unsalted. The unhealthy part of this meal lies in consuming too many chips.

    Ingredients

    • cream cheese or sour cream (I prefer cream cheese for this dip)
    • salsa
    • cheddar cheese, shredded
    • lettuce, sliced (thin strips somehow taste yummier!)
    • tomato, diced
    • black olives
    • green onions (soooo good!)
    • a bag of nacho chips (I recommend a healthier, baked version, such as Garden Fresh Gourmet chips)

    Directions

    For a basic version, follow steps 1-3 (and of course #8, the best part!!). For a supreme delight, continue.

    1. Smooth cream cheese over a plate, covering the entire base.
    2. Spread a layer of salsa over cream cheese (quantity varies depending on your taste).
    3. Sprinkle a layer of cheddar cheese over salsa.
    4. Add a layer of lettuce strips.
    5. Sprinkle diced tomatoes over lettuce (yumm…).
    6. Sprinkle black olives over dip.
    7. Sprinkle green onions over dip.
    8. Grab a chip—and dip!

    Daily food group servings
    Grain: 1 (depends on how healthy you consider chips to be)
    Fruits&veg: 1
    Protein alt: 0 (add
    Yves veggie ground over lettuce, or refried beans under cream cheese, for protein)
    Dairy: 1
    *These quantities vary based on how much you snack on!

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      Confessions of a Vegetarian: I have an obsession

      Last night, I dreamt that the food court near my house had been redesigned and my first fear was this: Did they take away the Taco Bell?

      A dream

      I was walking through the mall when the familiar sights faded into one shocking image: three tiny food counters, and one huge green restaurant. Where is the Taco Bell?! I wondered frantically. I scanned the parameters, my heart beating. There was a KFC; that wasn’t there before, and Taco Bell is their partner. Could it be?

      And yes! The signature Taco Bell purple was splashed across KFC’s counterface. Relief washed over me like a pack of Taco Bell hot sauce (I love those).

      I waded through the green restaurant in search of Taco Bell. Finally, I spotted a woman preparing tacos and I approached her. “I love Taco Bell,” I told her. “I’ve been coming here for years—”

      She cut me off: “We don’t have any job posi—”

      “I don’t want a job,” I told her quickly, “I already have one. I wanted to tell you not to go out of business.” The woman’s face lightened up. “This is the only Taco Bell near my house and I need you to stay here. They took away the other Taco Bell where I used to go. Don’t go out of business!”

      So…has anyone else dreamt about food in this insane manner?

      Note: The beginning of the dream has been exaggerated for your enjoyment. However, the Taco Bell obsession is as true as it seems…

      A common knowledge

      It’s common knowledge that I have loved Taco Bell for the past 7 years. Sure, I ate it before then, but I didn’t become addicted to it until 7 years ago. Ever since, I need Taco Bell, crave Taco Bell, and eat Taco Bell at any opportunity.

      It’s not like I go out of my way to find it, but if I know it’s in the area, I plan my schedule so that I can end up with that burrito or taco supreme in my hands by the end of the day. As you can tell by the recipes on this blog, I have a thing for Mexican food (or our version of it). Yummy!

      As a vegetarian, I find it difficult to procure a “good” fast food meal while on the road. When my family goes on a trip, I hope there’s a Taco Bell in the area. If not, say hello to veggie burger, and say good-bye to a salad (I’m not a rabbit–I need more food than that!).

      Do you have a favourite vegetarian-friendly fast food joint?

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      Confessions of a Vegetarian: I missed the past couple blogs for a party! (and I didn’t finish my vegetables)

      What happened to the daily updating that was going on?

      That’s what you may be asking, and I ask myself the same thing. Things have gotten very busy this week with school and my writing. Last night I attended a “fun-raiser” for On the Danforth magazine. It was so much fun!

      On a vegetarian topic, I would like to thank my friends for mothering me to eat my vegetables. I ordered a veggie fajita and the stuffing encompassed cooked carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onion, and red and green peppers.

      I don’t know about you, but I don’t eat vegetables in my fajitas unless they’re red or green peppers (see my taco recipe). Haven’t they heard of beans I am proud to say I ate my vegetables! Not all of them, but I did snack on some broccoli and carrots. Thank you, dear supportive friends who read my blog and reminded me of my beanian way of life.

      PS. You’d be happy to know I took the initiative to eat an orange today; that’s the first time I ate an orange without someone proposing it first. I love the idea of oranges, but not oranges themselves. They’re growing on me! (Not literally, thank goodness.)

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      Easy Way to Eat Healthy—The 4 Food Groups

      Are you getting your body the proper nutrients it needs?

      The Canada Food Guide says you should be consuming approximately:

      Grain products: 6-8 servings
      Fruits & vegetables: 7-10 servings
      Protein alternatives: 2-3 servings
      Dairy: 2-3 servings

      Notice you need more vegetables than protein?

      For vegetarians, it’s very important we concentrate on what a non-meat diet is prone to lacking, which means protein, vitamin B12, and minerals like iron, niacine and zinc.

      It’s easy to eat healthy

      My method: If you eat dinner with your family and have less control over the menu, find out early in the day what your meal will be, and plan a lunch and snacks that fulfill whichever needs are not met by your dinner.

      Helpful tip: If your dinner will be rich in protein and grain products, be sure to eat many servings of vegetables for lunch, with fruits for snack.

      Proper Serving Sizes

      Grain products: the size of your palm = 1 serving
      Pasta: ½ cup of pasta = 1 serving
      Fruits and vegetables: the size of your fist = 1 serving
      Cheese: two thumbs put together (or one thin slice of cheese) = 1 serving
      Meat and alternatives: the size of your palm or of a deck of cards = 1 serving
      Juice: Drink Tropicana or 100% real fruit juice. 120 mL = 1 portion of fruit juice, NOT a 450 mL Minute Maid bottle.
      Milk: 120 mL
      Yogurt: 175 g = 1 serving, NOT a cute 100 g package of yogurt

      How this blog will help you

      Daily food group servings
      Grain:
      Fruits&veg:
      Protein alt:
      Dairy:

      This is something new you’ll be noticing on the blog. At the end of each recipe post, I will provide you with the daily food servings calculated for you. For eating healthy on a dialy basis, you may find it easier to keep track of your meals in a notebook. At the bottom of the page, tally up your daily food group intake.Good luck!

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      Nachos recipe—Quick and EASY!

      Okay, I eat this almost every night. I once ate it daily for a year, but nachos are better meant as a sort of dessert every once in a while. You KNOW you love nachos! They make a great snack for any party and can be modified to accommodate your favourite ingredients.

      Health tip: Buy nachos that are baked, such as Garden Fresh Gourmet chips, and unsalted. The unhealthy part of this meal lies in consuming too many chips.

      Photo credit: iStock

      Ingredients
      Note: You can omit the sour cream, green onions or black olives if desired.

      • 1 small aluminum pan
      • 1 cup nacho chips
      • 1 cup salsa
      • ½ cup cheddar cheese
      • 2 tbsp sour cream (optional)
      • 1 stem of a green onion, chopped (optional)
      • black olives (optional)

      Directions

      1. Preheat toaster oven (or oven) to 325°F convection.
      2. In the aluminum pan, lay out one layer of nacho chips.
      3. With a spoon, sprinkle the desired amount of salsa across the chips. Optional: Repeat step with sour cream.
      4. Sprinkle cheddar cheese across all the chips, over the salsa.
      5. Over the cheese, sprinkle green onion and black olives.
      6. Repeat all steps for the desired number of layers. (Recommended: 2 layers per person, 4 layers max in one aluminum pan.)
      7. Cook until cheese melts.

      Serves 2 layers per person

      Homemade nachos with Yves veggie ground

      What are your favourite nacho ingredients?

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        Chick Peas discussion

        How do you prepare your chick peas? I eat them cooked in tomato sauce with an addition of a thin pasta or pasta shells. The other method is cooked plain with parsley and a bit of moisture; it acts as a great snack!

        How about you?