Summer is around the corner, and with the beautiful warmer weather comes salads. Pasta and potatoes salads are delicious but can be a bit tricky during the warmer season, and leafs salads are better eaten fresh and do not travel well. So my alternative for potlucks and picnics, Tabbouleh.

I had my first taste of Tabbouleh while attending an international night on campus during my last year of university. I just fell in love with the flavors and was surprise of how refreshing this salad was.I did buy a box-just-add-water-and-tomatoes a long time ago and was disappointed. Sometime our grocery store would have tabbouleh in their ready-made salad bar, but I knew there should be a way to get all the ingredients and make it at home for much cheaper.

The salad itself is super easy and quick, and the ingredients are few. My guess for all of you busy parents with kids who want, to eat right now, this salad will be for you.


tabbouleh salad

Tabbouleh (large salad, serve 6-8 )


  • 1 1/2 cup of Bulgur
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 3 large tomatoes, cubed (or about 1 1/2 cup of cubed tomatoes of choice)
  • 10 green onion chopped
  • 1 long English cucumber, cubed
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  •  2 tsp of Paris Bistro finishing sauce (optional, but if you omit it, I would suggest adding 1 clove of garlic crushed)

tabbouleh salad


  1. In a large bowl, pour the boiling water over the bulgar, add the lemon juice, salt and olive oil. Cover with a plate and set aside for 10 to 20 min
  2. Wash and chop all the vegetables and herbs
  3. mix all the ingredients together and put in the fridge for 1 hour before serving (the flavors will develop during this period, it;s even better the day after!!!)
  4. Pour the finishing sauce all over the Tabbouleh and mix well.
  5. Serve and Enjoy!

Tips : This salad is delicious as a side. You can scoop it with pita bread or nachos chip if you are on the go.

Black Currant scones

When you have a house full of girls you might have to attend or host a few tea parties. Today was one of the girls birthday and we enjoyed a nice tea party with family. The birthday girl help me make some delicious scones just for the occasion.

Black Currant Scones

Black Currant Scones

This is a quick and easy tea time treat.


  • 3 1/2 cup of flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup butter cubed (cold)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup of black currant
  • zest of 1/2 of an orange
  • 1/2 of a nutmeg freshly grated
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of sour milk (add 2 tsp lemon juice to milk and rest for 10 min)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Black Currant Scones

Tea Party


  1. Preheat the oven at 400 degrees
  2. In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices)
  3. Add the cold cubed butter to the dry ingredients and rub with your fingers or a pastry cutters, until it looks like breadcrumbs.
  4. Stir in the sugar, orange zest and currants
  5. Pour the milk, vanilla, egg and mix with a wooden spoon or by hand until all the wet ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over-mix
  6. Turn the dough on a floured surface and roll until you reach 1 1/4 inch thick and start cutting with a cookie cutter.
  7. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 12 to 15 min or until the top or golden brown.Cool on a cooling rack.

Black currant scones

It’s hard to believe that my oldest turned eight today. So many things happened in the last eight years, it’s been an interesting ride. Eight, is no longer a baby and yet not a teenager. Seeking independence, but yet still needs me or lots of things. I have to admit eight is a good number of years to train them to be good helpers in the kitchen, and of course they are always willing to be taste tasters at that age.

Here a few pictures of this afternoon tea party

Tea Party

Tea Party


Tea Party

Tea Party

Tea Party

Have yourself a good evening!

French Macarons

I have seen pictures of French Macaron all over pinterest, instagram and facebook. They look amazing and just mouth-watering. I would not call myself a baker, so the idea that I could bake those little clouds of sweetness was absurd. After many hours reading at different recipes and watching youtube videos, I decided to take the plunge and try to make them.

French macaron

To my understanding there is a few trick that can make your adventure a success

  1. Sifting the almond meal and the confectioner sugar with prevent clump and lumpy texture to the cookie.
  2. For the meringue having the eggs room temperature is a must.
  3. Mixing is important.  Over-mixing and you have a cracking crusty mess, under-mixing and the batter will spread out too much and you will not have the desired round shape. Fold the meringue until it falls ever so lightly, or a thick ribbon that follows the spatula.
  4. Getting rid of air bubbles, this is the fun part. After piping the macarons on the cookie sheet, you need to lift and tap it several time on the counter until the air bubble comes to the surface. You can also use a toothpick to help.
  5. resting period to let the macaron create a “skin” or layer to their surface. This will be crucial to the formation on “feet”
  6. Baking in a well heated oven, even if it means heating it for 30 minutes before putting the macarons in.

French macaron

Ingredients for the Macarons (makes about 24)

  • 3 eggs whites room temperature
  • 50g white sugar
  • 200g confectioner sugar
  • 120g almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

French macaron


  1. Preheat the oven at 300 degrees
  2. Whip the eggs until frothy, add the cream of tartar and gradually incorporate the sugar little by little. Whip until stiff glossy peak and add any food coloring at this point if needed (keeping in mind that during the baking the batter will lose some of the coloration, better go a shade or two darker before baking)
  3. Fold the sifted sugar/almond flour into the egg until thick ribbon are formed
  4. Transfer to a pastry bag and pipe out 1 inch rounds on a baking sheet that you have lined with parchment paper.
  5. Tap hard on the counter until air bubbles comes to the surface and if needed use a toothpick to assist you. Let them sit for 30 to 1 hour
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes

French macaron


  • 250 g of cream cheese
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3-4 cups confectioner sugar
  • Zest on 1 lemon

Mix all the ingredients together until smooth creamy texture, pipe some filling unto the back of the cookie and top with another and voila a macaron sandwich!


Mastering the Art of French Cooking Challenge : week 1

Who doesn’t like a challenge? If you have seen the movie Julie&Julia, what are you waiting, go watch it now. You might have heard about Julia Child and her cookbook, cooking show and also about Julie Powell the blogger who went trough “Mastering the art of French cooking” within a year and blogged her way trough it.

I am in no way trying to replicate the challenge, but I am going to try to post pictures here of recipes tried from Julia Child’s cookbook. If you know me personally, you would know that I rarely follow any recipe exactly the way they are written, I use recipes as a source of inspiration. My weekly challenge is to get inspired by the cookbook and share this adventure with you all.

Here is what I made this week

Tomate à la provençale (Tomatoes Stuffed with bread crumbs, herbs, and garlic)

Tomate à la provençale
(Tomatoes Stuffed with bread crumbs, herbs, and garlic)


Ratatouille (Eggplant Casserole – With tomatoes, onions, peppers, and zucchini)

Until next week

Nutty Butternut Squash Muffins

This is the story a muffin that likes to dress-up like a cupcake. It is a delicious muffin all own its own, and made out of vegetable so it’s somewhat healthy. But if you want to bring this muffin to a whole new level, top it off with lemon cream cheese frosting.

Butternut squash muffin

What you will need (makes 24 muffins)

  • 400g Butternut squash, washed and cubed
  • 300g sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Maple syrup
  • 100g all-purpose flour
  • 200g graham cracker crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup pecan nuts ( plus more for decorating)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

For the icing view this post, the icing is optional but give an extra nice touch.

Butternut squash muffins

Butternut squash Muffins


  1. Set the oven at 350 degrees and line cupcake pan.
  2. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients and set aside
  3. In the food possessor add the squash, the eggs and the nuts and puree until smooth.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients and the puree and add the oil until all the dry ingredients are wet.
  5. Add the mixture filling the cupcake liners to 3/4 full and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool completely.
  6. Eat as it is or top with creamy frosting

Lemon poppy seed cupcakes

It’s Friday again, and if you are like me, this week just flew by in a blink of an eye. Weekends are time to treat ourselves and what’s better treat than cupcakes! I created some delicious, super easy, no mixer needed, lemon cupcakes. Lets jump right in shall we.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes


For the cupcakes (makes 16)

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup of sour milk*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3  tbsp of poppy-seed (more if you really like them )

* To make sour milk I add the juice of the lemons to the milk and let it rest for 10 min

For the icing

  • 250 g of cream cheese
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cup icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 tbsp milk

Method (cupcake)

  1. Set the oven at 375 degrees
  2. Mix in all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, set aside. In a medium size bowl whisk the eggs and add all the other wet ingredients, add to the dry ingredients and stir until well incorporated.
  3. Line your muffin pan with cupcakes liner or grease them really well, fill with the batter until 3/4 full. I used an ice-cream scoop so that all the same amount of better was used.
  4. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until the cake tester comes out clean.
  5. cool completely before frosting

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Method (icing)

  1. Cream the butter and cream cheese until soft and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and lemon juice, mix very well.
  2. If the icing is a bit dense add milk until desired consistency, Transfer into a piping bag and decorate your cupcakes.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes


Basic Amish White Bread

We all have our unique special skills in the kitchen. For some they can whipped up a cake with their eyes closes. For others, they can make any type of soups from scratches and it always turns out amazing. We all have those few things that we ca do and we know we can do well, but what about the things we avoid, those skills that we aren’t excelling at?

My kitchen nemesis for the longest time were, bread and pie making. Really I shed many tears over flop baked goods. For a while I even avoided baking altogether for fear of failing. Now fifteen years after my first attempt of bread making, here I am again. After much research, trial and error and yet again a few tears, I think I finally have victory into accomplishing a moist white bread.

I used this basic Amish Bread recipe and did my own modifications. But before I jump right in how to bake this delicious easy bread, I want to share what I have learned.

Are you ready for this? I can’t follow a recipe and have it come out. I mean every single time I tried to follow the instructions for any bread recipe I always failed. I made sure the house was in proper temperature, that the water was the exact temperature suggested and even used a scale for all my ingredients. Nothing worked. Now tell me I am not alone who has experience that?

My conclusion is, bread making is easier learned by seeing someone else doing it, by touching and feeling the right textures, but if you’re like me and don’t have time to have someone show the technique, learning the science behind the process might be of help.

Amish white bread

Since I can’t be in your kitchen showing you how to make this bread, I’ll do my best to explain how I made mine.

What you will need (makes 2 loaf)

  • 2 cup of warm water
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp instant dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cups flour

Amish bread


  1. Measure the warm water (should be as hot was you would feel comfortable washing your hands in it, no need of a thermometer here) in a large bowl add half of the flour, sugar, dry yeast, salt and mix all in. With your mixer hook attachment over low-speed add the water and oil little by little until all the liquids are in. Now this is the tricky part, add just enough flour for the dough to no longer stick to the side of the bowl but isn’t to dry to the touch, there should be a bit of stickiness left.  Knead for 5 minutes.
  2. Because we are using instant dry yeast we shouldn’t need to do two rising period but I still do it keeping in mind that the rising period will be really short. Transfer the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a warm wet towel for about 30 min or until double the size and when you insert two fingers they leave indentations behind. Punch the dough down, divide into two and shape loaf. Place into well-greased 9X5 inch bread pans, let rise again for about 20 to 30 min. Set the oven at 400 degrees
  3. Bake for 30 minutes
  4. Cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Amish bread

Tips : Bread making troubleshooting

Sweet and Salty Pecan Brittle

Pecan Brittle

Weekends are for treating ourselves. The school week is over and it’s time to have fun.

I think that sweet and salty treats are my second favorite kinds of treats, salt and fat combo might be my number one.

Today I wanted to make a little surprise for the girls and make candy. After looking around the cupboard I decided to make a nutty brittle. I will be sharing one version but you can make this with any nuts and seeds you have on hands.

Pecan Brittle

Sweet & Salty Pecan Brittle (adaptation of  Micheal Smith, “Spicy salty seedy nuts” recipe from “Family Meals” cookbook)


  •  3 cups of Pecan (or nuts and seeds of your choice)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter ( vegan option : coconut oil or nut butter)
  • sprinkle of sea salt (coarse)

Pecan Brittle


In a large bowl, mix the Pecan and the baking soda until all the nuts are coated evenly.

Pecan Brittle

In a large saucepan, add the sugar and water. Do not stir. Heat over medium heat, until the sugar is melted and the water is evaporated (about 10 minutes). The sugar will start to get syrupy and the coloration changing to golden brown.

Pecan Brittle

When the coloration looks like the picture above, stir on the butter and whisk it until all incorporated. Be careful the syrup is HOT. Dump the nuts in the mixture, it is normal to have some foamy eruption. Work fast, making sure that all the nuts are coated with the caramel mixture, transfer evenly unto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the salt on the mixture.

Pecan Brittle

Cool completely, you can speed up the process by putting the cookie sheet in the freezer for about half an hour.

Pecan Brittle

Pecan Brittle

When cooled, crack and break into pieces. Share and if any leftovers they can be stored in an airtight container, but the likeliness of leftovers is pretty faint.

I have to give you a fair warning they are highly addictive.


Spring, kids and tummy flu. Five ways how to survive it.

It’s this time of the year, when the snow is melting, weather warming up, things are sprouting and kids are puking! I don’t know why, each Spring and Fall, kids and some adults that take care of them, get the tummy flu.

What’s do you do when the bug hit your home:

  1. Wash you hands, again and again and again. Flu is contagious.
  2. Rest and more rest. Snuggle on the couch read books, watch tv, take a naps, let the patient rest.
  3. Fresh air, open windows, or get out of on the deck for a few minutes.
  4. Hydrate : they might not be hungry or might be scare of eating for fear of having it come out of them again, but it’s important to keep them hydrated. Our favorites are chicken stock (building up to chicken noodle soup), lemon ginger tea, peppermint tea, and very cold water (my kids like their very cold when they aren’t feeling well)
  5. If they are up to eating, give them what they are craving in small quantities at the time.

Happy Spring and Flu season to you all!!!

Note: if your kids is lethargic, have a persistent fever,  shows signs of dehydration (dry mouth,lips, not peeing or dark color urine, dizziness ect) or you see no improvement within 24 hours seek medical help.

How to get you kids to eat legumes and like it

We all want our kids to make wise and healthy choices when it comes to their diet. Not all of us have been blessed with kids with an adventurous palate, on the contrary, some deals with picky eaters on a daily basis. I never been a big fan the whole, hiding vegetables into other food so that your kids won’t know it’s there, trend. I am in the opinion that kids should know what they are eating in order to have the opportunity to learn and get a taste of all the different types food.

With that said, I am not against trying new ways to prepare, fruits, vegetables and even legumes. I remember eating a Mooncake in a Chinese restaurant,a long time ago. When I asked what was the delicious sweet paste filling, I was surprised to hear that it was beans! If my memory serves be right is was a red paste bean and I think adzuki beans was used, since then they have been on my mind from time to time.

This was my inspiration in creating little bites of that beans paste as a healthy treats for my kids. They eat them without complaints and had no clue it was made with beans. After I told them about the secret ingredient, they still asked for more. I call that a success.

Healthy beans and pecan bites

And so begun my attempt to replicate that yummy bean paste that I remembered. I did not have aszuki beans on hand but did have plenty of Mung beans.  Of course I first thing I did was to turn to the internet, the source infinite knowledge, trying to find a half decent mung beans cake filling paste recipe. I came across many recipes and some had weird ingredient like lye water, what in the world is lye water. After about an hours of reading, I decided to use this recipe as guide to create my own version of bean paste sweet treat.

Healthy beans bites

The basis of this recipe is cooked beans, some form of fat, sweeter and liquid, simple enough, right? If you want to save yourself some time cooking the beans a soaking time overnight or 3 to 6 hours will speed the whole process. Add off the ingredients in a food processor, make a puree and then cook it until it’s transform into a sticky paste. Shape and voilà.

Now for the fun part, use the basic recipe and make it your own, adding flavors and textures. I worked on three different combination, two turn out very good the other, well I won’t be blogging about that one. My favorite was beans, oats and brown sugar combo but the girls like the Maple syrup, pecan and spiced beans treat better. I’ll be sharing both here today and my ideas of other flavor combination that I want to try in the future.

Maple Pecan healthy bites

Spiced Maple Pecan mung bean bites


  • 1/2 cup of pecan, chopped
  • 1 cup of cooked mung beans
  • 2 tbsp butter (or coconut oil )
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup of coconut milk
  • pinch of salt

mung beans oats bites

Mung Beans and oats bites


  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of cooked mung beans
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • pinch of salt

Method (same for both Maple and oat bites recipes)

Soak the beans overnight, rinse well and cook for about 30 minutes or until soft. In the food processor add all the ingredient and blend until a soft puree. Don’t worry in the mixture is too liquid, cooking will evaporate the excess. Cook the puree in a pot on medium heat, and stir stir stir. Cook until the mixture start to form a soft ball and is no longer sticking to the bottom and side of the pot.

Let it cool down until lukewarm and start forming balls. Optional, you can roll your little bites in nuts, seeds or coconut  whatever you have on hand. I recommend to store those little sweet bites on the fridge up to 1 week.

maple pecan bites

I did say I was thinking of other flavor combinations, I think that pistachio and rose-water and  honey and sesame seeds would be lovely. How about you, what do you think a good flavor combination would be? Share in the comment below.