Friday, April 24, 2015

Paula's Buckwheat Sponge Cake with Rhubarb Compote

Buckwheat sponge cake
This buckwheat sponge cake is a perfect cake for spring, delicious served with whipped cream or rhubarb compote.
When we were little and spring weather finally arrived we couldn’t wait to picnic. Even before the snow had completely melted mom would pack us little lunches in bread bags and my twin brother and I would march off into the back woods to look for a sunny place to sit and eat. Our lunch usually consisted of a peanut butter sandwich, an apple and a jam jar filled with Strawberry Quick-flavoured milk. 

Sitting on a sunny rock we could pretend it was summer and would go about our day doing warm weather things despite the chill in the air. (I have always admired children’s ability to make the weather more of a state of mind.)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Beluga Lentil Mediterranean Lettuce Wraps

Beluga Lentil Mediterranean Lettuce Wraps
It was Margaret Begner who introduced me to lovely beluga lentils.
She and her husband ran two of my favourite restaurants in Saint John, Dufferin Inn and Opera Bistro.

Margaret had a gruff warmth that drew me in and was one of those what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of people. Margaret is no longer with us but her memory is alive and well in the vibrant culinary life of our little city.

Beluga Lentil Mediterranean Lettuce Wraps

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Earth Day Challenge: 7 Ways to Green Your Ride

7 ways to green your ride
Get inspired on Earth Day

When I read that a local school (Sussex High School) won a $25,000 technology grant for their sustainability initiatives I was inspired.

The school was awarded the prize in the Staples Superpower Your School contest in recognition for all sorts of in-school eco projects. They grow a school garden (and donate the produce to community groups), students completed an energy and environmental impact audit and developed recommendations for improvements based on their findings, and they have substantially reduced students’ consumption of bottled water. These students and staff are what Earth Day Canada calls VGPs – very green people.

Friday, April 17, 2015

French Vegetable Soup (Soup au pistou)

French Vegetable Soup (Soup au pistou)
This is a soup to pull you out of winter. It’s warming but has a light, fresh feel, unlike hearty winter soups.

My mom spent Easter in Paris, an 80th birthday gift from all of us kids and proof that you needn’t outgrow your sense of adventure.

For much of her life mom has considered France a spiritual home of sorts. Perhaps it’s a thread of ancestry - my grandfather’s roots are in the Poitou, a region in Western France. Whatever the pull, more than one French recipe has made its way onto our family favourites list.

Friday, April 3, 2015

How to Lower Your Family’s Exposure to Pesticides.

EWG shoppers's guide to pesticides
Shopping according to the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen is one way to reduce your pesticide exposure while still eating a good variety of fruits and vegetables.
I used to debate with myself in the produce section of the grocery store: Should I buy that bag of organic apples or the conventional apples? How about the cauliflower?

When you read that common pesticides are known neurotoxins, and that children are most at risk for health effects of pesticide exposure, produce shopping can feel like a mine field.

That’s why I love Environmental Working Group’s annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides. Each year the organization sifts through U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration data on pesticide residue found on the 50 most commonly-consumed fruits and vegetables. (All produce tested has been washed, and in some cases peeled, before being analyzed.)

Based on their findings they rank the produce so we know what food lands on our tables the most contaminated.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Maple Syrup Oatmeal Scones

maple syrup oatmeal scones
These rich, buttery scones are made with pure maple syrup and drizzled with a maple syrup glaze.
Hard to believe with all of this snow that maple sugar season is underway. The maple trees must be feeling more optimistic than the rest of us when it comes to the arrival of spring.

For the first time ever snow days have lost their magic and even my kids, who are the outdoorsy type, are feeling a little cabin fever.

It reminded me of when I was little and my twin brother and I would amuse ourselves by “walking on the ceiling” with mom’s sterling dresser mirror. We’d hold it in front of us with the mirror facing the ceiling and walk around the house, thrilled with the illusion of hopping over light fixtures and lintels.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Tuscan Minestrone Soup with Kale and Cabbage

Tuscan Minestrone Soup James Peterson
Tuscan Minestrone Soup is full of kale and cabbage along with beans and carrots.

Don’t you just love minestrone soup.

It’s substantial and full of texture with all of those beans and vegetables.
Just when I thought a-minestrone-soup-is-a-minestrone-soup I came across this recipe for Tuscan Minestrone Soup.  (Different regions of Italy have their different versions of the soup. Makes sense.)
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