Author Archives: Sylvia Cole

About Sylvia Cole

Sylvia is a journalist, a practicing Bikram yogi and interested in cooking mouth-watering meals.

Taco Salad



I tried this great taco salad recipe from Eat, Shrink and Be MerryIt’s called Na-Cho Ordinary Taco Salad. I don’t do a lot of meat recipes on this blog but I really enjoyed the meal. Instead of nacho chips, crisp romaine lettuce is used instead. There’s beef (I used pork), corn and black beans and some cheese. Below is the recipe I’ve adapted from the original.

Cooking the meat and the onions only takes about 10 minutes. I recommend having the salad ingredients diced and ready to go before you cook the meat.

The Meat Portion:

  • 250-500 mL cups of ground pork
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • half can jalapeno peppers (100 mL or to your taste)
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder
  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

The Salad:

  • I head of romaine lettuce, ripped into pieces and washed
  • 1 cup canned corn, drained
  • 2 cups canned black beans, drained
  • diced peppers
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup shredded old cheddar cheese
  • sliced avocado (optional but highly recommended)
  • Salsa for the topping


  1. Brown the pork over medium-high heat.
  2. In a separate pan, heat the onions until soft, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, chilli powder and jalapeno.
  3. Once the pork is cooked, add it to the vegetables. Add barbecue sauce and salt and pepper.
  4. Assemble the salad: lettuce first, then the pork and cheese. Add the vegetables and top with salsa.
  5. Enjoy!

Fermenting again … komchuca style



It’s been way too long since my last post, I am sorry! I will try and make up for it though with today’s entry. Last year I  tried my hand at fermentation and made Dosas an Indian recipie that is sort of like pancakes but you eat it with potatoes and peas. Well I am back at it again but this time made Kombucha – a fermented sweet tea. It’s very different than the warm cup of Earl Gray some of you may be used to. It’s cold, and fizzy and uses live bacteria to make. It’s really good!

I got on a Kombucha kick just over a year ago when I started yoga and got hooked pretty quick. But buying a bottle is pretty pricey so it was only for special treat days. I found out recently you can make it at home so I decided to give it a try.

Most of what I’ve read says that Kombucha is a pseudo-health drink. But, because of the fermentation process, there is some benefit from the probiotics in the drink which increases white blood cells. One of the things you need but won’t find at a grocery store is the SCOBY (sybiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). It’s basically a white, gelantanus puck that aids the fermentation. If you know someone who makes Kombucha, ask them if you can get a SCOBY from them. The SCOBY grows during each fermentation process so if you start doing it for awhile you will end up with more SCOBY’s than you know what to do with.

If you don’t have a hippie friend with spare SCOBY’s to help out consider purchasing one online. I’ve only done some surface research on where to buy one so I would check that out first. I’ve seen starter kits which may be a good idea and I may try myself if I make Kombucha again. It comes with pH sticks which is an important part in figuring out if the fermentation process is complete. Just something to consider.

OK if you’ve read this far and are on board for madness, let’s get going. Here’s what you need:

  1. 3.5 Litres of water
  2. 1 cup white sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons of loose black tea
  4. 2 cups of “starter tea” (if this is your first batch you will want to buy a bottle of neutral flavoured Kombucha)
  5. 1 SCOBY
  6. A glass jar that can hold at least 3-4 L of liquid for the week it needs to ferment. Clean it well!
  7. Cheese cloth and an elastic for the top

OF NOTE – You want to avoid contact with metal (so wooden spoons, ceramic pot to cook it in and a glass jar to make it in. I also didn’t use any type of metal mesh for the loose tea, I just threw it into the pot and then put the tea through a sieve before placing in a jar).

To make:


Boil the water and then remove from the stove. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Throw in the loose tea. Keep it there until the water cools.


Strain the tea into the glass jar. Add the SCOBY. Cover with a few layers of the cheese cloth and wrap the elsastic around to keep it in place. (The cheesecloth protects the tea from dust etc getting into the jar but still allows the liquid to breathe)


Keep out of the sun in a warm place for about seven days.


OF NOTE: If you see ANY black forming on the SCOBY or in the jar you  want to toss the SCOBY and the batch because of possible mold. There may be brown strings that collect below it. That is OK so is darker spots and holes in the SCOBY. It should smell venegary by the end of it, not cheesey or just gross in general. If the odor is funky, toss it.



  1. Start tasting it after a week for the right sweetness and taste that you like.
  2. Once you like the taste, set two cups aside as your “starter tea” for the next batch.  You’ll want to go through the whole process of boiling the water and adding the sugar and tea and starter tea again. Make sure your SCOBY is in good shape.Meawnhile, you need to start bottling.
  3.  I recomment bottling it into plastic bottles first. The bottling allows for the carbonation and with plastic bottles you’ll know when it’s carbonated because the bottle will become hard and impossible to bend. This usually takes a couple of days (2-3) it’s carbonated, put it in the fridge until it’s cold and ready to drink!!
  4. Show off your mad skills by offering bottles of your new bevy to friends and coworkers 🙂

Roll-out of bed for these breakfast roll-ups



I did some experimentation with fruit leather this week to see how my lovely dehydrator works. I received it last year as a wedding gift and this was its debut in the kitchen.


I started with the fruit because it seemed the simplest to make and I wanted to get a feel for how the machine works before trying more complicated recipes (jerky is on the list!)

I made both a breakfast roll-up which is very filling and can be taken on the go, and some fruit leather for snack.


Here’s what I used for the roll-up (this only made two so be sure to double or tipple if you want them to last awhile):

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup diced fruit of your choice ( I chose strawberries and bananas)
  • 1/2 cup thawed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder (found in the coffee section of most stores)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/3 cup of seeds


To assemble:


  1. Blend all ingredients except the seeds until smooth and liquidy


  2. Pour evenly onto two sheets


  3. Add seeds


  4. Cook at 135 in dehydrator for 12 hours (it will peel from the tray). Roll them up if desired, and enjoy breakfast!

    OK so that was super easy! The other fruit leather I made was even easier. I blended a cup of strawberries with one banana until it was a puree. I added some nuts and coconut and cooked at the same temperature for 10 hours. I recommend checking at eight hours. If it peels off, it’s ready to go.  These ones couldn’t roll because of the coconut topping so I cut them into slices instead:


Thanksgiving on the road: part II



It’s day two of being in Radium for Thanksgiving weekend.
This morning started with a dip at the hot springs before coming back to get ready to put the turkey in the smoker. Here’s how we did it:


1. We started by getting the coals heated in the fire

2. Meanwhile we boiled water for the second level pot and placed some of the smoking chips in


3. Once the coals were heated we placed it in the bottom of the smoker with some wood


4. Then we carefully placed the bowl of water and chips in next. Then we placed the grill ontop


5. Finally, we placed the turkey down on the grill and added some final spice. We covered it with the lid and let it start smoking


Thanksgiving on the road: part I





Happy thanksgiving! I am camping in Radium this weekend with the family and we’re not missing out on turkey. We’re doing it a little differently and smoking it.
So I’ll be live-blogging this event this weekend so you can see how it turns out.
We started this morning creating a cold brine for the turkey. This is allows the flavor to soak into the bird so the flavour won’t disappear during the smoking.
Here’s what we used:
A turkey (ours is about 14 pounds)
Dry mustard
Salt and pepper
1 cup apple cider vinegar
Two bags of ice

OK I don’t have amounts calculated. We poured our spices generously


Here’s what we did:
1. Put the turkey in a garbage bag inside a cooler
2. Add all of the ingredients into the bag.
3. Close the lid and let it brine away overnight.

Talk soon in part II when we put it in the smoker.

Mushroom and spinach frittata



I put together this recipe last week to provide us with breakfasts for the entire work week. This recipe is like a quiche, but there is no pie crust to weigh it down. It’s a great breakfast but could also be used as a nice lunch.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A bundle of spinach, about four cups
  • 2 cups, chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry, cured Italian style bacon bits (optional and found in most deli sections of the supermarket)
  • 1 teaspoon dried or fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 tables spoons of milk

Let’s get started:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees



Cut stems from lettuce and rinse. Place wet leaves in a pot and add 1-2 tablespoons of water.

IMG_9883Cover with a lid and heat on medium for just a few minutes (watch for them to turn a brighter shade of green). Remove from heat and drain. Chop up into bite-size pieces and set aside.

IMG_9884Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in pan on medium. Add mushrooms, stir occasionally. Add salt, pepper and basil. Let cook for about eight minutes, until the mushrooms are soft and browned

IMG_9886Combine mushroom, spinach and cheese. Add bacon if using. Place contents into a nine-inch casserole dish. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs together with milk. Pour on top of mushroom and spinach mixture.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until top slightly browned. Cool for a few minutes before serving

Lettuce try another salad



Today I am sharing another salad mix. I’ve been making and sharing a bunch of different salads lately which I hope you’ve been enjoying. I find they’re great to make because they’re so easy but also because they can be a meal on their own for lunch but also a compliment to a larger meal.

This one is based off of the last salad I made but it has its own unique taste because of the blue cheese which is quite sharp. I only used a small amount of cheese, about 2 tablespoons, and it went a long way in creating a unique flavour.

Here’s what you’ll need:
– 4-6 cups washed, cleaned arugula mix
-2 chopped pears, into cube-sized pieces
-Half a cucumber, chopped into small chunks
-A quarter of a red onion, sliced in small, thin pieces
-1/4 cup chopped walnuts
-2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
-2-3 tablespoons olive oil.

Let’s get started:
1. Rinse salad mix and place in a large bowl.
2. Add cucumber onion and oil. Toss well.
3. Sprinkle pear, blue cheese and walnuts on top. Serve.

Cooked on a bed of salt?



As I said before, I didn’t end up posting as many meals as I hoped during my summer road trip through the states.

This is mostly because we ate a lot of the same thing to save on money: sandwiches, beans and quesadillas.

But, during the long weekend this month, we went camping in Golden with my brother and his girlfriend and cooked salmon on the grill in a really unique way: we cooked it on a bed of salt. And no, the fish doesn’t taste salty at all. I think it all goes into the skin.

Anyway, even though I made it awhile ago now I really wanted to share it because it’s easy and tastes great.

What you’ll need:
Two salmon fillets (try Costco for a good price)
A box (Yup, a box) of salt.
Either a pan to place on your barbecue or a flat iron grill for in the house.
Lemon wedges
Sprig of dill

Here we go:
1. I lined the grill with tinfoil so the salt didn’t cause a huge mess.

2.Pour the box of salt onto the tinfoil/grill over medium heat. You’re going to want to watch the salt and probably stir it around a bit with a flipper. Wait 10 minutes or so until the salt is hot. Don’t touch it, you’ll burn yourself (trust me) but do put the back of your hand against the salt to see how it’s warming up.

3. Place the fillets, skin side down on the salt bed. Let it cook. I suggest covering it with tinfoil and check on in in 15 minutes. It took about 20 for the salmon to cook to where I wanted it. It’s nice and pink and you’ll see the fat start to ooze out.

4. Turn off the heat. You should be able to scrape the salmon right off its’ skin with a flipper and knife.

5. Top with lemon juice and dill or seasoning of your choice.

6.Enjoy with some baby potatoes and a salad.

Definitely not a side salad



This hearty salad could be a meal on its own. I’ve posted a quinoa salad before, but this one takes the cake.
I used a recipe from the Vegan Planet and switched it up a little bit.

Here’s what you’ll need:
An 11 oz (300g) box or handful of mixed greens
One cup cooked, cooled quinoa
1 cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
2 pears, sliced
Handful of dried cranberries

Dressing (taken directly from the recipe):
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic
1 tablespoon dijon mustard

To assemble:
1. Mix dressing ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl combine greens, cucumber, pear, nuts and dried cranberries. Mix in half of the dressing and stir well.
3. Mix the other half of the dressing in with the cooked, cooled quinoa. (For instructions, see this previous post).
4. Add quinoa to bowl and mix into salad.
5. Dish into four bowls.