Journey with Germani

Journey with Germani! The Girl is Back in Town!

Posted by Bruce on September 20, 2018
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Hello BITC readers!

I hope everyone had a fun and safe, beautiful and magical summer!

Erik and I are happy to be back with some recipes and wine pairings; and Erik had the wonderful idea of a hearty dish, in preparation for warm reds and savory fall meals.

I thought that I’d share a simple braised meat dish.

This recipe can be used with beef shank, brisket, oxtail or lamb etc. I popped into my local grocery store tonight and the best deal seemed to be a larger portion of lamb shoulder chops. As braising meat is traditionally a method meant for cooking cheaper cuts of meat, this also won’t break the bank.

You will need:

· About 2 pounds of meat to be braised (there are about 6 small portions of lamb shoulder in my cooking tonight).
· A handful of mushrooms.
· Half an onion (I used a red onion for sweetness).
· About half a cup to a cup of dry red wine (and a glass for the chef). Enough to submerge but not enough to completely cover the meat.
· Two cloves of garlic.
· Pinch of salt or salt to taste.
· I also added a couple of spoons of canned crushed tomatoes (I was making a simple tomato sauce at the same time, a dab of tomato paste or pureed tomatoes would be nice to add instead but it is not necessary).
· Olive oil, about tbsp.

1. I like to rinse the cuts of meat with cool water first, I’m sure this is a preference and not necessary. In any case, dab the meat with a paper towel, this helps to brown the meat first.

2. I’m using a stove top method (with a lid coming into play about 30 minutes into the cooking process), as I don’t have a Dutch oven but this can be completed in a Dutch oven instead. If you are using a Dutch oven, you can brown the meat and cook the veggies on the stove, and once you add the meat, wine etc. it can be further braised in the oven.

3. Brown the meat on both sides with a splash of olive oil for 5 to 10 minutes (until you have some browning on either side, doesn’t have to be fully cooked through).

4. Once the meat is browned, remove from the pan or Dutch oven and set aside to sit.

5. Add finely chopped garlic, onions and chopped mushrooms to the pan with the olive oil that was used to brown the meat. Cook the vegetables for about 5 minutes, until softened.

6. Add the meat back into the pan and add the wine and the tomatoes.

7. Set the heat on low, as low as possible on your burner or about 200 to 300 degrees if you are using an oven from this point on. Lid your pan/Dutch oven to keep the moisture in as much as possible.

8. Continue to cook your meat and veggies for about an hour or two on your low setting, turning the meat over occasionally (about every 15 to 20 minutes).

9. Once the meat is nice and tender, serve with pasta or mashed potatoes or cooked veggies or whatever you like!

This is a great recipe to use when you have a free afternoon at home or feel like making a slow-cooked dinner. Actual preparation and work time takes about a half an hour, with a couple of quick checks as the braising takes place.

Let us know what you think and enjoy the last remnants of summer days!

Sarah for Bruce in the City

Back this September!

Coming this September!

Sarah & Erik are back but this time teaming up to pair Sarah’s amazing recipes with Erik’s scrumptious wines in review!

Stay tuned!

Bruce in the City

(For Sarah Germani’s recipes please check past blogs, Journey With Germani)

(For Erik Fleming’s wine reviews checknout past blogs, Wine with Erik)


Journey with Germani! Feel Good Foodies!

Posted by Bruce on May 01, 2018
Journey with Germani / No Comments

Hello BITC readers!

Here’s another step in my journey to enjoying feel good food, and spreading a little food love.

We’ve made it to May! In preparation for the long weekend and the lovely month of May, I wanted to shine the spotlight on some salads that are great additions to a long weekend BBQ spread.

I make a pretty good marinade and can babysit some meat on the grill, but usually I’m the person bringing the salad/side to a potluck.

These are some of my fave salads to make and share with others, preferably outside and in the sunshine. I’m definitely not the first person to make salads like these, this is just a small collection of the salads that have become staples for me, my friends, and my family.

Cabbage salad:

Red pepper
Red onion
Red wine vinegar
Olive oil

Thinly slice cabbage, red pepper, and red onion. Arrange and drizzle with the dressing (half red wine vinegar, half olive oil, and a pinch of sugar). The small amount of sugar adds just enough sweetness to balance the bitterness of the cabbage.

Mango salad:

Ripe mango
Red onion
Red pepper
Lime juice
Chili pepper

This salad is sweet, tangy, and fresh. It’s a great companion to some hot and spicy BBQ, or anything with some heat to it. Thinly slice mango, red onion, and red pepper. Sprinkle crushed peanuts and chili pepper and drizzle lime juice. Don’t break the bank on pre-crushed peanuts, I just smashed a couple of whole roasted peanuts with the end of a knife (don’t cut yourself!).

I also used an Ataulfo or honey mango, and I would highly recommend them if you see these Mexican mangoes at your local grocery. They are sweet and very delicious.

Beet and date salad:

Beets (pickled or fresh)
Baby spinach
Pitted dates
Olive oil
Roasted cashews

This is another sweeter salad. Top baby spinach with sliced beets. Pickled beets are sweeter but fresh beets are quite tasty as well. Add a few chopped pitted dates. Drizzle with a dressing composed of half balsamic and half olive oil. Top with roasted cashews.

These salads are simple to prepare and can be adapted and added to depending on taste and what you enjoy. If you’re going to a potluck for the long weekend and don’t know what to bring, these are easy to prepare and travel-friendly.

I hope everyone is enjoying the pleasant weather and that everyone is in good spirits, despite the crazy times we live in.

Cheers to you! Enjoy a glass of your favourite summer beverage, and please treat yourself and others with kindness! You deserve it.

Sarah Germani for Bruce in the City


Mary Ellen Monk

Journey with Germani “Holy Guacamole”

Posted by Bruce on April 03, 2018
Journey with Germani / No Comments

Hello BITC readers!

Congratulations, we have made it to Spring! I hope everyone has been able to enjoy some holiday time/time off work. I was able to take some great Spring walks with my furry little brother (my mother’s dog and I don’t have human siblings) this weekend.

Spring is finally here and along with it, wonderful seasonal produce:

It’s a great time of year to enjoy these fresh fruits and veggies!

I’m especially crazy about avocados right now. But that wasn’t always the case.

In the spirit of my non-traditional family, when I went home to visit, my mother requested tacos.

For a large portion of my childhood, holidays and special occasions spent with my mother just included the two of us. Instead of making a more labour intensive meal, my mom opted to keep things fun and light. One of our best Christmas Eves was spent enjoying tacos and watching scary movies (The Ring, Poltergeist).

Our taco dinner this year was pretty standard. Hard shell tacos with beef, veggies, salsa and cheese. But I thought I would try something a bit different.

Over the last couple of years I’ve learned that I love avocados and guacamole. I was a bit wary at first but over time it has become a favourite ingredient.

So, when my mother suggested tacos, I thought it would be a good opportunity to make guacamole for the first time. Especially because my mother hasn’t ever tried guacamole. Ever.

She’s a super taster and a selective eater. I thought if I could make guacamole that she would try and maybe enjoy, mission accomplished.

With that goal in mind, I stumbled upon a very simple but very yummy version:

I took two ripe avocados, half a lime, a jalapeno, and salt.

I minced the jalapeno into very small pieces, removing most of the seeds. This takes most of the heat away, but you still get the jalapeno flavour.

In a small bowl, mix the jalapeno with the avocado and the juice squeezed from the lime. I was aiming to not make the guac too soft, so I just mixed them enough with a fork for even dispersal of the jalapeno.

Salt to taste, I used a couple of pinches.

And success! My mother actually tasted it and went back for seconds!

I think this is a great way to introduce someone to avocados/guacamole. And it’s a really quick side dish to make if you’re having friends and family over

What are some of your favourite Spring foods?

Cheers to almost-patio season and catching some sunshine!


Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

Journey with Germani “Prep and Pampering”

Posted by Bruce on March 06, 2018
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Hello BITC readers it’s Sarah G!

Thank you for reading my little food blogs. I appreciate sharing my journey and joining the online conversation about food and treating ourselves with respect and love.

This month, I really didn’t know what to contribute. I was trying to think of what was currently on my mind, foodwise.

I’ve been working a full work week with a three hour daily commute. I love what I’m doing and what I’m learning about, but it doesn’t leave a lot of time to cook in the evenings before I crash for the night.

Food prepping on the weekends has become a way for me to eat home cooked food during the week. There aren’t many healthy options close to my work place, which has been a blessing because it has forced me to improve my food prepping and helped me to plan ahead.

I had to learn to enjoy food prepping. It can be a boring task, especially when it’s a beautiful sunny Sunday, and there’s so much to do.

For me, it was learning to enjoy spending the time feeling (somewhat) organized and knowing that I’ve set myself up well for the coming week. I like to drink way too much coffee, put on some Netflix (current marathon: Ugly Delicious), and relax between time spent cooking.

Eggs cups:

Today, I decided on egg cups, muffins, and roast veggies to use for my breakfasts/lunches/snacks this week. Nothing fancy, food that you don’t have to think about too much.

For the egg cups I used my muffin pan with some coconut oil, five eggs, spinach, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, jalapenos, and topped with a pinch of oregano and salt to taste.

No measuring involved, I used enough ingredients to fill up a tray with six portions. Cook the egg cups at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes, or until the tops are firm.

Roast vegetables:

Next, I cut up a sweet potato and a couple of yellow potatoes for my roast veggies.

After greasing the baking sheet with some coconut cooking oil: add the potatoes, some baby carrots (I take this shortcut because, why not?), and mix them up with a few shakes of garam masala, chili powder, and a small douse of olive oil. Then added a few slices of leftover jalapeno.

40 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees F, and I have some yummy veggies that I can add to my lunches and dinners during the week.


Finally, I moved onto my muffins. I am no expert baker, and I take shortcuts to make my life easier. This time around I went with a banana muffin mix. Followed the recipe but added some cinnamon and frozen blueberries. Making a batch or two of muffins during the weekend is a great way to have affordable and ready-to-go breakfasts and snacks when you just have no extra time in the mornings.

I’m a night owl and I have to get up at 6 am weekdays; I’ve learned that I need to make things in advance in order to be kind to myself, and have these already-made options available.

That feels really strange to say, because until recently I would routinely forget or put off eating my first meal of the day until 5 pm, or until I just had to grab something a lot more unhealthier on-the-go.

I feel like food prepping has become a lot more popular and trendy, but for me, it really has helped having those already-made foods that I can just grab, and use as additions to my meals throughout the week. I still cook in the evenings, but this has been a way for me to eat in a more balanced way where I’m eating small meals, more often during the week days.

The more I spend time taking that Sunday afternoon, or few hours in the evening to leisurely cook and focus on this feel-good task, the more I know I am spending time on helping myself make healthier choices and living a happier life.

Cheers to taking that time for self-care, and to Spring on its way!

Sarah Germani for Bruce in the City

edited by: Sarah Germani

Journey with Germani! The Breakfast Smoothie!

Posted by Bruce on February 06, 2018
Journey with Germani / No Comments

Hello BITC readers!

A month into a hopefully better year, many of us are trying to develop healthier relationships with food, and more healthful daily habits.

I’ve found it challenging. Last year, I felt a lot of stress at work and made the decision to go back to school. I love being in school, but it has challenges of it’s own. For me, keeping a healthy habit of eating regular meals at reasonable times of the day, with appropriate portions, is definitely a struggle.

I put off eating to work and complete tasks. I’m terrible at scheduling time to food prep, and most of all, make my health and well-being a priority.

And I am a breakfast skipper. I never make time for breakfast or even a coffee if I have to go to school or work early in the morning. And I’m a night owl, I can’t help but sleep in as much as possible in the mornings to make up for my lack of an early bedtime.

So when I put off eating a healthy meal until I feel like I can relax, sometimes I don’t have any food until 5pm or later. Which then leads to feeling overly hungry and deprived, and having larger portions in one sitting.

I don’t generally make resolutions for the new year, but since I decided to leave my job in August to go to school and make a change to how I was feeling, I’ve been trying to make improvements. Nothing too daunting. Just trying to add better habits to my daily life.

A friend from school was talking about how busy she was, and that smoothies saved her so much time. I was intrigued.

I would enjoy the occasional smoothie in the summer but they weren’t something I had often, and I could say that I actually had never made one before.

I felt a little daunted by choosing an expensive blender, and felt like I might not use it, that it might just sit there after the novelty had worn off. However, my friend introduced me to the idea of a hand blender.

It’s funny, because these must have been around for a while, I just wasn’t in the loop, and didn’t know that they were a great option. Especially if you don’t want to make too large portions, or have a small kitchen/little counter space.

And what was even nicer, my stepmom gifted me a really cool hand blender for Christmas after to talking to her about my interest in trying out having smoothies for breakfast.

I started experimenting.

There are so many ways to make easy smoothies. I found I like to use almond milk or coconut beverage to create my breakfast drinks.

First smoothie I made consisted of vanilla almond milk, frozen blueberries, and a frozen summer fruit mix I had bought to use for sangria but forgot about.

And it turned out pretty good, didn’t have much almond milk to be honest, but it was like a yummy fruit slushy. Couldn’t complain. Now I just add a bit more liquid. I still don’t measure anything but as you practice, you know what works for you.

I’m still learning and trying new combinations. The best part, is that I’ve been able to incorporate my breakfast smoothies into my daily ritual. I usually make my smoothies at night (while I cook dinner), so that I can down a portion quickly before I run off to work in the morning. I’m trying to make this a healthy habit that still works for me.

A recent combination I tried was an apple and pear cut into small pieces, joined by a handful of frozen raspberries, coconut beverage, and a couple of slices of ginger.

I wanted to share my recent experience because I think we all have struggles incorporating healthy habits, and it can be hard to focus on spending time on taking care of ourselves.

I hope everyone is having a good year so far. Cheers to making small changes that can make a big difference in how we feel in the present, and hopefully the long run.

Sarah Germani for B.I.T.C

edited by Sarah Germani

Journey with Germani! Good Luck Nibbles!

Posted by Bruce on December 30, 2017
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It’s has been quite a journey this year.

The world we live in is very different to the one of a year ago. On a large and small scale.

For myself, I’ve gone back to school, with the hopes to change the way I work. To change my quality of life for the better.

I’ve also been lucky enough to develop my blogging skills with Bruce in the City!

Let’s embrace positive changes and future possibilities, and celebrate by enjoying food that inspires good luck in the new year.



Enjoy some yummy bagels for your New Year’s day breakfast. Ring-shaped foods represent a year that has come full circle. A complete cycle.

Feel like something sweet?

Enjoy a stack of pancakes. Their round shape symbolizes fullness and prosperity.


Have a bowl of long noodles. Don’t cut them, these are meant to be slurped. The length symbolizes long-life.

Enjoy a dish with lentils, their coin-like shape symbolizes growing wealth.


Snack on some grapes! Eating twelve grapes at midnight will bring good luck for the next year!

Pomegranates and round fruits symbolize wealth and abundance.


Prepare some fish for your New Year’s dinner. Fish represent prosperity, their scales reminiscent of coins.

Feel like having some seafood? Want to keep with the ring-shaped theme?

Calamari is a great option. Enjoy with your fave dipping sauce!

When I visit my stepmother’s family on New Year’s Day, it’s customary to have a piece of pickled herring for good luck. Washed it down with some Henkell Trocken.

And include greens, which represent wealth and good fortune.

And for Dessert:

Bake a coin into a cake, the person who finds it in their slice will have some extra good luck for the new year.

Let’s focus on living full lives, and finding enjoyable experiences.

And being open to new opportunities.

Let’s smash some plates, brawl out our differences, or even better, enjoy a slice of cake and welcome 2018!

Sarah G for Bruce in the City!


Mary Ellen Monk

2018 at a Glance!

Hey Bruce in the City readers! Christmas is just around the corner isn’t it?!? I still get excited about the whole thing even though for the most part I’m always longing for what it was, than is. I got a few cool things going on in 2018 at “Bruce in the City-What’s the Buzz?”, my official blog!
Here is 2018 at a glance.

My popular Sunday blog will continue every Sunday looking at hot spots and great talent in Toronto and The 6! Sarah Germani will be back the first Tuesday of the month for her amazing recipes on Journey with Germani.
Check out past blogs for her amazing recipes and try some out over the holidays! I’m happy to announce the return of our resident wino Erik Fleming with his very tasty wine reviews the first Wednesday of the month! Check out his past blogs and maybe pair up some great wines with those tasty recipes! Now that’s an idea. Along with the great posts you are already familiar with there will be a few new additions to my blog. I’m pumped to say with the popularity of the Badass BITC Beard contest I will be featuring these very cool guys and their amazing beards every Saturday! Every three months a winner will be pulled from the submissions to win a cool prize. Lastly, starting in March I’m teaming up my favourite movie house on the first and third Monday of the month to review/preview some of my favourite films. If there’s a bad one I’ll tell you about that too! That will begin the first week in March. I may need to get myself a second editor or Mary Ellen’s going to throttle me! How can I forget my new accessories line?!? It’s still in the works but coming out in 2018! Lots of great stuff this coming year. Tell a friend! Oh yes, the rest of my fabulous readers will have many opportunities to win prizes too! Stay tuned!
If you’re looking to get noticed at the next level please give my office a call or touch base via email and we can talk about advertising on my blog.
Office 416-303-8458

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Bruce Christopher

Bruce in the City “B.I.T.C”


mary ellen Monk

“Sarah and Erik” A Holiday Pairing!

Posted by Bruce on December 05, 2017
Check it Out!, Journey with Germani, Wine with Erik F / No Comments

Happy Holidays BITC readers!

It’s that time of year to create some cheer, to get us through the short days, and the long hours of darkness. I’ve decided to share a family recipe for simple shortbread cookies that will impress friends and fam, and bearded Santas!

My mother was given the recipe by her Aunt Jo, and they are a holiday staple when we are able to see each other during the festive season.

These cookies are easy to make and fun to customize! And they taste delicious, just as they are. I’ve added some sugar snowflakes on top of the ones I made. My mother likes to add candied cherries to the mix, but no additions are necessary.

They are not too sweet and can be paired with fun holiday drinks! And wine!

For this recipe you’ll need a bowl to mix ingredients, a rolling pin, board or flat surface, cookie cutters, and a cookie tray.


1 cup soft butter
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 F.

Blend softened butter with cornstarch, sugar, vanilla, and flour. I did this by hand, just enough for the dough to stick together, and be evenly mixed.

Roll out balled up dough on floured board to 3/8″ thickness.

Cut in festive shapes! I used star and rabbit shapes. I couldn’t resist, I love rabbits.

And use the excess dough to form new balls to roll out.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Let them sit for at least 5 minutes after taking them out of the oven.

And now you have some yummy cookies to share and enjoy!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

Hey, Everyone!
Isn’t this awesome? Shortbread cookies and wine? Let’s go!

Pierre Sparr Réserve Gewurztraminer 2016
So for this wine review/pairing I picked a dry Gewurztraminer and I shall go into explaining why and then talk about the wine specifically. So first off, I chose this wine because it has a nice oily texture that I think would pair very well with the buttery goodness of the shortbread and I picked a slightly dry one because the shortbread will be not too sweet. Now this wine is, like I said, dry and has a nice full body. It has aromas of stone fruit, orange, and spice and that can be picked up on the palette too. The wine has medium acidity that helps balance the body. Chill this well and enjoy with your shortbread!

Erik Flemming Wine with Erik

Sarah Germani Journey with Germani

B.I.T.C Holiday Note!

I just wanted to take a quick moment to thank Sarah and Erik for their wicked wine and recipe blogs this year. I’m lookong forward to your great articles in 2018! Watch for Sarah and Erik back the first Tuesday and Wednesday in January!


Bruce Christopher

Editor Mary Ellen Monk

Journey with Germani Fall Kick Off!

Posted by Bruce on November 07, 2017
Check it Out!, Journey with Germani, Local Talent / No Comments

Hello B.I.T.C Readers!

Happy Fall!

I miss our Summer days but now we have cozy layers, hot drinks, and hearty food to enjoy!

I wanted to set out and find a recipe I hadn’t tried before, using seasonal and affordable ingredients. Which led me to Brussels sprouts and McIntosh apples. Yum! While doing some research and looking for ideas, I saw a lot of recipes that added bacon to the mix and thought, why not?

This is a recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts, apple, and bacon with a pinch of cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Super easy, just be careful to watch your fingers while prepping the sprouts and bacon. I recommend using a reliable, sharp knife for that step.

You’ll need:

Enough Brussels sprouts to fill your tray, I grabbed about 6 handfuls (my hands are relatively small).

A McIntosh apple.

5 strips of bacon. You could use turkey bacon or veggie bacon, or you could skip it entirely.

A pinch of cinnamon, salt and pepper.

Olive oil.

Lemon juice (optional).

A baking sheet and an oven.

Set your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit/220 Celsius.

First, wash and trim the ends off of the Brussels sprouts. Then cut them in half and add them to your baking sheet.

Cut up the apple into small chunks. Whenever I cook with apples, I like to squeeze some lemon juice onto the apple, to prevent it from prematurely browning but it’s not necessary. Add that apple to the sprouts.

Add a couple of shakes of cinnamon, salt, and pepper.

Next pour some olive oil over the pan, enough to lightly grease the bottom of the pan and coat the sprouts and apple once you have mixed everything together. I just got in there and used my hands.

Cut up your bacon into small pieces and add them to the mixture.

Once your oven is ready, pop that sheet in!

Bake for about 30 minutes, until bacon is nice and crispy and sprouts are tender.

Halfway during the baking, I turned my ingredients over so that they would cook more evenly and so that they wouldn’t stick to the pan.

An additional reason to make this dish: your home will smell amazing!

This is a great sweet and savory side dish using simple, seasonal ingredients. It is also a delicious way to prepare and dress up Brussels sprouts for someone who might find them bland.

Enjoy and happy cooking!

Sarah Germani for Bruce in the City

Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

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