Friday, December 19, 2014

Chinese Five Spice Candied Nuts for Homemade Giftgiving

Chinese five spice candied nuts
Chinese five spice candied nuts are sweet, a little spicy and crispy with a light candy coating. They don’t stick in your teeth. Better yet, they take almost no time to prepare.
At Christmastime there were always bowls of nuts around the house. They were still in the shell so you had to work for your snack. The almonds were easy, the Brazil nuts practically impossible for little hands.  I loved how bowls of nuts in the shell were so ornamental, like little pieces of beautifully shaped wood.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Creamy Winter Squash + Roasted Red Pepper Lentil Soup

winter squash and roasted red peper lentil soup
Winter squash and roasted red pepper lentil soup is smooth, flavourful and substantial, just right for damp winter days.
What do you do when your kids announce they're sick of soup? 

From October to march I'd be happy to eat soup every day. It's warming and satisfying, nourishing and a great way to fill up on vegetables and beans. And while I'd never get away with making it for supper seven days a week we do end up eating one soup or another at least twice a week. 

It was November when my kids announced they were sick of it, a mere month into my soup season. I'm not about to give in so I decided instead to figure out some new soup recipes with different flavours and textures.  

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Overnight French Toast For Holiday Breakfasts

Overnight french toast
Overnight French Toast gets lovely and puffy baked in the oven and this cooking method beats standing at the stove dipping and flipping for the whole family.
When I was little, the Christmas buzz in our house began with Advent and the appearance of the Sears Wish Book. I have no idea when the Sears Wish Book actually arrived at our house but mom was careful to keep it tucked away until December first.
One Wish Book, seven children.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Why artificial sweeteners are bad for you and the environment

Artificial sweeteners an environmental pollutant?

Choosing yogurt for our kids’ lunches has become a pain. We just switched to single serve yogurt because our kids won’t eat plain yogurt sweetened at home. They’re not milk drinkers either and were in need of a lunchbox revival since summer didn’t seem to cure their lunchbox boredom.
Who knew that deciphering single serve yogurt packages would be so complicated?
As if figuring out brands and flavours, fat content and probiotics wasn’t enough, we keep tripping up with all of the sugar options.
Flavoured yogurt is basically pudding with gut-friendly bacteria added, which I accept but so many varieties are artificially sweetened that you need to be good at label reading to avoid accidentally grabbing the fake stuff – which has happened.
Not only does artificially sweetened yogurt taste, well, artificially sweet, artificial sweeteners aren’t very healthy and are implicated in a laundry list of health concerns. Because they have become one of the most common food additives they have now become environmental pollutants too.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

How to eat more fish without mercury

how to eat more fish without mercury
Have you ever wondered how much tuna you can safely eat in a week?
We all know that seafood is good for us in so many ways. It’s high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, it’s a great source of protein and is high in vitamins and minerals, which is why Health Canada recommends that we eat at least two servings of fish each week.
But some seafood is high in mercury, high enough that if consumed frequently can lead to health problems like nervous system damage, headaches, poor concentration and memory problems (to name just a few).
Mercury exposure is especially damaging foetuses and very young children, affecting a child’s ability to learn and concentrate.  
So how do we get all of the benefits of a diet high in seafood without ingesting more mercury than our bodies can handle?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Currant Fruit Buns and John Brock's life long piggy bank

Currant fruit buns: an old fashioned scone that's mildly sweet and flakey.
Currant fruit buns: an old fashioned scone that's mildly sweet and flakey.
The recipe came from Gourmet Magazine sometime around 1976. It caught mom’s eye because she was hosting an English-style tea for some elderly neighbours and little currant buns fit the theme. That was the year we moved into the neighbourhood, into what was known as The Brock House.

The eve before we moved into the house, John Brock, who had been born in the house and was by that time in his fifties, took my brother Timothy and I down to the basement, to the room under what had once been his bedroom.  The basement room was small and very dark with a low ceiling and a large bin that had been used to store wood and coal. There, fastened to the ceiling against a joist, just under the floorboards of the small bedroom above, was a wooden box the size of a brick. John pried it from the ceiling and shone a flashlight on it for us to see. It was brimming with old coins.

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.
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