Friday, November 7, 2014

Old Fashioned Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe from Maine

old fashioned oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe

There’s nothing like an old fashioned oatmeal chocolate chip cookie to make you feel satisfied. They’re filling in a way that other cookies aren’t and leave you feeling like you’ve had a bit of a healthy treat.

We were a family that often vacationed in Maine. We’d cross the border for March break, spend a week on the Maine coast in late August then often head back down in November. My twin brother and his wife live in Maine so we have more reason than ever to visit often and one family member or another usually celebrates American Thanksgiving with them.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Top 4 Reasons to Buy Local Food

Top 4 reasons why buying local food is better
Locally grown food tastes better, plain and simple.
There’s nothing like a locally grown carrot to remind you of why buying local is so great, and tasty. Carrots pulled from Fullerton’s gardens on the Kingston Peninsula are sweet and loaded with flavor, nothing like the bland carrots I’ll eat through the winter and spring once my local stash is gone.

Carrots offer undisputable proof that locally grown food tastes better.

Local produce is picked ripe and doesn’t have to travel far to reach us so it’s fresher than imported produce. And it isn’t just produce that’s better: local honey and maple syrup have much more flavor than standard grocery store brands and flour milled from New Brunswick grown wheat has layers of flavor and nutrition that have long been processed out of conventional flour. Local meat and dairy is superior too.  

Getting to know local farmers and producers is easier than you might think.
In our region alone we have a good variety of seasonal and year-round markets, butchers, bakers, fish mongers and more. They keep our food’s farm-to-table commute short, especially when compared to the big grocery stores.

We also have a revamped “buy local” directory that is being populated by the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. allows you to search by county, by food type, retail locations and more. There is much more content to be added but it’s a great start.  

Some of the big grocery stores are dabbling in “buy local”, but barely, and perhaps that will change. According to the U.S. National Grocery Store Association Consumer panel, 87% of consumers regard availability of locally grown produce as a major influence when it comes to purchasing food. And McDonald’s Corp. attributed its 30% decline in earnings last quarter in part to “changing consumer demand for locally-sourced, natural food." 

More reasons why buying local is a good thing:

Being dependent on foods grown in faraway places puts us at risk.
The three-year drought in California - where most produce for North America is grown – makes me obsess about the local food economy. Our grocery stores are stocked with food that is grown or produced in faraway places and this dependence on imported food means that as a region we are less and less able to feed ourselves.

Supporting local farmers is good for the economy and for food security.
Cultivating a thriving local food economy helps to keep local farmers farming, and with luck will help to draw more young people to farming, creating the kind of jobs that will make our region more self-sufficient.  

Buying local food is good for the environment too.
Food grown nearby has a lower carbon footprint because it doesn’t have to travel very far to get to our tables. Save your food miles for foods that can’t be grown locally and choose a local source for foods that are grown or produced nearby.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Healthy Whole Wheat Trail Mix Cookies

Healthy whole wheat trail mix cookies
Cookies have the potential to be the perfect snack food. You can tuck all sorts of healthy stuff into them for a nutritious snack and sweet treat all in one.

My kids used to eat any kind of cookie I put in front of them. In fact, they'd eat way too may so I'd have to hide them. My son had what he called his "Cookie Club" at school: They'd come to our house after school and eat all of the cookies in the tin on the counter.

Now they're in the midst of what I hope is just a phase...A picky phase.

They're not into texture, unless it's chocolate. So I have a new approach to stuffing loads if good things into my cookies -- I just add lots of chocolate chips too. It's great.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Mom's Lentil Sausage Soup from Ina Garten

lentil sausage vegetable soup from Ina Garten
Lentil sausage soup is a hearty meal with great flavour and texture. The no sausage vegetarian version is delicious too.

We always joked that my dad was the reluctant vegetarian.
Lentils were not his preferred food, although he could eat canned peas so go figure. One time mom was away he nibbled from one pot of peas that he left on the stove all week and ate steak with butter on it.   

The French have a way of helping vegetarians and meat lovers meet halfway and their traditional Du Puy lentils can convert even the most ardent lentil haters. Unlike brown or red lentils, French lentils are small and rounder, glossy and speckled green. They keep their shape if you take care cooking them and don’t have a mushy texture. They also have a deliciously spicy flavour that’s all their own.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Turkey Meatloaf with Feta and Dill

Turkey meatloaf with feta and dill
A healthy meatloaf that's studded with feta cheese and generously flavoured with dill.
Kids can be great problem solvers when there’s yard work to be done.

I grew up in a house with a big yard which was great for playing but it meant for a lot of work, especially come fall when it was time to rake the leaves. We’d end up with mountains of leaves that, if not for the ingenuity of my brothers, would have taken hundreds of wheelbarrow trips to move to the back corner of the yard. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Aunt Marcia's Soft Molasses Thumbprint Cookies

Molasses thumbprint cookies
Molasses Thumbprint Cookies are soft and beautifully spiced with ginger. Whole white flour gives them extra flavour.

My husband’s Aunt Marcia is a true old fashioned baker. She goes by feel when it comes to cooking and her hands and a tea cup are her measuring implements. And she always gets it just right.
She used to fry her famous doughnuts in an open pot, without a thermometer. Instead she’d lean her face over the shimmering vat of oil to feel the steam against her cheek and that’s how she’d judge if the temperature was right for frying.
When we’d visit she’d load our car with her homemade treats: chokecherry wine, pickled watermelon rind, candied pumpkin, homemade doughnuts, date-filled oatmeal cookies and her comforting soft molasses cookies. Visit after visit these molasses cookies sustained us during the long drive home from Northern New Brunswick.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Cauliflower Risotto with crispy fried sage and roasted butternut squash seed oil

Cauliflower risotto with crispy sage
Creamy Cauliflower risotto with crispy sage makes a hearty fall supper.

I always tell my kids that there is only one item on the menu at suppertime. Like it or lump it, what’s on the table is what you eat. For the most part my no-substitution rule works and my kids clean their plates.

Sometimes though there’s a dish that my husband and I are crazy about but my kids have grown tired of.
So it goes with risotto.
Come fall I make risotto weekly and I make a big batch so we have leftovers for lunch the next day. My kids think it’s ho-hum.
And another thing about risotto, Arborio rice has absolutely no food value. We’re a brown rice family so white Arborio is a bit of a treat. We mostly ignore its empty nutritional profile and serve it with loads of veggies on the side.
Then I discovered a recipe for cauliflower risotto and it has become a solution to all of my problems.
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