Crab & Walnut Stuffed Mussels

Crab & Walnut Stuffed Mussels

When I was first approached by Joana at Yummy Food, I felt flattered, excited, and then totally freaked out. I love food, I love cooking, I love making things up as I go in the kitchen. But Mediterranean is totally outside my comfort zone of typical North American comfort food, and creating a totally original, unpublished recipe with flavour profiles I am not really familiar with? EEK! But as you can see, I accepted the challenge nonetheless!

Crab & Walnut Stuffed Mussels

I spent a great deal of time thinking and planning this recipe. To me, “Mediterranean” is all about freshness, and there is nothing that embodies fresh more than seafood. I used panko and walnuts to offset the creaminess of the mussels, crab and parmesan, and lemon to add that lovely acid required with seafood. Baked until crispy, these are perfect served right in the half-shell, and the perfect single-bite appy. This is the type of dish I could see served on a cobblestone patio, outside some lovely little restaurant overlooking the ocean.

Crab & Walnut Stuffed Mussels

This recipe is part of a contest sponsored by Canarias. I’m so glad I opted to take part, it was so much fun to push myself outside of my comfort zone and cook something I normally wouldn’t.

Crab & Walnut Stuffed Mussels

Crab & Walnut Stuffed Mussels

2 lbs live mussels
1/2 cup water
6 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup crabmeat
1/2 cup panko
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Zest of one lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt & pepper

Wash ad scrub mussels – discard any that are open and don’t close with a tap on a firm surface. In a pot with a tight-fitting lid, place closed mussels and water and bring to a boil. Steam for a few minutes, until they open up. Discard any that didn’t open and let cool to room temperature.

Carefully break off the top half of the shell, and scoop out the meat to detach it from the bottom, but leave it in the half-shell for presentation and serving purposes. Set aside.

In a small pot, melt butter over medium heat. When melted and warm, add garlic and stir to let the garlic cook for a minute or so to infuse the butter. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a bowl, combine crabmeat, panko, walnuts, parmesan, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, butter and garlic. Mix well.

Place a generous scoop of the stuffing mixture on top of each half-shell mussel, and lay out on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 until crispy and golden, 5-8 minutes should suffice. Let cool a bit and serve warm!

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Chickpea Avocado Salad

Chickpea avocado salad

We’re a month into 2014 – are you one of the ones who resolved to eat better and work out more? Not me. I’m all for being fit and healthy, but resolutions don’t work for me. I’m usually off the bandwagon a week in, because no matter how hard I try I just can’t keep myself out of the chicken wings and beer. I still try to do the best I can, though, and this week I made myself a lovely little salad inspired by one of my favourite delis. There’s a delicious chickpea broccoli salad there that I just can’t get enough of, with a sweet and creamy dressing. I’m sure it’s full of mayonnaise and other not-so-healthy stuff, so I decided to give it a go with an avocado dressing.

Chickpea avocado salad

This is a nice, reasonably healthy recipe that fits well into any new year resolution – full of healthy fats and loads of fibre. And even if you didn’t make a resolution to get healthier this year, this is a good salad to make just because it’s so damn tasty. A note, while this keeps well in the fridge, it may discolour a little. It doesn’t affect the flavour, it’s just that the avocado can turn brown as it oxidizes. Still delicious, it just doesn’t have that lovely green colour anymore.

Chickpea avocado salad

Chickpea Avocado Salad

1 ripe avocado
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 cups cooked chickpeas {2 cans}
1/2 large bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
salt & pepper

In a small bowl, mash avocado with a fork. Whisk in honey, olive oil, and lemon juice.

Combine chickpeas, bell pepper, onion and parsley in a bowl. Pour dressing over top and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For other ideas on how to make your life more delicious, visit the Life Made Delicious page for inspiration!

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Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation. The opinions in this blog are my own.

Cheering for Olympic Gold!

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I love the Olympics. I’m not much of a sports girl – I’ll watch hockey here and there {and cheer for the Canucks!}, but mostly just enough to keep up with the hockey talk with my guy friends. Other sports? No way. Football bores me to death unless I’m watching it live, and I’d rather poke my eyes out than watch basketball or baseball. But every couple of years the Olympics rolls around, and I become glued to it. There’s something about amateur sport on the world stage that gets me every time. It fascinates me, so much so that I am always checking the results online. I don’t have the patience to wait for the time-delay feeds on cable. This year I’m looking forward to sharing the Olympics with my daughter – she’s six, and just the right age to really understand it. And of course, we’ll be cheering for Team Canada!

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Using Augmented Reality to learn about our Olympic athletes is super easy. First, download the app – searching for ‘Blippar’ in the app store on my iPhone brought it up right away, and imagine it would be just as easy on Android devices. Second, find yourself a box of specially-marked General Mills products {Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Nature Valley granola bars and Gushers fruit snacks are just a few of the ones you can get}, and use the Blippar app to scan the box. And lastly, have some fun with the app when it recognizes the box and brings up all the info on the featured Olympian, and even some games and photo ops.

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An interesting side-note: My box of Honey Nut Cheerios featured Eric Staal of the Canadian Mens’ Hockey team, and it made me do a double-take. I had read about the final roster earlier this week and was sure I hadn’t seen his name on it. Sure enough, when I scanned his box, I ended up with info about figure skater Patrick Chan!

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Oh hey, check out the athletes in my house! Just kidding – look at that disaster behind Patrick Chan. No way would I have such important guests without making the place sparkle first! These are the photos my kids were begging me to take once they saw the photo feature. My six year old loved the games, too. I had to almost wrestle my iPhone out of her hands to upload the photos!

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I couldn’t just do a post about the Olympics without somehow tying it into a recipe! With all the fun cereal that General Mills sent to me for this campaign, I decided to whip up a little sweet and salty snack mix in honour of Team Canada. I even had a bag of red maple leaf sprinkles in my pantry that I was hoarding for the perfect Canada Day cupcakes.

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Sweet & Salty Snack Mix

6 ounces white candy melts (or white chocolate chips)
2 cups Cheerios (Apple Cinnamon was my choice!)
2 cups Chex
2 cups Lucky Charms
1 cup pretzel sticks
1 cup salted peanuts
Sprinkles of choice
sea salt, to taste

In a double boiler, melt candy melts until smooth. Meanwhile, combine cereal, pretzels and peanuts in a large bowl. Pour the melted candy over top and toss to coat. While still wet, sprinkle with your decorative sprinkles of choice. Add a pinch of salt if desired, to enhance the saltiness (depending on your pretzels or peanuts, this may not be necessary. Spread on a cookie sheet and let harden. After it has hardened, break it up and serve! Perfect for snacking while watching our Olympians strive for gold!

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Disclosure: I am part of the Cereal & Snacks Olympic Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on my blog are my own.

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