Category Archives: Recipes

The miracle of green smoothies

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I had been drinking Greens+ as a morning smoothie for a couple of years now, but I have only started formulating my own, from real greens, since this summer. What got me started was my daughters’ bumper crop of Swiss chard (which is still going strong). I purchased an inexpensive blender and I started using the fresh leaves along with other super foods to create a protein-rich, anti-oxidant rich and dare I say it: delicious drink.
I was always afraid of the bitter taste of fresh greens and couldn’t imagine them concentrated into a morning drink. Bleh!
Well, I’m singing a different tune now. I absolutely adore my green smoothie!
The great thing about making your own smoothie is that you can modify it to whatever you like and your body needs. For instance, right now in my life I am in need of hormone balancing. There is no better super food than Maca for this, in my opinion. It has a pleasant malted milkshake flavour.
On top of that I use ground flaxseed, chia seeds and hemp protein, which is a marvellous source of both protein and essential fatty acids, as well as being vegan (for those of you out there who are).

Some other yummy and healthy additions are cinnamon, cocoa, and even turmeric, if you don’t mind a slight curry flavour.
If you’ve never tried having a green smoothie before, I urge you to give it a try. Your body will love you for it!

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Harvest Fruit Crumble Cake

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Mmmmm!!! Babcia’s Fruit Crumble Cake – the best!

My Mom made this cake with any fruit she had around the house, including dried fruit such as cranberries, prunes and apricots but I think everyone’s favourite was plum cake made with blue plums. They’re not usually great for eating, but when baked into a cake such as this one, they are elevated to Amazing Taste status!

I have used spelt flour and brown sugar, because that’s what I had in the house, but you can use all purpose flour and any sugar just as easily.

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In a medium bowl whisk together 2 eggs and 1/2 cup sugar (here I have used brown sugar)

 

 

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add 2 Tablespoons of sour cream and blend in

 

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add a teaspoon of good quality vanilla extract and blend in

 

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add 1/2 cup of oil and whisk in

 

 

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In a large bowl sift together 2 cups of flour, 3 teaspoons of baking powder and a pinch of salt

 

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Pour wet ingredients over dry and blend in lightly, until just combined20130917-161447.jpg

 

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spread evenly on bottom of 8″ square, parchment lined baking pan

 

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push sliced fruit deeply into batter. It’s better to go heavy on the fruit.

 

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for the crumble, mix 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Combine with fingers

 

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and sprinkle rough chunks over the prepared fruit and cake batter

 

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Bake in a 325 degree oven for about an hour, until a toothpick inserted in the centre (of the batter) comes out clean

 

Non-Stick Pan

A disclaimer:
I am in no way compensated by any company, nor do I get products for free. I just want to pass along my experience with trying products that are healthier for you and/or for the environment.
This week I tried out the Paderno Eco Pan, which is marketed as a ceramic base non-stick frying pan.
As you probably already know, the old school Teflon non-stick pans are really quite bad for you as if you get even tiny scratches on the surface of the pan, bits of Teflon get into your food. Teflon does not get digested and most of us have a store of this man-made substance in our bodies. One of the ingredients of Teflon is likely a carcinogen so avoidance is prudent. Here’s a link to a brief article about this.
I love non-stick pans, so several years ago I invested hundreds of dollars into an Anolon pan which was supposed to be very scratch resistant and last a lifetime. Hah!
As you can see from the picture it is really scratched up despite my exclusive use of bamboo or silicone cooking implements. It makes me mad that it now has to go into our already overful landfills. I am really hoping that this Paderno pan lives up to its promises, although I highly doubt the 25-year warranty. For a trial recipe I made sautéed mushrooms and onions. Normally I would use a bit of fat, oil or butter, but for experimental purposes here, I have used none.
Sure enough, the pan did not stick whatsoever, but allowed the caramelisation of the mushrooms to occur.
So far, I love it! Will report back if I have any problems with it.

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my terribly scratched $200 Anolon pan. Ready for the landfill, sadly!

 

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my new $35 Paderno eco pan. (on sale at Home Hardware)

 

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shiny new pan!

 

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I’m going to saute some mushroom without using any fat

 

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I like to just wipe them clean with a paper towel, but you can wash them if you like

 

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slice them and put them into the pan over medium heat

 

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the water will start coming out of them

 

 

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add half a finely minced onion: slice into very thin strips from root to stem, leaving 1/4″ of stem end unsliced to hold it together.

 

 

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then slice crosswise and you will get a fine mince

 

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but the strips have to be very thin, about 1/16″, so use a sharp knife

 

 

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add to the mushrooms in the pan and continue cooking about another 5 minutes. You should start getting some deep caramelisation.

 

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deglaze the pan with 1 teaspoon vodka (optional, but intensifies the mushroom-ey flavour)

 

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Doesn’t stick at all! Add salt and pepper as desired.

 

 

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make sure to re-use the mushroom container – as a small paint container for instance

 

Peach upside-down cake

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yummy peach upside down cake with caramelized honey

 

Don’t you just love Ontario peaches? Fragrant, bursting with juicy flavour, and available right now!
If you have overbought (like I sometimes do) and are looking for something to make with fresh peaches, why not try a peach upside-down cake? This version uses only honey as a sweetener, not sugar. There’s something about the combination of caramelised honey and peaches that I find irresistible. This particular cake is made with spelt flour, which means it’s best eaten right away as it will really toughen up if left for a few days. You can just as easily use all purpose flour if you like.

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Ontario peaches just bursting with flavour

 

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pour 1/3 cup of melted butter over bottom of parchment lined 8″ cake pan

 

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add 1/2 cup of liquid honey

 

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mix and spread evenly over bottom of pan

 

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lay the sliced peaches over the honey/butter combination

 

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pour 1/2 cup of honey into a mixing bowl

 

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add 2 eggs

 

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add 1/3 cup of oil

 

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add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and mix everything very well

 

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in a small bowl measure out 1 1/2 cups of flour (spelt or all purpose)

 

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add 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

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add 1 teaspoon of baking soda

 

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and 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

 

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add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

 

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mix dry ingredients well and measure out 1/3 cup sour cream

 

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add flour mixture to egg mixture alternately with the sour cream

 

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pour batter over prepared peaches in pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40-45 minutes

 

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until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean

 

Summertime Vegetable Soup

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Gather all your ingredients

Summertime Vegetable Soup

Even though it’s early summer, we have had some cold, damp days lately and I felt like I wanted a nice, light summertime vegetable soup. This one is really easy, only takes an hour and a half or so and feeds a crowd.

Ingredients

Use whatever vegetables you have on hand – anything works as long as you have something tomato-ey to lift the flavour.

Here’s what I used:

Chicken carcase wrapped in cheesecloth (or 2 bouillon cubes)

1 onion

leftover wilted celery centre (really good for soup!)

2 carrots

1 zucchini

1/2 a green pepper

2-3 cloves garlic

one large or two small potatoes

1/2 cup orzo pasta (I used kamut orzo)

3/4 cup frozen peas

3/4 cup frozen corn

1/2 cup frozen baby lima beans

1 1/2 cups of tinned tomatoes

1 cup clamato juice

a couple of handfuls of greens (baby spinach, kohlrabi greens, swiss chard, beet greens)

1 Tablespoon dried oregano (or 1/4 cup chopped fresh)

1 Tablespoon paprika

A couple of bay leaves

Salt and Pepper to taste

3″ piece of parmesan or asiago cheese rind (optional)

 

 

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Cover wrapped chicken carcase with water and bring to the boil

 

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chop all the vegetables

 

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cook carcase for an hour

 

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add all the other ingredients except the greens, bring to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes

 

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in the meantime chop the greens

 

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then lift out wrapped carcase using tongs

 

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add all the chopped greens

 

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and serve with some shredded parmesan or asiago cheese (optional)

 

Sally’s Potato Salad

20130525-150221.jpgSally’s Delicious Potato Salad

There are many potato salad recipes out there, but none compares with my Mother-in-Law, Sally’s, version. There’s just something about the combination of sweet peas and carrots that balances the potatoes very well. She was a wonderful cook and infused everything she made with lots of love, and you could really taste it. She taught me to cook when I was just a teenager and could barely boil water to make tea, for which I am eternally grateful.

Ingredients

2 or 3 lbs small red potatoes, skins left on if desired. (I was planning on leaving the skins on but then realized they were a bit green underneath so I peeled them)

salt and pepper to taste

drizzle of olive oil

3/4 cup frozen peas

3 thin carrots, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

3 green onions, finely diced

3 pickles, diced

3 hard boiled eggs, diced

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon dijon mustard

Method

Quarter the peeled or unpeeled small red potatoes and place into a 2 quart glass casserole Cover and microwave on high for 5-10 minutes until potatoes are easily pierced.

Meanwhile dice the carrots, celery, green onions and pickles.

When potatoes are done, put them in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle them with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and several grinds of freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.

Place the diced carrots into the same casserole dish and microwave for just 2 minutes, to blanch them. They should be crisp-tender.

Add the frozen peas to the potatoes in the mixing bowl, then all the other vegetables and eggs. Mix to combine.

Add in the mayonnaise and mustard, folding in gently. Taste and adjust salt and pepper seasoning.

Pour into a serving dish and refrigerate until cold. Keep refrigerated at all times until ready to serve.

 

 

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Quarter the red potatoes, peeled or unpeeled

 

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microwave, covered, for 5-10 minutes until potatoes can be easily pierced. The time will depend on your microwave.

 

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in the meantime, gather the rest of the ingredients

 

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when the potatoes are done, remove them to a large mixing bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

 

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then add in the frozen peas

 

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put diced carrots into the same casserole and microwave 2 minutes, until blanched but crisp-tender

 

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dice the celery and green onion

 

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the pickles and eggs

 

 

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combine the potatoes, peas, blanched carrots, celery, green onions, eggs and pickles

 

 

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with the mayonnaise, mustard and more freshly ground pepper and salt to taste, if desired

 

 

fold everything together until well combined and chill well before serving. Keep refrigerated at all times.

 

Spring Salad

Ahh! Spring! Such a  lovely time of year. The birds are singing like mad, every tree and blade of grass is an impossible shade of green – it’s so amazing. What’s not so amazing is the lack of quality and general lack of produce at the grocery stores. The Fall produce is coming to an end and we don’t have much local produce available. Add to that late Spring frosts in Florida and California and it’s slim pickins’ at the store. What to do? Well, luckily for me, I have ready access to a Family member’s lettuce garden which really needs thinning at this time of the year. Time to raid the pantry and fridge to make a delicious salad.  To the baby lettuce leaves I added some pear and avocado slices, toasted walnuts, dried tart cherries and creamy delicious brie cheese. A simple dressing with a hint of sweetness from maple syrup brings out the flavours and makes this salad sing like the birds!

Spring Salad

Ingredients

3 – 4 cups lettuce thinnings, or store bought spring mix salad

1/2 bosc pear, thinly sliced

1/2 avocado, sliced

1/4 cup walnuts, toasted 2 minutes in the microwave

2 oz. brie cheese, cut into chunks

2 Tablespoons dried tart cherries

Dressing

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

scant 1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon maple syrup (or honey or agave)

freshly ground pepper to taste

wash the baby lettuce leaves very well in at least 3 changes of water

 

arrange in a presentation dish

 

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toast walnuts in the microwave for 2 minutes

 

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add avocado slices. Yes! I do use my avocado slicer every day!

 

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add the toasted walnuts, sliced pears, brie cheese chunks and dried tart cherries

 

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For the dressing you will need olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper

 

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To 2 tablespoons olive oil add a scant 1/4 teaspoon of salt (which means just less than that)

 

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and 1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard

 

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add 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

 

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1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

 

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and 1/4 teaspoon maple syrup

 

 

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mix well with a fork until emulsified

 

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and drizzle evenly over the salad

 

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and enjoy! This salad is so yummy!