summer tomato quinoa salad


it's tomato season!!! i wait every summer for this moment, because store bought tomatoes do not compare to the tomatoes i pick from my mom's garden or pick up from the farmers market. sun ripened tomatoes picked ripe off the vine have a flavour like no other. so sweet & juicy! i am someone who will never put a tomato in the fridge, because in my opinion it instantly ruins the flavour. am i crazy or does any(every)one else agree?

anyways, with tomato season comes barbecue season (yay summer) & this is a perfectly healthy side dish to serve or bring to your next barbecue. it features summers best cherry tomatoes (i love the colourful ones) & cucumbers, but is also quite hearty thanks to the quinoa. this recipe uses bob's red mill's organic quinoa grain, which is a nutritional powerhouse! quinoa is a whole grain that is gluten free, a good source of iron & high in protien. there is a reason it has become so popular over the years! side note: have you ever had quinoa onion rings? the best.

the dressing for this salad features apple cider vinegar, for another hidden health boost. you can prep this dressing days in advance & use it on all your favourite salads! if you are looking for a vegan dish, simply omit the goat cheese & substitute maple syrup for the honey. easy as that! for a healthy weeknight meal, serve with grilled chicken.

NOTE: to perfectly cook the quinoa follow these directions: rinse the grain in cold water & transfer to a pot. add two cups of cold water & a teaspoon of salt. bring water to a boil, cover pot with lid & reduce heat to a simmer. cook for 15 minutes. fluff quinoa with a fork & cover for an additional 15 minutes. let cool to room temperature. if you want to add a little more flavour to the grains, try cooking the quinoa in a low sodium vegetable or chicken stock instead of water.


for the salad

  • 1 cup bob's red mill organic quinoa grain, cooked & cooled
  • 3 cups heirloom grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, quartered & thinly sliced
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup goat cheese crumbles, plus more to garnish
  • apple cider dressing (see recipe below)

for the dressing

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon quality honey
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • sea salt & cracked black pepper, to taste


for the salad

  • in a large mixing bowl toss together the quinoa, tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, goat cheese & dressing until well combined. season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • garnish with additional goat cheese & green onions. if preparing in advance, dress salad just before serving!

for the dressing

  • in a small mixing bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, dijon & garlic until well combined.
  • season with salt & pepper. set aside until ready to use.

strawberry shortcake funnel cake


okay, but is it REALLY summer without freshly picked strawberries & funnel cakes? i feel like this is one dessert people are afraid to make at home because it seems a little intimidating for a home baker. let me tell you, these funnel cakes are so easy to make! the hardest part is not eating them all as they come out of the fryer. as a kid, i was obsessed with funnel cakes. always topped with gooey strawberry filling & a mound of vanilla ice cream. the best days of summer were those spent at the carnival with cotton candy in one hand & a funnel cake in the other hand. bonus points if you went on the ride & didn't get sick from all the sugar! now this treat has become something i like to make at home on special summer occasions (not that you need a special occasion to enjoy a funnel cake).

this recipe features two amazing products by PADERNO: the Auto Drain Deep Fryer & the Power Blender. PADERNO products are made to enhance every beautiful moment of the cooking journey. the blender is so powerful & smooth, it makes blending anything a breeze! the deep fryer has an automatic oil drainage system which makes for a quick clean up &a easy storage of oil. i always use a flavourless oil (such as canola or vegetable oil) & keep the used oil in a separate glass jar for deep frying purposes until it needs to be replaced. the deep fryer keeps a constant temperature of 375 degrees which is perfect for funnel cakes, however, be sure to never overcrowd the fryer as it will cause a dip in the oils heat & cause soggy funnel cakes. after all, nobody wants a soggy funnel cake. happy frying!


  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • oil, for deep frying
  • powdered sugar, for serving
  • whipped cream, for serving
  • 1 pint halved fresh strawberries, for serving


  • line a baking sheet with paper towels & set aside until ready to use.
  • in a blender add the eggs, milk, vanilla extract & nutmeg. blend until light & fluffy.
  • in a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder & salt. slowly pour the egg mixture into the bowl & beat until batter comes together.
  • transfer batter to a large disposable piping bag & cut a small opening at the tip.
  • add oil to deep fryer & heat to 375 degrees. pipe batter in a circular motion to desired funnel cake size, the messier the shape the better.
  • fry until golden brown (about 2 minutes), carefully turning the cake over once. fry the remaining side for 45 seconds.
  • remove from fryer & transfer to prepared baking sheet to drain any excess oil. sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  • when ready to serve, layer funnel cake with whipped cream & strawberries.

everything bagel deviled eggs


you should know by now that i believe everything bagel seasoning belongs on just about everything and deviled eggs are no exception! such a simple blend of spices adds so much flavour to any dish. these deviled eggs are made with Conestoga Farms Free Range Eggs and inspired by the traditional everything bagel + cream cheese combination. the filling gets a hint of tang from the cream cheese and dijon mustard. i kept things simple and garnished it with sliced chives, but if you want to take things to the next level try topping it with smoked salmon!

for those who are not familiar with Conestoga Farms Eggs, it is an egg brand whose focus is on supporting local farmers. all the eggs are produced in ontario and they offer a variety of eggs including organic eggs, free range eggs, free run omega-3 eggs (brown & white) and hard boiled + peeled eggs. i was fortunate enough to attend the welcome to the summer side up cooking workshop in toronto last week where we learned all about the different types of eggs. a little fun fact i learned about Conestoga Farms Organic Eggs is that it simply means the chickens are fed an organic diet, plus all organic eggs are free range.

now if you aren't sure how to cook the perfect hard-boiled egg, here is a quick run down! place the eggs in a pot and fill with two inches of water. bring to a boil and cook for 30 seconds. remove from heat, cover with lid and let stand for 12 minutes.

now lets get deviled egging!

p.s. if deviled eggs aren't your thing (or you don't have time to peel all those eggs), try this quick breakfast switch up! toast a piece of bread, slather it with cream cheese, fry up a freshly cracked egg & sprinkle it with everything bagel seasoning. you could also try conestoga farms hard boiled + peeled eggs if you’re looking to save time. breakfast for the win!


  • 6 hard boiled conestoga farms free range eggs, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons quality mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • sea salt & cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon everything bagel seasoning (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onions, to garnish


  • cut hard boiled eggs in half lengthwise.
  • gently remove the yolks & place them into a medium size mixing bowl. transfer egg whites to a plate.
  • mash yolks with a fork. stir in mayonnaise, cream cheese, dijon mustard, salt & black pepper.
  • transfer filling to a piping bag fitted with a star tip. pipe mixture into egg white halves.
  • sprinkle with everything bagel seasoning & garnish with green onion.
  • serve immediately or store in refrigerator covered.

note: i LOVE trader joe's everything bagel seasoning, but if you can't locate it simply mix together one tablespoon of poppy seeds, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, minced dried garlic, minced dried onion & flaked salt to taste!