Kitchen Essentials: A Chef’s Knife and Paring Knife

For anyone who cooks at home, a Chef’s Knife and Paring Knife are kitchen essentials and absolutely worth the investment. My knives of choice are the W├╝sthof ┬« Classic 6″ Chef’s Knife and W├╝sthof ┬« Gourmet 3″ Paring Knife that I have had since 2010 and still love today. Despite cooking since childhood, I signed up for a knife skills cooking class at the LCBO in Toronto. In one evening class, my friends and I were lucky enough to learn beginner knife skills, enjoy the fruits of the our labour and were gifted with a few W├╝sthof ┬« knives to take home. The LCBO still runs these classes at the Summerhill Toronto LCBO Stores and other locations throughout Ontario. If this is something you are interested in, sign up for their LCBO Taste and Experiences Guide to learn about future classes. The LCBO also has a number of great cooking classes with wine paring too. I highly recommend taking one if you are looking to expand your own culinary skills. It is a lovely way to spend an evening.

If you are already a knife pro and looking for an upgrade, definitely check out the Wüsthof ® knives which are sold in Toronto at Crate and Barrel Yorkdale Shopping Centre, via their website and at Russell Hendrix Foodservice Equipment. I love mine.

Happy chopping!

Don’t pass the salt

Sodium is hard to control when you eat on the go. Even many healthy options are filled with large sodium values. Many recipes I follow I just choose to add less salt than what is called for and like to add fresh herbs, spices and chilli flakes to add flavour. I am also a big fan of Longo’s Markets no salt added products as I try to be very mindful to reduce my own sodium intake as I create homemade meals. Every little small change over time can make a big difference.

Strawberry Spinach Smoothie

Today’s smoothie creation – one banana, a handful of frozen strawberries and baby spinach, approximately 1 tablespoon almond butter as well as hemp hearts, a teaspoon of coconut oil and unsweetened almond milk. I added a wee bit of cinnamon too. Blend and enjoy! 

Raspberry Banana Almond Smoothie 


My new smoothie combination – one banana, frozen raspberries, approximately 1 tablespoon of Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts and Nuts to You almond butter, a wee bit of vanilla extract and one cup Silk unsweetened almond milk. Blend and enjoy! 

Food. Love. Family.

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook – try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!” ~ Julia Child 

Since I was a child, I have loved all things food. I grew up with my great Mummi taking care of my brother and I during the workdays while our parents were at work. I always came home for lunch during my public school years and enjoyed all my meals being made scratch including the most amazing homemade deserts. I would often bake with my great Mummi and Mummi and learned to cook from both of them. I remember how we would spend the day baking Finnish pulla, cinnamon rolls and Christmas cookies. I always wanted to make my own cinnamon braids to compliment my great Mummi’s perfected ones. On Saturday evenings, our family would enjoy a homemade meal – often steak and ceasar salad – complete with dancing in the kitchen to the CHFI 98.1 Saturday Night Oldies. Amazing special family memories were made in the kitchen and around food. 

In grade five, I went to after-school baking class to continue to learn more. With a Loblaws close to home, I truly believe Dave Nichol, the PC products and the Insider’s Report sparked an interest in international cuisine. I hosted decorate your own pizza birthday parties as a pre-teen. In junior high school, we had to select an afternoon activity to join for the last week before summer started. I signed up for the French Club all because we got to go on an outing to a French Restaurant. On a grade eight school trip to Quebec, we found ourselves in Ottawa on the final evening. Three friends and I thought it would be fun to go to a fancy hotel for coffee and desert. To me, it has always been exciting to figure out where to dine on family holidays. I enjoy searching recipes and planning ideas to entertain. I love indulging in cooking and television shows about food, cookbooks, magazines and following all things food on social media. I get excited about new grocery and food stores opening, attending cooking classes and have definitely adopted a European-style to food shopping. It is no surprise when I travel that I may find myself in a grocery store, kitchen shop, food hall or market to see what they stock that may be different from home. A great dinner party filled with good food, wine and conversation makes me happy. 

Despite this interest and love of all things food, the busyness of our modern world sidetracked my enjoyment for cooking. For too many years, I have struggled to figure out what to cook for one so I would opt for unhealthy options or dining out to make life simpler. Last autumn, I committed to returning to the kitchen and get cooking again to ensure I stay healthy as I get older. I have enjoyed the mindfulness of escaping into the preparation process but still struggle after long and busy days to sometimes get motivated to cook. It is a definite ongoing journey but I am looking forward to continuing to learn and try new things. I hope to share a few of my food adventures and inspirations along the way. 

Happy cooking to me!