0 02/25/2013 life Family, Recipes

Vegging with Chef Mark Russell

I jumped on the subway after dropping off the little guy at school and headed to the famous and historical stomping grounds of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Only it’s been converted to the ultimate Loblaws store. If you haven’t been, you should check it out. You’ll want to spend some time here as it is a destination for foodies!

This visit I’ve got a meeting set up with Executive Chef Mark Russell. With the signature tall white chef’s hat, I spotted him as soon as I stepped into the store. Ok, this is serious business.

I’ve met with their in-store dietitian, Nema McGlynn, and learned about what to eat to boost your immune system during the flu season. Chef Mark Russell went one step further and takes me on personal shopping tour (yes, I feel very VIP) for ingredients and mentions a few in-house mouth-watering recipes along the way. If you ever hang out with a foodie you already know that feeling of frothing at the corners of your mouth…yep.
Note to self: Do not go shopping with a chef when you’re hungry!


Well, it’s all easy enough now that I have my immune boosting shopping list but now to incorporate it into daily life with kids? That’s what I wanted to find out.
“It’s easy enough to sneak in veggies to boost your family’s immune system during these cold winter months for even the pickiest little eaters!” says Chef Mark Russell. “If you’re making home-made pizzas, simply sneak in pureed zucchini into the tomato sauce for added veggies, the green stuff that kids usually say they don’t want.”
Ah! …the anthem of my younger one.
“I don’t like green stuff.”
I took his suggestions not only for my little one, but also for the rest of the family. When I make those yummy fruit smoothies…yup, I’ve sneaked in a couple Kale leaves. Easy.


He also suggested that if you’re in a hurry to get out to hockey practice, or whatever after school program with kids, it’s easy enough to warm up something like PC Blue Menu Crab Cakes and simply add a side of veggies or salad to complete a healthy after school meal that kids would love.
I also mentioned to Chef Mark Russell that our UrbanMoms community loves our crock pots and if there was a favourite recipe of his to share.
So, here it is! Healthy, yummy and you get your veggies too!
This recipe is very simple, works great in a slow cooker and perfect for St. Patrick’s Day! 

• 12 Mini Red Skin Potatoes
• 6 Sliced Heirloom Carrots
• 2 kg Corned Beef Pickled Brisket
• 20 Pearl Onions
• 2 Bay Leaves
• 6 Peppercorns
• 1 Head Savoy Cabbage cut into 8

• Place the washed potatoes and carrots in the base of the pot, lay brisket on top and cover with water adding the bay leaves and peppercorns
• Cook for 5 hours
• Add the cabbage and cook for a further 4 hours
• Slice the meat and serve over the vegetables and pour over the juices adding lots of fresh chopped parsley


I also love their in-house coleslaw and asked if I could have the recipe. This healthier version contains no mayonnaise but still has all the flavour!



• Carrots (shredded)

• Raisins or cranberries

• White vinegar

• Maple syrup

• Juice of a lemon

• Grapeseed oil (optional)

• Place shredded carrots and raisins or cranberries in a bowl
• In a separate bowl, whisk vinegar, maple syrup, lemon juice, grapeseed oil & salt & pepper
• Pour vinegar dressing over carrot & dried fruit mixture
• Mix and serve

Nutrition boosters:
Add chopped parsley, nuts or seeds




Above the Bakery on the main level of the Loblaws at Maple Leaf Gardens is where you will find the team of chefs preparing fresh, ready-made foods.

Thanks to Executive Chef Mark Russell for the delicious and fun shopping tour at Loblaws, Maple Leaf Gardens! Also for sharing his great tips on including just a few more veggies into our meals!



And how CUTE are these? Baby Cauliflower! I’m soooo pinning this!



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