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Red Deer Foodie

…getting busy in the kitchen!

Monthly Archives: July 2012

This summer has so far been one of the warmest and most awesome in my recent memory – unbelievable the crazy hot weather we are getting!!  The farmer’s market scene is out of control and we’re getting some of the best local produce I’ve ever seen.  I’m literally addicted to the spinach that is grown by the Markerville Berry & Vegetable Farm!  This spinach is so good – I enjoyed it with the delicious lentil curry, and last week we ate monster spinach salads 3 days in a row!  Here’s my recipe for the best damn spinach salad you will ever have. Ever. I know this seems like a pretty lofty statement, but trust me – and just try making it with some locally farmed produce!!


Best Damn Spinach Salad Ever!


2 tbsp hemp seed oil

2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar (a flavoured one is good too – I used pomegranate)

1 tbsp honey (preferably from a local producer)

1 small shallot, very finely minced

salt &  pepper to taste

4 cups fresh local spinach

1/2 cup walnut pieces

1/2 pkg goat cheese, crumbled (I used cranberry/cinnamon flavoured)

1 cup fresh raspberries

...hmmm the makings of a delicious dinner salad!


In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and honey.  Add the shallot and combine – add salt and pepper and taste.  Set aside to for about 15-30 minutes to allow the shallot to really flavour the dressing.

whisk and set aside

If you have time, toast the walnuts – I never have time, so I always skip this part and just roughly chop them.  RIGHT BEFORE SERVING and no earlier – toss the spinach leaves in the dressing.

Plate and top with the walnuts, goat cheese and raspberries.

Yep – that’s it – done – best ever.  You could also sub in feta for the goat cheese, or strawberries for raspberries, etc.  Get creative!


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Yesterday at the Red Deer Downtown Market, I spied gigantic zucchinis on sale for $1.50 each!!  Say whattt????  I actually didn’t buy any because I have quite a few in the fridge already, but I wanted to share yet another way to bake up all those zucchinis since they’re multiplying like gremlins!!   I got this recipe from Food & Wine Magazine and really the only thing I changed was rather than using a Greek yogurt, I used a fat free yogurt – no big deal!  This is a really moist loaf with a light nutty taste – was a big hit with the fam!

just another delicious use for zucchini!

Walnut Zucchini Loaf


1 cup walnut halves (4 ounces)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup fat-free yogurt (I used cherry flavor)

1 cup grated zucchini


Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter and flour a metal loaf pan.  Spread the walnut halves on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven for about 8 minutes, until they are fragrant – be careful because these suckers can burn quick. Transfer the toasted walnuts to a cutting board and coarsely chop them, then let cool.

Whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, mix the sugar with the eggs, vegetable oil and yogurt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients along with the grated zucchini and toasted walnuts and stir until the batter is evenly moistened. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the loaf is risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the loaf cool on a rack for 30 minutes before popping out of the pan.

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Are you wondering what to do with all the zucchini your garden is producing? Or in my case, wondering what to do with all the zucchini I get from my gardening friends! I spied an awesome recipe on Food Network and changed it up a little bit and came out with some seriously moist and chocolately muffins – almost cake-like!!  They freeze really well if you want to keep them around for little treats!

moist and cakey - hardly a muffin!

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

(Adapted from Food Network Recipe)


  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup 1% plain yogurt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350degrees and line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

In another bowl whisk together the yogurt, beaten egg and vanilla until combined. Pour yogurt mixture over dry cocoa mixture and stir by hand until all the flour is incorporated.
Stir in the zucchini followed by boiling water. The mixture will be thin.
Fill muffin liners 3/4 of the way full, sprinkle with chocolate chips and bake for 18 minutes until tops spring back and a tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

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Canmore Mountain Market

The official last stop of our trip was at the Canmore Mountain Market – by far one of the cutest little markets ever!!  The market runs every Thursday of the summer from 10am – 7pm – so great!  Lots of merchants from the Wednesday Banff Farmer’s Market were there, but one awesome booth stood out:  Spice Sanctuary!  Run by Trusha, a lawyer-turned-spice-merchant, Spice Sanctuary sells the most amazing organic spices, herbs and spice blends.  I was immediately attracted to her little dinner-kits, which include the spices and instructions to make a delicious Indian meal!  So I bought a couple kits, including the Black Eye Bean Curry Bowl – Trusha included a great recipe, but of course I had to adapt it to do my own thing!! Trusha is passionate about spices!!

So using Trusha’s wonderful spices and her recipe scroll as the springboard for my own Indian delight, here’s the recipe for my Lentil Curry and Rice Bowl!

Lentil Curry & Rice Bowl


cute little dinner kit!!

1 can green lentils, rinsed

1 tbsp grapeseed oil

1 tsp brown mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 small onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped (1/2 inch cubes)

1 tsp garlic, minced

1 tsp ginger, minced

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 cup water

4 tsp Spice Sanctuary Spice Mix 4

salt to taste

2 cups basmati rice

1 cup fresh spinach, shredded


First up, get the rice on and cook according to instructions on package.  Then, heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds.  Cook until fragrant and crackling – watch it – don’t burn!!

Add the onion and carrot and cook till onion is translucent and carrots are starting to soften. Add the ginger and garlic and stir to combine.  Cook for a couple minutes.

add garlic and ginger...

Add the beans, tomatoes, water and spice mix.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

To serve, plate some rice and top with a layer of spinach, then a layer of curry.  The spices are so intense, yet so subtle – a really fresh tasting, earthy dish!!

fresh and earthy!

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Wow!  It seems like forever since I’ve written a new blog – I feel super guilty and don’t even know where to start!!

First off, Todd and I had a lovely camping vacation down in the gorgeous state of Montana – holy I just love it there – so much to do and see, shopping, food, fireworks on the 4th of July!  What a great vacation we had!!  High on my list of “to-do’s” while there was visit as many Farmer’s Markets as we did golf courses!  The Flathead Valley has an amazing network of linking their local farmers to the people and I met a great gal from Purple Frog Gardens who told me about a cool program they have.  The Purple Frog Gardens actually let people volunteer on Wednesdays all growing season long and then people get to leave with fresh awesome produce!! 

Pam strikes a pose with her awesome produce!

I picked up some amazing galic scapes and cooked them in foil with some heirloom tomatoes, olive oil and salt & pepper.  I pretty much cook everything in foil when we’re camping – lock in all of the flavour and of course, super easy to clean up!

Garlic Scapes

We also scored lots of great preserves – huckleberries are a big deal in the flathead valley, as well as honey.  I love how all of the producers are so proud to sticker up their products with the “Made in Montana” logo!

easy grilling while camping!

We were sad to leave Montana, but happy to head into Kananaskis Country and then Banff National Park, where we hit the jackpot of farmers markets: the Banff Market and the Canmore Market!!  Both amazing and I will definitely be blogging about my purchases from those markets.

Banff Farmer's Market

I have a huge line-up of recipes to post, so please be patient and check back often!  Also don’t forget you can follow me on twitter, facebook and now Google+!

Canmore Market - so cute!!

I’m back from vacation and have lots to catch up – until then check out some of my favourite recipes!!

Red Deer Foodie


I’ve only been blogging since June, but I have had a great time sharing my creations with you and thought I would do a quick roll-up of my TOP TEN FAVES! It’s been fun to look back at the lat 6 months and see how my photography has improved (slightly) as well! If you’ve been following me since the beginning, thanks and keep following and commenting! If you’re new to Red Deer Foodie, welcome aboard and hope you enjoy this little trip down memory lane!!

Number 10:El Diablo Contra Vampiro Salsamy prize-winning salsa that will also cure influenza

Number 9: Soba Saladone of my first posts ever and takes me on a trip to Japan whenever I make this dish!

Number 8:Halloween Crackerjacka treat whipped up with friends using stuff I already had in the house!

Number 7:Halibut en Papiollote 

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