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Fresh Tomato Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette {A Pretty Life}F

Fresh Tomato Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette

This Fresh Tomato Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette can be made in 15 minutes, and is the perfect summer side dish.  Summer ripened tomatoes paired with fresh basil, it just doesn’t get more delicious than this.

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Don’t you just love summer produce?  I can’t get enough.  This is the time of year when I load up at the farmer’s markets and bring home loads of produce to cook with.  All the cases and boxes of fruit and vegetables just call to me to take them home.

I especially have a thing for the cases of summer ripened tomatoes, all of the different and beautiful varieties to choose from.  Cases and cases that smell like tomatoes…you know that smell?  Mmmmm, is your mouth watering?  We’ve been buying a lot of tomatoes this year so we’ve been enjoying them at almost every meal.  I’ve also been busy thinking up new ways to serve them.  But really, there is no other time than summer when tomatoes taste better, so I like to serve them fresh as much as I can.

Fresh Tomato Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette {A Pretty Life}

Last week when we visited our local farmer’s market they were taste testing a fresh tomato salad, and I almost didn’t try it because it didn’t look like much, it was almost too simple.  But am I ever glad I did, because this was a classic case of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’.  It was dee-licious.  So good in fact that I knew I wanted to try to make it at home, so that’s what I did.  I don’t really know what was in the original dressing, but I recognized most of the flavours, and figured I could pull something together that tasted almost as good.

Fresh Tomato Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette {A Pretty Life}2

The result is this Fresh Tomato Salad with a Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette, and it is scrumptious.  A tomato salad is a perfect way to showcase beautiful summer ripened tomatoes.  It’s even better when you pair them with a simple vinaigrette with fresh basil, it’s basically have a match made in heaven.  Think of this almost like a Caprese salad, but without the cheese, and with the tomatoes as the star of the show.  This is a really nice dish because the tomatoes are lightly coated in the dressing, so you get all of the flavours of this dish in every bite.  So good.

Fresh Tomato Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette {A Pretty Life}3

This salad would be perfect served alongside any type of BBQ chicken, steak, sausages, or pork.  Add a loaf of garlic bread and this is a great summer meal.


Yields Serves 6

Fresh Tomato Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette

15 minPrep Time

15 minTotal Time

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  • 10 - 12 medium vine ripened tomatoes
  • Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • ~ 10 fresh basil leaves (more if you like!)
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper


  1. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and add them to a salad dish.
  2. Combine the olive oil, vinegar and sugar and mix with a hand blender.
  3. Add the fresh basil leaves and blend again.
  4. Pour the dressing over the tomatoes, and lightly stir the salad.
  5. Add more chopped fresh basil if you like!
  6. Season with salt & fresh ground pepper.
  7. Enjoy right away!
Recipe Type: Salad


Make sure to serve this salad right away! If it sits too long the tomatoes will release their juices which will dilute the dressing.

Fresh Tomato Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette {A Pretty Life}4

Now you should hop on over to the Kendall-Jackson blog for my latest recipe, a Roasted Tomato, Gouda Cheese & Basil Dip.  SO good.

Roasted Tomato, Gouda Cheese & Basil Dip

Have a delicious day!


Disclosure:  I am working with Kendall-Jackson wines to bring you some delicious recipes!  But as always the recipe, my voice, all content, and opinions are mine alone.  Enjoy!

Zucchini Bread Pancakes  {A Pretty Life}FB

Zucchini Bread Pancakes

These Zucchini Bread Pancakes are a delicious way to use up any extra zucchini you have around!  They’re hearty and SO good!
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I updated an old favourite!  Enjoy!

I’ve always been very open about my love of pancakes and zucchini.  There’s no sense in hiding a love affair if it’s a good one right?  Then I thought what would happen if I brought two loves together and made them one?  Voila…Zucchini Bread Pancakes.  I used my basic oatmeal pancake recipe as a base, then I added grated fresh zucchini.  I love how they turned out! 

Zucchini Bread Pancakes {A Pretty Life}2

When you think about it, zucchini bread is delicious, so why wouldn’t the same flavours work in a pancake?  Well, let me tell you that they do in fact work.  These pancakes are so good.  So good that even the self proclaimed zucchini haters in my family love them, and will eat many.

Zucchini Bread Pancakes {A Pretty Life}

These are great for breakfast but I also like to serve them up sometimes for backwards dinner!  I do that sometimes, because some days when Dad isn’t home for dinner, I get a little more relaxed with my meal planning.  Does this ever happen to you?  Who ever decided that pancakes weren’t acceptable for dinner?  I think they are a perfectly acceptable dinner idea and my kids love the change in routine!  

Zucchini Bread Pancakes {A Pretty Life}4
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These pancakes are hearty, doughy, and have extra nutrition with the added zucchini and oats.  Winner winner pancake dinner.



Zucchini Bread Pancakes
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  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (if you want you can use 1/2 cup all purpose, and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt (a Balkan or Greek works great, or even sour cream)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 small zucchini, grated (about 1 cup)


  1. Grate the zucchini. Then between a towel, squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl combine the oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the yogurt, milk, eggs, vanilla and butter.
  4. Stir in the grated zucchini.
  5. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry. Combine.
  6. On a low to medium heat preheated griddle, scoop 1/4 cup of the batter for each pancake.
  7. Serve with syrup or a cinnamon/sugar mix.


I used a small zucchini for this recipe. My thoughts on this are: the more zucchini you use, and the less you wring it out, the more mushy your pancakes will be. So the amount of zucchini you use, is up to you. If you would like them more dry, I would suggest half of a small zucchini.

Zucchini Bread Pancakes {A Pretty Life}4
These pancakes go really well with syrup, but they are the BEST with a little cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top!
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If you’re looking for more delicious zucchini recipes, I’ve got some great ones here!
9 Delicious Zucchini Recipes To Try
Have a delicious day!
Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake  {A Pretty Life}Feature

Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake

This Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake is a perfect recipe for all of your garden fresh rhubarb. It makes a great brunch or snack cake!

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I cannot get enough of rhubarb, seriously.  I could bake with rhubarb for days…so when ever I am able to get my hands on any, I make sure that I bake as much as I can with it.  I often have good luck finding rhubarb in our local grocery store, but early this spring I planted a small rhubarb plant, and amazingly it grew into a huge plant so I had plenty of rhubarb to use!  And this is a good thing for you because I made this Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake and I think you’re going to love it. Love love it.

Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake {A Pretty Life}4

I find that rhubarb can be substituted into all kinds of recipes pretty seamlessly, and especially recipes with strawberries.  But I really love the tart and unique flavour of rhubarb on it’s own so I wanted to make something with rhubarb as the star of the show.  Rhubarb always bakes nicely into a cake, so I knew that was what I wanted to make, and I had the perfect recipe for it.  For this cake I used my Blueberry Buttermilk Breakfast Cake recipe as a guide, and instead of the blueberries, I substituted in fresh rhubarb, and it came together beautifully.  The cake is tender and tastes like vanilla, then you get scrumptious bites of the tart rhubarb with the brown sugar topping, oh my it’s cake heaven.

Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake {A Pretty Life}2

This cake will definitely be on my baking go-to list for years to come.  Aside from a snacking cake, I think it would be perfect for brunch served alongside eggs, bacon and fresh fruit.  Delicious.

Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake {A Pretty Life}

This cake is a really easy cake to make.  The ingredients are simple, so if you’ve got rhubarb to use, I bet you could make this in no time.  You won’t regret it.

You want a bite don’t you?  I don’t blame you one bit.


Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake

15 minPrep Time

60 minCook Time

1 hr, 15 Total Time

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    Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake:
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
  • Brown Sugar Topping:
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp melted butter


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare a 9x9 baking pan with a flour/oil spray. Set aside.
  3. Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake:
  4. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  5. With a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until creamy.
  6. Add the eggs, and one at a time.
  7. Add the vanilla. Mix well.
  8. To the butter mix, add 1/3 of the flour mix, then 1/2 of the buttermilk. Repeat until all combined.
  9. Gently stir the chopped rhubarb into the cake batter. Don't use a mixer, just hand mix it with a spoon.
  10. Pour/press the batter into a 9x9 baking pan.
  11. In a separate bowl, mix together the ingredients for the brown sugar topping: brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter.
  12. Sprinkle the cake with the brown sugar mix.
  13. Bake for 50 - 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake {A Pretty Life}3

If you’re craving more rhubarb, here are some delicious recipes!

Strawberry Rhubarb Recipes {A Pretty Life)

Have a delicious day!

9 Delicious Zucchini Recipes To Try

9 Delicious Zucchini Recipes To Try

Have more zucchini than you know what to do with?  Here are 9 Delicious Zucchini Recipes To Try!

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Zucchini is one of the most versatile vegetables available!  Zucchini is technically a fruit, but for all intents and purpose it’s treated like a vegetable.  No matter, what a zucchini is, is delicious.  If you’re one of the lucky ones you have a huge summer crop, with more zucchini than you know what to do with.  But if you’re like me and you don’t have a personal crop, you can buy plenty of zucchini from your local farmers markets or grocery store, and that is exactly what I do all summer long.  All zucchini all the time.

Zucchini is great to have on hand because there are so many delicious ways to cook and bake with it without getting bored.  Over the years here on my blog, I’ve shared a few of my favourite zucchini recipes, so I thought I would share them with you again, all in one easy to access place!

Here are 9 Delicious Zucchini Recipes To Try!

Zucchini, Cheddar & Chive Buttermilk Quick Bread

Zucchini, Cheddar Cheese & Chive Buttermilk Quick Bread:  Quick bread recipes are fantastic, and this particular recipe is one of my favourites.  Aside from the delicious flavour, one of the best things about this bread is that you can have it made, baked and on the table in just over an hour.  Fresh bread for dinner?  Yes please.

Zucchini Bake {A Pretty Life}

Zucchini Bake I have been making and enjoying this Zucchini Bake recipe for many, many years because my Mom made it for us when I was a kid, and now I make it for my family.  It is a great side dish recipe that pairs well with chicken and BBQ’d meats.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake {A Pretty Life}

Chocolate Zucchini Cake:  You can’t have a zucchini recipe round up without a sweet zucchini loaf or cake!  This Chocolate Zucchini Cake is so tender and chocolatey that it would even make a great birthday cake!

Best Ever Zucchini Bread {A Pretty Life}

Best Ever Zucchini Bread:  I may be biased because this recipe comes from my Mom, but I really do think this is the best ever zucchini bread.  I make many, many loaves of this bread over the summer!  This is a great recipe because it makes 2 loaves, so you can freeze one for later.  Bonus!

Zucchini Muffins {A Pretty Life}

Zucchini Muffins:  Zucchini muffins are a nice way to use up zucchini.  This is basically the same recipe as my zucchini loaf, but instead I made it into muffins.  These are great because they are easy to pack into lunches or served as snacks.

Zucchini Bread Pancakes {A Pretty Life}

Zucchini Bread Pancakes: Zucchini pancakes are SO delicious.  They’re sweet, cinnamon-y and perfect for breakfast.  My kids love them.

Zucchini Fritters {A Pretty Life}

Zucchini Fritters:  Zucchini Fritters are a great summer side dish or snack idea.  They’re excellent served with Tzatziki sauce for dipping.  So good.

Tomato, Basil & Zucchini Goat Cheese Tart

Tomato, Basil & Zucchini Goat Cheese Tart:  Tarts are always a big hit around here!  A savoury tart such as this one is a great light dinner idea or summer appetizer.

Tomato Zucchini Skillet {A Pretty Life}

Tomato Zucchini Skillet:  I think this skillet just might be my most made dish of all time.  During the summer I likely make it once a week because it’s an excellent way to use up a tonne of zucchini, and it pairs wonderfully with any type of BBQ.  The flavour is great and it’s loaded with vegetable goodness!

I hope you found some zucchini recipe inspiration for your home!  What are your favourite ways to enjoy zucchini?

Have a delicious day!


Healthy Peanut Butter Pupcakes  {A Pretty Life}

Healthy Peanut Butter Pupcakes

These Healthy Peanut Butter Pupcakes were a big hit with our family pup!  This is a simple & quick recipe to whip up for your furry friend!

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Ok, first I have to say I actually cannot believe I made pupcakes for our dog Molly’s 1st birthday.  Seriously, I don’t even recognize myself…if you would have asked me a year or so ago if I would EVER bake cupcakes for a dog I probably would have laughed hysterically.  See, I never fancied myself a dog person, but that was until Miss Molly came into our lives.

Healthy Peanut Butter Pupcakes 2{A Pretty Life}

This furball has worked her way into our hearts, and we cannot imagine our life without her in it.  The joy and laughter she has brought to us is priceless.  Ya, ya I’m getting sappy.  But seriously.  Look at her!  She was SMILING when we set that cupcake down in front of her (look at the top picture…that’s a happy pup!).  Mind you she probably couldn’t believe her luck, because we don’t normally feed her much other than her kibble, and certainly never at the dinner table, so she must have known she was getting something good.  Ha!  And I’d say these pupcakes were a hit because she gobbled up the two we gave her, really fast.  So funny.  The kids couldn’t stop laughing!

Healthy Peanut Butter Pupcakes 3{A Pretty Life}

This is a really simple recipe with ingredients that I feel good about giving her…they contain peanut butter, apples, carrots and oats, then more peanut butter for the frosting.  A dog’s dream.  And yes, we did try one…they’re pretty good. 😉


Yields Makes 12 pupcakes

Healthy Peanut Butter Pupcakes

15 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

35 minTotal Time

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  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots (approx 2 carrots)
  • 1/2 cup grated apple (approx 1 apple) (make sure to remove the core first)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter for frosting


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and oats. Set aside.
  3. With a mixer combine the egg, vegetable oil, peanut butter and honey.
  4. Stir in the shredded carrots and grated apple.
  5. Then mix the flour mixture into the egg mixture.
  6. Distribute the batter evenly between 12 muffin cups.
  7. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
  8. Let the pupcakes cool completely, then spread on extra peanut butter for the frosting.
  9. You can add a dog treat for decoration too!

Recipe slightly adapted from My Vet Animal Hospital


Have a puptastic day!


Swiss Chard {A Pretty Life}

Cooking from the farmers market

I’m sharing loads of ideas for cooking from the farmers market!  When the markets are full of fresh produce, baking and cooking is easier than ever!

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I think my absolute favourite part of summer is being able to access tonnes of locally grown produce.  There really is nothing like being able to eat veggies and fruit straight from the garden or orchard…the taste alone is worth waiting for.  It’s like you can taste the sunshine in them.  Over the course of the summer months, and into the fall, we will visit our local farmers markets many times and stock up on as much seasonal produce as we can.  I buy bags full of fresh potatoes, carrots, beets, swiss chard, herbs, fruit, tomatoes, peppers, beans, onions…I could go on and on.

The challenge for me then becomes making sure I don’t let any of it go to waste.  It feels terrible to look in the crisper and see wilted and rotten produce.  Over the years I have gotten better at not letting this happen by making sure I serve tonnes of veggies at dinner, or bake pies or make jam with ripe fruit, and I’ll freeze or dry whatever I can.

But where I find the most joy with all this produce at my fingertips, is being able to create new dishes and serve up family favourite recipes.  I find that I go back to many of the same recipes every summer, which I look forward to, so I thought I would share them with you as well!  These are dishes and desserts that I will make many times over the summer, things like pies, cakes, skillets, salads…you name it.

I hope you can find something delicious to make with all of your farmers market goodies too!

Carrots {A Pretty Life}


Fresh carrots are the best eaten raw right from the garden, don’t you think?  There’s no flavour like a summer carrot.  Carrots are a staple vegetable around here that appear at many dinners, and I use them in a lot of other dishes too.  Here are some recipe ideas:

Beets {A Pretty Life}


I think beets are such an underrated vegetable that get a bad rap.  They’re SO delicious, why don’t people love them more?  I enjoy them most roasted with butter and salt & pepper, but there are more great ways to enjoy beets.  Here are more recipe ideas:

Swiss Chard {A Pretty Life}

Swiss Chard

I love to boil fresh Swiss chard in a small amount of water until it’s tender but still green, then drain the water and toss it with butter.  So good!  I will often use Swiss Chard in other recipes that call for spinach.


Zucchini is probably my most favourite summer crop, and I use it in SO many recipes because of it’s versatility.  My most favourite is likely this Zucchini, Cheddar Cheese & Chive Buttermilk Quick Bread.  Here are more great zucchini recipes:

Farmers Market {A Pretty Life}

Fresh Summer Fruit

You just can’t beat all the fresh fruit available in the summer!  Eat it as is, throw it in smoothies, bake with it…endless deliciousness.  Here are some ideas to get you cooking and baking:


There are no potatoes quite like garden fresh potatoes, which I think are best boiled and served with butter and fresh dill.  Mmmm.  Here are more of our favourite potato recipes:

Green Beans

Oh garden fresh green beans, how do I love thee?  Lightly steamed and served with a little butter, seriously so good.  This is another great way to enjoy this versatile vegetable:

Tomatoes {A Pretty Life}


Summer tomatoes are where it’s at though.  The flavour of them during this time of year is unbeatable…they do in fact taste like the sun and summer breeze.  Sweet and delicious.  I love to add them to salads, serve them up as snacks, toss them in sauces and soups.  Here are some of my favourite tomato recipes:

Tomato Basil Bruschetta

One of my favourite recipes with fresh tomatoes is bruschetta!  I’m sharing the summer fresh appetizer recipe for Tomato Basil Bruschetta over on the Kendall-Jackson blog today, so head on over to get this recipe!  It’s a simple and scrumptious summer appie!


I hope you now feel inspired to visit your farmers market and stock up on produce!  Yum.

Have a delicious day!


Disclosure:  I am working with Kendall-Jackson wines to bring you some delicious recipes!  But as always the recipe, my voice, all content, and opinions are mine alone.  Enjoy!