recipe: the kitchen sink salad

everything but the kitchen sink salad

one of my go-to meals is what i call ‘the kitchen sink salad’, meaning ‘use what you have’ and ‘create a masterpiece’. what i love about this version is the mix of flavours and textures, the simplicity and unpretentious approach. not to mention it’s filling and nutritious!

my version is dressed with a drizzle of balsamic crema… yum!

fresh and sweet

tangy and juicy

as you’ll see, it’s as simple as chopping up a few things and tossing them in. one knife, one bowl, one cutting board. swap out one ingredient for another, play with balance and make it your own.

rich and hearty

cool and creamy

p.s: i’ve started a recipe index where you can find all of my recipes in a snap. visit and bookmark it! {the sparkle} recipe box

what’s for dinner?

beef with broccoli

for last night’s dinner, i chefed* up a recipe for beef with broccoli i found while link skipping across my fave websites; as you can see by the photo above, it looks very yummy and the recipe quite easy.

it was absolutely delish! (and quite healthy, really).

this is a photo of my version:

beef with broccoli

i said ‘my version’ because i tweaked it… recipes are usually just a rough draft of what happens in my kitchen.

  • i substituted red wine vinegar for the sherry because really… who has sherry in their kitchen?
  • i halved the sugar and added agave syrup instead
  • i added sesame oil to the marinade
  • instead of corn starch, i used flour (side note: i couldn’t find corn starch and whole foods because they cannot find a non-gmo source. scary stuff)
  • addition of sriracha to the finishing sauce just had to happen
  • a sprinkle of fresh cilantro (my faaaave herb) as garnish freshened up the flavour and sesame seeds add a pop of texture
  • i used low-sodium soy sauce

it’s is definitely a use-what-you-have-throw-together-perfect-for-a-weeknight meal. it’s also very affordable. i bet you could feed a family of four for under $10 with this one.  you could also add rice for something even more satisfying!

*new word for ‘cooking’? maybe just when i’m trying to be fancy.

cooking: what’s in my pantry and more


cooking is one of my favourite hobbies.* don’t get me wrong; this definitely doesn’t mean it’s a gourmet affair every day. some days it’s pancakes for dinner or even simple sweet potato oven fries with a customized aioli (that’s just a fancy word for mayo). regardless, i always do my best to make it delicious. i will admit: i often reference a recipe but do not follow it closely.

my motto for cooking: fresh, unprocessed, locally sourced and mostly organic – especially with meats and veggies. the less ingredients the better and fresh herbs whenever possible. i believe eating as organic (and GMO free) as possible does wonders for your overall health. while this can be very expensive, especially if you are feeding a family, i choose to make it a priority. try starting small and see what you can fit into your budget.

yes, i am indeed one of the people i used to scoff at, strolling the aisles at whole foods any (and every) given sunday… and most other days.

ingredients you will always find in my pantry include:

cote d’azure grey salt
chicken and vegetable stock (local and organic)
annies mac and cheese (organic)
jarred tomatoes in different forms (organic)
almond butter
que pasa tortilla chips (local and organic)
truffle oil
skinny b cereal (local and organic)
italissima balsamic crema
brown sugar (organic)
cashews (organic)
black, basmati and arborio rice (organic)
callebaut chocolate
popcorn (organic)
kashi go lean cereal
baking supplies**

favourite places to find interesting cooking items and ingredients:

whole foods (browsing the aisles is bound to inspire a wonderful meal)
the gourmet warehouse (visiting this place is one of my favourite pastimes)
homesense (you can always walk out with something you probably didn’t need)
local ethnic neighbourhood grocery stores (there are tons downtown and you can find very unique ingredients)
bosa foods (i would love to visit this place more often – you can always find something to add to your pantry collection)

*i always wear that when i cook, too.
**baking is another passion which i will be covering in future posts.