The Importance of Vitamin D

Summer is finally here! Most associated with the happiest season, summer signifies so many things for people. We enjoy summer for the heat and the fact that it symbolizes vacation time. It’s a positive sign that the harsh and frigid weather is over and it’s time to enjoy beach days and fresh food. It also means that school’s out and kids get a break for a few months. Since we will be spending a lot more time outdoors, let us talk about the importance of the sunshine vitamin – Vitamin D.

Image Credit: New Africa /

Vitamin D is a nutrient your body needs for building and maintaining healthy bones. Our bodies make Vitamin D from sunlight when it interacts with a chemical in your skin. It also regulates and supports many other functions in your body.

Importance of Vitamin D:

  • creates stronger bone density
  • supports immune health
  • reduces the risk of cancer
  • helps treat skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema
  • alleviates arthritic symptoms

PLUS, Vitamin D has many health benefits! According to Healthline, it can reduce your risk of developing:

  • heart disease
  • multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • depression
  • weight gain

Studies have also shown that being outside in the sun boosts happiness and makes people feel more positive and energized. Healthline also states that “…serotonin…is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused”. So, what does this mean? It basically means that it stabilizes your mood and helps you feel content and at ease.

Doctors say it’s extremely important to have enough Vitamin D because depletion can cause high levels of fatigue, depression and anxiety. Few foods are naturally rich in vitamin D, however, many foods that we eat are fortified with vitamin D like dairy products and cereals.

According to Medical News Today, the following foods contain sufficient amounts of vitamin D:

  • fatty fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel, and tuna)
  • mushrooms
  • beef liver
  • egg yolk
  • fortified milk
  • fortified cereals and juices

With that said, summer is a wonderful time to enjoy the sunshine. As long as you pile on the sunscreen and stay hydrated, there’s no reason you shouldn’t spend all summer outside. After all, it’s the shortest season of the year, so make it count!

Are you attending any Summer Camps? Did you know that we offer In-Person and Virtual Camps this summer? Check out our website for more info:

Feel free to let us know about your exciting summer plans and tag us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (@rookstocooks). Stay safe and have fun!

How to Reduce Clutter, Prevent Lego-Related Foot Injuries and Make a Better World

Guest Blog Post from our partner Wish and Give

By Julie LeJeune, Founder of Wish & Give

Maybe you’re the world’s most organized person. Maybe your house is always clean, the laundry is always done, and the children’s toys are in labelled compartments, neatly stored in their rooms.

Or maybe your house looks a little more like mine with a healthy sprinkling of Lego, cars, dolls and miscellaneous art projects on almost every surface. I love Christmas, but there is a part of me that looks with unspeakable dread at the piles of toys accumulating in brightly wrapped piles knowing that more ‘stuff’ is about to be launched into my home.  The feeling is compounded with one birthday in the fall and the second in late winter! It would be easy to shake my fist at the toy companies, but the problem is that I’m partly responsible, too.  I can’t blame all the stuff on the grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends, I also like to shop for them and spoil them on birthdays and holidays.

But sometimes, countless gifts aren’t the best way to show love. Instead of excitement, kids can quickly get overwhelmed by too many choices, bouncing from one gift to the next until they’re sitting in the middle of a pile of toys saying, “I’m bored!”

While it’s amazing and fun to celebrate each other at birthdays (and we should), do we need to celebrate with more stuff?

In October 2017, I launched Wish and Give—a different way to celebrate (and save your feet from stepping on discarded toys)!  Each event supports a local charity or non-profit.  It’s not only for children’s parties but grown-up parties too.

By using Wish and Give for birthday parties, children still receive a gift, but family and guests are asked to contribute towards one bigger, more meaningful, gift and to give a donation to charity on the child’s behalf. Imagine this: Instead of your child opening that ugly sweater from Aunt So-and-So that they’ll never wear, your child gets something they actually wanted, and they get to feel good about giving back (and so does Aunt So-and-So!).

What you support is completely up to you! I’d encourage you to sit down together to choose a charity or non-profit to support. You search by postal code to find a charity near you. It’s a great way to discover the amazing things happening right in your backyard. All 86,000+ charities in Canada are on the site and any non-profit can be added (just Contact me at

By refocusing celebrations, starting with young children, we will raise a generation of thoughtful, caring individuals who are just as concerned about the world around them as they are their own wellbeing.  I’m seeing the fruits of this with the kids who have already used Wish and Give for their birthday.

So here is to less stuff (and foot injuries and clutter) and more giving!

Rooks to Cooks offers fun and exciting Virtual Cooking Birthday Parties. Why not organize a virtual party through the Wish and Give website and plan a wonderful celebration for your child’s special day?!

For more information, please visit Wish and Give website, or email Julie:

Increased Screen Time: Learn about Blue Light exposure & Strategies to help protect your family

Since the start of the pandemic, we have found ourselves online a lot more than usual. Chef Shai recently spoke with a Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Marissa Canning, on the topic of how blue light from screens can affect all our health, but especially the health of our children. We thank Dr. Canning for her valuable and helpful suggestions, and we invite you to read on and visit her websites for more information on services and products. Dr. Canning is Co-Owner of Lakeside Naturopathic Clinic and NaturoAcademy.

While online learning, after-school cooking classes and our virtual culinary camps have played a huge role in keeping us all connected during this past year, we have become increasingly aware of the effects that added screen time has had on our children’s health.

Screen time is at an all-time high for most kids which has a number of consequences, many of which are related to excessive blue light exposure. This is a concern in all of us (kids and adults alike!), but blue light affects children more than it affects adults. This is due to the fact that the crystalline lens of the eye is not fully developed yet allowing more light to penetrate through. Children’s pupils are also larger than adults, meaning they are able to take in more harmful blue light than adults do.

Fear not!  We have partnered with Dr. Marissa Canning, ND from NaturoAcademy to share with the Rooks to Cooks Community some simple strategies to help protect your little ones and help to reduce their exposure, and a discount code for you to protect your family with NaturoBlocks, Canada’s best Blue Blocking Glasses!

How Blue Light Affects Kids:

Sleep Disruption

Exposure to blue light (present in screens and artificial lighting) in the evenings prevents the body from releasing melatonin, the hormone required for proper sleep and repair.

Learning Difficulties

Blue light can contribute to decreased productivity, attention, energy, poor concentration, and sore eyes. All of these symptoms make virtual learning a very difficult task!

Mental Health Concerns

Not only is blue light addictive, but it also alters our “feel-good” neurotransmitter called Dopamine, which is involved in pleasure and reward centres of our brain. It may be hard to believe, but blue light can have similar effects on our brain to gambling, sugar, and even certain recreational drugs, giving us a quick hit of feeling good but ultimately leading to dependency and craving for more. Children are especially susceptible to this addiction and overuse of technology can lead to anti-social behaviour, temper tantrums, and attention disorders. It’s important to minimize blue light exposure especially during the crucial years of brain development.

Headaches and Migraines

Screens (computer, iPad, phones, TVs, video games) and artificial lighting are common triggers for headaches in children. This may be due to the fact that excessive blue light creates reactive oxygen species leading to cellular damage (especially in the eye). This happens in all of us, but little ones are particularly sensitive to the effects!

Increased Appetite for Sugary Foods

Have you noticed that your kid is reaching for the cookie jar more often since switching to virtual learning? That is because blue light boosts the body’s primary stress hormone cortisol, which leads to blood sugar instability. With long term exposure to blue light this can lead to insulin resistance, leptin resistance, and changes in neurotransmitter function (especially dopamine), which can all cause sugar and carbohydrate cravings.


How to Protect Your Kids from Blue Light: 

  1. Frequent Sun Breaks

Whenever your kids have breaks, get outside!

  1. Use NaturoBlocks Blue Blocking Glasses during R2C Virtual Cooking Classes

During R2C Virtual Cooking Classes, wearing blue-blocking glasses can have a huge impact on reducing their exposure to blue light. NaturoBlocks Daytime Screen Glasses block out 88% of harmful blue light while still allowing some blue which is important in small quantities during the day. Most blue-blocking glasses do NOT block the problematic wavelength of light (455nm) that is emitted from these devices so beware! Shop now ( or learn more about how our glasses work (

SPECIAL OFFER: Be sure to use discount code: ROOKSWEAR’ at checkout for 15% off!

  1. Use Blue Light Filtering Software

If you have a newer Apple product (MacBook, iPhone or iPad), be sure to turn on NightShift and set it so that it stays on all day. Android users can use Twilight App.

  1. Avoid Blue Light at Night

As discussed above, blue light exposure at night decreases sleep quality which has massive consequences for our overall health. This is especially important for kids because proper physical growth, development and memory consolidation (learning) all require proper sleep. After the sun sets, avoid the use of screens (especially a few hours before bedtime) and use dim lighting such as candles, salt lamps, or red LED bulbs. An alternative is to use NaturoBlocks Blue Blocking Glasses which block 88% of harmful blue light in order to maximize sleep quality.

Parents, you have taken on the impossible during this past year. We see you protecting your kids at every turn of this pandemic, now trying to help your little ones navigate this increasingly virtual world. You’re doing a great job! Rooks to Cooks and NaturoAcademy hopes this helps to ease some of the stress!

Mother’s Day Cooking Fun

Special Contributor: Mardi Roback, Marketing Intern at Rooks to Cooks

#CONTEST REMINDER: Don’t forget about our Instagram Contest to win a Rooks to Cooks Goodie Bag, which includes a chef coat, apron, no-cut glove, R2C hat and swag bag (valued at $60). Between Friday, May 8 and Monday, May 11 (11:59 p.m.) post a picture to show us what you made for your mom on her special day! Winner will be randomly selected from all posts received. Contest Instructions: (1) post a picture of what you made for mom use hashtag #RTCforMom, (2) Follow and tag us @rooks2cooks, (3) Go to our Instagram post, comment on the post and tell us “Done”, (4) for some bonus entries, tag a friend in the comments. Contest is open to all Canadian residents 18+ (or with parent’s permission). Winner will be contacted within 24 hours of the deadline. Happy Cooking and Good luck!!

There’s no better way to celebrate Mother’s Day as a family than with a delicious Mother’s Day breakfast or brunch. Mom will love a specially made feast created by her little ones! Let’s celebrate Mom and show her how much we appreciate everything that she does, from the cooking and the cleaning to all of the hugs and kisses!

During the pandemic, we appreciate that not all ingredients will be readily available, so we are providing a few different options to get kids into the kitchen to create some fun and delicious treats for mom!

To get all of your kids involved in the Mother’s Day activities, start with creating Mother’s Day cards! Kids of all ages can colour and decorate a special card for mom with crayons and pictures.

Before we get started, let’s think about Mom. Does she like sweet or salty food? What is her fa-vorite food? What does she order when you go out to eat or stay in? Brainstorming ideas about Mom’s food preferences is the best way to pick the perfect recipe for her!

family cooking

Here are a few fun brunch ideas that kids of all ages will love to help out with:

  • Pancakes: Does Mom have a sweet tooth? Pancakes are a breakfast/brunch staple, and we know mom will love the addition of some fresh blueberries! Pancakes are simple, easy, and fun! A pancake breakfast is sure to make Mom smile. P.S a few chocolate chips never hurt anyone…(Check out our fluffy pancake recipe below!)
  • Eggs and toast: Fried or Scrambled Eggs are an easy breakfast/brunch idea for Mom, making sure that she gets her protein and whole grains in early to fuel her busy day! Choose Mom’s favourite spreads for the toast such as cream cheese, butter, jam, peanut butter, or Nutella. Maybe cook up bacon or sausage on the side for some added protein. 
  • Fruit and Yogurt Parfait: Fresh fruits are full of good nutrients and vitamins, so make a list with your kids of Mom’s favorite fruits and get them to help you set it up. Mix the fruit with the yogurt and maybe add some granola or nuts and seeds for a nice crunch!
  • Baked goods – Croissants, cinnamon buns, cookies, cupcakes …Oh my! If you are up for a challenge, you might consider making one of these delicious treats. There is nothing more special than some home-baked goods to show Mom how sweet she really is!

We challenge you to expand your mind and try to be as creative as possible. Maybe you make a happy face out of fruit on top of the pancakes, pick some flowers from the garden, or add a se-cret ingredient like a pinch of cinnamon to Mom’s Yogurt Parfait! 

And finally, always remember to put safety first! Teach and remind your children about kitchen safety. Make sure that your kids are always supervised while they are in the kitchen – especially important if you are cooking on the stove, and while using any kitchen tools that may be sharp or dangerous if not used correctly. Kids of all ages can participate in helping the family whip up a delicious breakfast for Mom! Give your child a special job to make them feel important and like they are contributing to some-thing special. It could be measuring ingredients, putting them in the bowl, mixing the ingredients, decorating, etc. 

Now you are all ready to give Mom a special Mother’s Day treat. Join in the fun whether you are big or small and give Mom a Mother’s Day that she will never forget! Ready…. set….cook!

P.S. We look forward to seeing your creations on Instagram for your chance to win a great prize pack!! 

Rooks to Cooks Fluffy Pancake Recipe / Yield: 4 pancakes

** be sure to double or triple the recipe if you need more pancakes **


  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • optional: blueberries or chocolate chips
  • Maple syrup topping 


  1. Beat egg until fluffy.
  2. Whisk in milk and vegetable oil.
  3. Add dry ingredients and mix until JUST combined.
  4. Heat a frying pan which is greased.
  5. Pour a small amount of batter (approx. 1/4 cup) into pan and tip to spread out or spread with a spoon. Add optional items now, i.e. arrange a few blueberries on top. 
  6. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface and begin to break and the edges firm up. Flip over and cook the second side until pancakes are fluffy, lightly browned, and cooked through.
  7. Plate your pancakes; add a few more toppings like maple syrup, fresh berries, icing sugar or whipping cream. Yum!



Rooks to Cooks Baking Bash Recipes


New Virtual Cooking show lovingly created for children and parents by our amazing chefs!

We have been working hard in the Rooks to Cooks kitchen to come up with ways to keep our families cooking and your kids engaged during this challenging time. You may have tuned in to our Lunch Club videos already – if not, then be sure to check them out on our YouTube Channel (insert link:

NEW! The other initiative that we have been working on is Rooks to Cooks Weekend Baking Bash on Instagram Live!! 

On Weekends, starting Saturday, March 28th at 2:00 p.m., join Chef Mistry, our Lead Chef in Thornhill, as she goes Live on Instagram with WEEKEND BAKING BASH! Children and parents can tune in from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. and Chef Mistry will be teaching awesome baking recipes for kids and families to try while isolating at home. SEE BELOW FOR SCHEDULE AND FULL RECIPES


Saturday, March 28 Not All Alone Scones
Sunday, March 29 My World Won’t (Fruit) Crumble
Saturday, April 4 Bring Me Joy Bars
Sunday, April 5 Bananas for Friend-Chip Cookies

If you haven’t already done so, please FOLLOW us on Instagram and Facebook as we will be posting a reminder to tune in the DAY BEFORE. Feel free to share the Rooks to Cooks Baking Bash news with your friends and family; TAG your friends and they can join in on the fun!!

SHARE your Photos or Videos of your child with Rooks to Cooks!! Seeing their pupils cooking away in the midst of everything would help brighten our days and continue to motivate our chefs to continue working hard developing more content! Share on FB and / or Instagram with the hashtag #R2Cbakingbash. We look forward to seeing your creations!!

We hope that our Baking Bash live show and our Lunch Club videos help to teach your family new skills and recipes while at the same time bringing you entertainment, joy, and, of course, delicious food to enjoy all together! Stay tuned for more information coming during the week via our Social Media Channels.

Saturday, March 28

Not All Alone Scones


  • 2 ½ cup (330g) All-purpose Flour (substitution: Gluten-free flour, Whole Wheat Flour)
  • ¼ cup (60g) Sugar (substitution: Brown Sugar, Honey, Maple Syrup, Sweetener)
  • 1 tbsp + ¼ tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ cup (114g) Unsalted Butter, cut into small chunks (substitution: Margarine, Shortening, Vegan Butter)
  • ½ cup (135g) Buttermilk (substitution: Milk, Yogurt, Sour Cream, Dairy Alternative)
  • ½ cup (130g) 35% Heavy Cream (substitution: Milk, Yogurt, Sour Cream, Dairy Alternative)
  • ¼- ½ cup Inclusions – such use dried fruit, raisins for sweet scones or cheese for savoury scones or Anything your heart desires.


  1. Measure out your ingredients. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. In a large bowl, sift in flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Rub the cold butter into the flour mixture between your fingertips until pea-sized bits are achieved. Add inclusions, if using.
  4. Pour in buttermilk and heavy cream and work dough until it comes together.
  5. Roll into an 8″ round and cut into 8 equal triangular pieces.
  6. Let dough rest for 20 minutes.
  7. Brush scones with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar or salt (depending on whether the scone will be sweet or savoury).
  8. Bake for 20- 25 minutes.


Sunday, March 29

My World Won’t (Fruit) Crumble

Yield: Serves 6



  • 6-7 cups Fruit, enough to fill pan (Fresh or frozen berries, peaches, plums, apples, rhubarb
  • ½- 1 cup Sugar
  • 1-3 teaspoon lemon Juice
  • 1-3 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ( optional)


  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour (substitution: Gluten Free Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Oat Flour, Rolled Oats, Ground Almonds)
  • ½ cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder (optional)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon (optional) (substitution: nutmeg, clove, ginger)
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ½ cup Butter, room temp


  1. Prepare the baking dish. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F. Coat baking dish with butter; set aside
  2. Prepare the fruit filling. If necessary, dice the fruit into bite-sized pieces, removing any stems, seeds, or inedible parts. Toss the fruit with sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, and any spices in a large bowl. Use more sugar and less lemon juice when cooking with tart fruits, like rhubarb and blackberries, and less sugar but more lemon juice for sweet fruits, like peaches and plums. Best to taste a piece of fruit and adjust to taste. Use more cornstarch with very juicy fruits like plums and less with firm fruits like apples.
  3. Transfer the fruit filling into the baking dish.
  4. Prepare the crumble topping. Whisk the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Cut the butter into a few large pieces and toss these in the dry ingredients. Using your fingers, a fork, or a pastry cutter, work the butter into the dry ingredients until large, heavy crumbs are formed.
  5. Scatter the crumble over the fruit. Pour the crumble topping evenly over the fruit.
  6. Bake the crumble until the fruit juices are bubbling around the edges of the pan and the topping is firm to the touch, approximately 30 to 35 minutes.
  7. Let the crumble cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Saturday, April 4

Bring Me Joy Bars

Yield: 8 coconut macaroons


  • 1 egg white, large
  • 4 Tbsp Sugar (substitution: Brown Sugar, Cane Sugar, Honey, Maple Syrup)
  • 1 cup shredded Coconut (substitution: Desiccated coconut, sliced coconut)
  • ¼ tsp Vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 3 tbsp Jam (optional); any flavour you like
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips (substitution: good quality chocolate)


  1. Preheat oven to 325° F (165° C) degrees. Line a small pan or baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg white with a teaspoon until foamy. Add sugar, vanilla, and salt and mix everything.
  3. Add coconut and stir until well mixed. You should be able to form balls with two teaspoons. They should be moist and sticky, but egg white shouldn’t be too visible because egg whites are runny once they are heated in the oven. Because egg whites vary in size, you may need to adjust the consistency with additional sugar or coconut.
  4. Roughly divide into 8 parts. Form into balls with two teaspoons or a cookie scoop and place them on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture, placing macaroons about 1 inch apart.
  5. Alternately, press all mixture flat into small baking dish.
  6. Bake them until slightly golden, about 15-20 minutes.
  7. Remove baking sheet from oven to a wire rack, and let macaroons cool on a baking sheet.
  8. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. I used the microwave method: put the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and keep stirring the chocolate every 15 seconds until chocolate is melted and smooth. Do not overcook chocolate in the microwave.
  9. Lay out a large piece of parchment paper. Dip the bottom of macaroons into the chocolate and placed them on the paper to dry. If you still have extra chocolate left, drizzle the tops with chocolate.
  10. Let the macaroons sit until the chocolate has dried. These keep well in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Sunday, April 5

Bananas for Friend-Chip Cookies

Yields: 12 cookies


  • 1 cup (120g) All-purpose Flour (substitution: Whole Wheat Flour, Oat Flour, Gluten Free Flour)
  • ¾ tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Ground cinnamon (optional) (substitution: nutmeg, cardamom)
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 1 ½ Tbsp (21g) Butter (substitution: coconut oil, margarine, shortening, vegan butter, oil)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla (optional)
  • ¼ cup (67g) Mashed Banana (Fresh or Frozen)
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) Milk (substitution: dairy alternative, water) Note: Omit milk if using frozen banana
  • 1/3 cup (64g) Sugar (optional) (substitution: Cane Sugar, Brown Sugar, Sweetener, Honey, Maple Syrup)
  • 3 Tbsp (42g) Chocolate chips (substitution: Mini chocolate chips)


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, stir together the butter, vanilla, mashed banana, and milk. Stir in the coconut sugar. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Fold in 2 ½ tablespoons of miniature chocolate chips. Chill the cookie dough for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  3. Drop the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet using a spoon and a spatula. Flatten the cookie dough to the desired thickness and width. Gently press the remaining miniature chocolate chips into the tops. Bake at 350°F for 9-11 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.


Rooks to Cooks Lunch Club Recipes

Rooks to Cooks Lunch Club Recipes


** Cooking Videos lovingly prepared for children and parents by our amazing chefs! **

We have been working hard in the Rooks to Cooks kitchen to come up with a way to keep our families cooking and your kids engaged during this challenging time. After countless hours of preparing and filming we are super excited to announce 2 new initiatives that we have been working on: The Rooks to Cooks Lunch Club and Rooks to Cooks Baking Bash!!

First, what is the Lunch Club you may ask? Starting Monday, March 23rd and running until Friday, April 3rd, Rooks to Cooks will release a new instructional cooking video at 11:00 a.m. teaching your family how to prepare a different lunch item every weekday (Monday to Friday)! Videos are easy to follow along and feature recipes that are not only nutritious and delicious but also utilize ingredients commonly found in the pantry. Our recipes were created to welcome substitutions in case not all ingredients are on hand. 

Join us EVERY DAY for a brand new Lunch Club Cooking video via YouTube. Children can follow along at 11:00 am and have lunch prepared and on the table for the whole family by 12:30 p.m.

Please see BELOW for the Schedule and the Recipes that we will be preparing for the Lunch Club. 


Monday, March 23 Roasted Chickpea Caesar Salad Wrap
Tuesday, March 24 Millionaires Minestrone Soup
Wednesday, March 25 Whatever-you’ve-gotta Frittata
Thursday, March 26 Crispy Chickpea and Quinoa Salad
Friday, March 27 Protein-Packed Quesadillas
Monday, March 30 Traditional Shakshuka
Tuesday, March 31 Buffalo Cauliflower or Chicken Bites
Wednesday, April 1 Charred Red Pepper & Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese
Thursday, April 2 Scrumptious Sloppy Joes
Friday, April 3 Creamy Tomato Pasta

If you haven’t participated in one of our cooking camps or programs, then we suggest that you purchase a cut-safe glove for your aspiring chef. We supply the gloves to our campers when they sign up for camp and we consistently use them and recommend them to parents to keep children safe in the kitchen. Click on the link below and you can order from Amazon:

If you haven’t already done so, please FOLLOW us on Instagram and Facebook as we will be posting the recipe and a reminder to tune in the DAY BEFORE the Video goes live. Feel free to share the Rooks to Cooks Lunch Club news with your friends and family; TAG your friends and they can join in on the fun!!

SHARE your Photos or Videos of your child with Rooks to Cooks!! Seeing their pupils cooking away in the midst of everything would help brighten our days and continue to motivate our chefs to continue working hard developing more content! Share on FB and / or Instagram with the hashtag #R2Clunchclub. We look forward to seeing your creations!!

Also, we are Announcing WEEKEND BAKING BASH with Chef Mistry, our Lead Chef in Thornhill! On Weekends, you can tune in to Instagram LIVE and Chef Mistry will be teaching you all awesome baking recipes for your kids and families to try while isolating at home. PLEASE NOTE: Baking Bash Recipes will be posted during the week of March 23 in a separate post. We will notify you via social media when they are available online.


Saturday, March 28 Not All Alone Scones
Sunday, March 29 My World Won’t (Fruit) Crumble
Saturday, April 4 Bananas for Friend-Chip Cookies
Sunday, April 5 Bring Me Joy Bars

We hope that our Lunch Club videos and our Baking Bash live show help to teach your family new skills and recipes while at the same time bringing you entertainment, joy, and, of course, delicious food to enjoy all together! Stay tuned for more information coming this weekend via our Social Media Channels.

Facebook link: 

Instagram @rooks2cooks link: 

Twitter link: 

YouTube Channel:


Vegetarian Caesar Salad Dressing 

Yield: Makes approximately 1 cup of dressing


  • 1 Large egg yolk, room temperature
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced (6g)
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar (5ml)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (5ml)
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Optional: lemon juice


  1. In a small mixing bowl whisk the egg yolk, Dijon mustard, and minced garlic together. Add white wine vinegar. While whisking vigorously, VERY SLOWLY add the canola and olive oil in a thin stream. DON’T STOP MIXING.
  2. When all oil has been added, add the Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Fold in the finely grated parmesan cheese.
  4. Season to taste and serve.
  5. If the dressing is too thick, add some lemon juice, 1 tsp at a time until the desired thickness is achieved. Alternatively, if the dressing is too thin, add more oil (slowly) until the desired thickness is achieved.


Roasted Chickpea Caesar Salad Wrap

Yield: 6 Wraps


  • ¾ cup Rooks to Cooks’ Signature Caesar Salad Dressing
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 carrots, grated or sliced julienne
  • ½ cabbage, kale or romaine lettuce finely shredded (300g)
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 whole wheat tortilla wraps


  1. To roast the chickpeas, preheat the oven to 450F and coat chickpeas in oil, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Place on a parchment-lined sheet pan and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking.
  2. In the meantime, prep your veg.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together half of the dressing, and all of the chickpeas, carrots, shredded cabbage, sunflower seeds, and parmesan. Leave the other half of the dressing to the side.
  4. Spread a bit of the leftover dressing onto the wrap to coat the surface. Place half of the mixture in the centre of each tortilla. Wrap as per chef demo.
  5. OPTIONAL: Heat a fry pan over medium heat. Place the wrap, seam side down on the pan and cook for about one minute, or until the tortilla wrap is secured.
  6. Cut wrap on a bias to serve.


Millionaires Minestrone Soup

Yield: 6 servings


  • 40ml olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 large carrot carrots, finely diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 – 28oz can diced tomatoes, tomatoes hand mashed
  • 1 – 15oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1500mL stock
  • 1 can kidney beans strained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked macaroni or alternative pasta
  • ⅓ cup French beans, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces


  1. In a medium pot, heat oil on medium heat. Add onions and cook for 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one more minute. Add tomato paste and cook for one more minute.
  2. Add tomatoes, carrots, celery, tomatoes, dried herbs and bay leaves. Cook for 10 minutes or until carrots are soft.
  3. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add kidney beans and French beans and simmer for 10 more minutes or until the French beans are soft.
  5. Add macaroni and season to taste.
  6. Serve hot.


Whatever-you’ve-gotta Frittata

Yield: 6 servings


  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 potatoes, grated
  • 1 green pepper or vegetable of choice finely diced
  • ¼ cup of chopped bacon or sausage (optional)
  • 6 eggs
  • ¼ cup of milk, cream, yogurt or dairy-free alternative
  • 2 tbsps of fresh herbs
  • ¾ cup of cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Heat oil into a medium cast-iron pan. Sauté onions until clear. Add potatoes and veggies in the skillet and sauté until soft. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a bowl, whisk eggs with milk and season with salt and pepper. Add the potato mixture, bacon, cheese and fresh herbs to the bowl.
  4. Oil cast-iron pan. Pour mixture in and cover with tin foil. Bake until firm (approximately 25 minutes).
  5. Once frittata is springy and firm, remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Slice and serve hot.


Crispy Chickpea and Quinoa Salad

Yields: 6 servings


Roasted chickpeas:

  • 1 cup canned chickpeas strained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 100 mL of Lemon juice, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • 200 mL olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, or any oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  • 5 cups of uncooked quinoa
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ cup dried cranberries, raisins, apples (optional)
  • ¼ cup g toasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pecans or almonds
  • ½ cup of feta, crumbled
  • ¼ bunch of fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
  • 1 small red onion, white onion or shallots finely diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil


  1. Put chickpeas on a sheet pan and bake at 450F until crisp (Approximately 25 minutes).
  2. In a small pot, bring 3 cups of water to boil, and season with salt. Once boiling, add quinoa and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the water is fully absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside off the heat for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing.
  4. Add dressing to taste to the cooked quinoa, dried fruit, seeds, herbs, onions and feta cheese. Toss to combine.
  5. Enjoy your salad at room temperature, or chill in the fridge for 1 hour to allow the flavours to combine.


Protein-Packed Quesadillas with Pico de Gallo

Yield: 6 Servings


  • Quesadillas
    • ½ Tbsp olive oil or an alternative oil
    • 450g ground meat or cooked lentils
    • 1 tsp chili powder
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • ½ tsp oregano
    • ½ tsp onion powder
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp pepper
    • 1 tbsp tomato paste
    • 2 tbsp stock or water
    • 3 cups shredded cheese
    • 6 x 8-inch diameter flour tortillas
  • Pico de Gallo
    • 4 tomatoes, halved
    • 1 sweet onion, quartered
    • 1 lime zested and juiced
    • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
    • Salt to taste
    • Sugar to taste (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. In a medium pan, heat olive oil. Once hot add ground meat or lentils, spices, salt and pepper. Heat until cooked through and fragrant (will take longer for the meat than lentils). Stir in tomato paste and stock and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
  3. Remove mixture from pan and put in a bowl. If there is any excess grease, drain and dispose.
  4. Lay tortillas on a large sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Distribute 2 cups of the cheese evenly among all the tortillas (only on one side). Reserve the 1 cup for later.
  5. Distribute the ground beef or lentil mixture on top of the cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly on top and fold the tortilla over so you have a half moon shape.
  6. Bake at 450F for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
  7. In the meantime, prepare the pico de gallo.
  8. To make the pico de gallo place the tomatoes and onion in a food processor. Pulse until evenly chopped, NOT PUREED! Add cilantro, sugar, salt, lime juice and zest and pulse again to mix. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Remove from food processor and set aside.
  9. Remove quesadillas from oven. Let sit for 2 minutes to cool slightly. Cut each moon into 4 equal wedges and serve with pico de gallo and sour cream.


Traditional Shakshuka Recipe

Yield: 6 Servings


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium green pepper, finely diced
  • 2 – 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas strained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 pinch cayenne (optional)
  • Sugar to taste (if needed)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 6 eggs


  1. Heat a deep, large skillet or sauté pan on medium. Heat olive oil in the pan. Add chopped onion, and sweat until clear. Add garlic and continue to sauté until clear. Add spices and cook until oil changes colour.
  2. Add the bell pepper, sauté for 5-7 minutes over medium until softened. Add tomatoes and chickpeas to pan, stir until blended. Stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until it starts to reduce. At this point, you can taste the mixture and spice it according to your preference. Add salt and pepper to taste, more sugar for a sweeter sauce, or more cayenne pepper for a spicier shakshuka. Create wells for eggs. Crack the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, making sure to space them evenly over the sauce. Cover the pan and cook the eggs to taste (shorter for a runnier egg, longer for a stiffer egg).
  3. Serve with crusty bread.


Buffalo Cauliflower or Chicken Bites

Yields: 4 servings


  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour (120g)
  • 250mL of milk, canned coconut milk or water (1 cup)
  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken down into bite-sized florets
  • ¾ cup mild hot sauce, or barbecue sauce (187mL)
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (optional)
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Set up your breading station for your cauliflower. One bowl for your flour, seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder, and another large bowl for your milk or alternative.
  3. First, dip your cauliflower into the flour until fully dusted. This will help our batter to stick!
  4. Whisk your seasoned flour into your milk or milk alternative until a thick batter forms.
  5. Dip your flour-dusted cauliflower into the batter, letting any excess drip off before transferring to your prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake your cauliflower bites in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.
  7. While the cauliflower is baking, stir together the hot sauce and melted butter.
  8. When your cauliflower is golden brown, remove from the oven and toss with your prepared sauce then bake another 5-10 minutes.

Chef’s tip: These tasty buffalo cauliflower bites go great with a bowl of grains like rice or quinoa, on top of a salad or even inside a taco alongside some fresh salsa. You can swap out the cauliflower for 350g of chicken breast or tofu cut into bite-sized pieces for more tasty variations.


Chef Shai’s Charred Red Pepper & Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese

Yield: 2 servings


  • 1 Red pepper, charred, peeled & de-seeded
  • 1 large onion, medium diced
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1-28 oz can of whole tomatoes unsalted
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 1 sprig basil
  • Salt, pepper and sugar to taste


  1. In a medium pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and sweat until soft and clear. While onions are sweating, open a can of tomatoes and measure stock. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  2. Add tomatoes, pepper, vegetable stock and basil. Bring contents of pot to a simmer and let simmer for 15 minutes or until peppers and tomatoes are very soft.
  3. Remove basil and puree with an immersion blender.
  4. Season to taste, serve hot.

Grilled Cheese

Yield: 2 servings


  • 150g old white cheddar sliced thinly OR 1.5 cups shredded cheddar
  • 4 Slices of sourdough bread
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened


  1. Heat butter in a large frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Assemble sandwiches as demonstrated in class.
  3. Place sandwiches carefully in the butter and fry until crisp and golden brown. Flip and continue frying until second side is crisp and golden brown and cheese is fully melted.
  4. Remove sandwiches from frying pan and slice in half. Serve immediately.


Scrumptious Sloppy Joes

Yields: 6 servings



  • 2 cups water
  • 250 g dried green lentils, well rinsed or ground meat of your choice

Sloppy Joes

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 6 hamburger buns or toasted slices of bread


  1. To a small pot, add water and rinsed lentils and cook over medium heat.
  2. Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered until lentils are tender, around 18 minutes. Once cooked, drain off any excess liquid and set aside.
  3. In a large frying pan, heat vegetable oil and sweat onions until translucent. To the onions, add garlic and spices and cook stirring constantly for 1 minute until very fragrant.
  4. Stir in the diced pepper, and cook for 2 minutes until beginning to soften.
  5. Next add the tomato sauce, sugar, and Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine, then mix in the cooked lentils.
  6. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and cook over medium heat until it’s beginning to thicken.
  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning – sloppy joes should have a little bit of heat and a little bit of sweet! Serve these with your favourite buns or bread, or try your hand at making your very own hamburger buns.

Chef’s tip: these sloppy joes are easy to adapt with ingredients you have in your pantry. You can swap the lentils out for 250g of any ground meat, or even crumbled firm tofu.


Super Simple Creamy Tomato Pasta

Yields: 4 servings


  • 40 mL olive oil, or other vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 250mL canned coconut milk, unsweetened plain yogurt or cream (1 cup)
  • 4 cups of your favourite shape of pasta (1 lb)
  • ½ cup reserved pasta water
  • Salt


  1. Heat the oil over low heat in a large frying pan, then sauté garlic until fragrant.
  2. Add the tomato paste to the garlic, stir to combine then cook until the tomato paste turns a deep red colour.
  3. Add the coconut milk and salt, stir once more to combine and bring to a simmer, occasionally stirring the bottom.
  4. While the sauce is simmering, cook your pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Be sure to save 100mL of the starchy pasta water to finish your dish!
  5. Toss your cooked pasta with the simmered sauce and your pasta water. The starch in the pasta water will help the sauce stick to your pasta and create a glossy sauce.

Chef’s tip: Once you have this pasta sauce made, you can add in any extra vegetables you may have! I like to throw in some halved cherry tomatoes and fresh arugula for pops of fresh colour and flavour.