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 a la Ina Garten

lentil sausage vegetable soup from Ina Garten
Lentil sausage soup is a hearty satisfying 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.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Garlic Baked Zucchini with Cheese and Red Onion

Garlic Baked Zucchini with Cheese and Red Onion
Baked zucchini takes on an almost floral flavour when its baked for an hour with onion and garlic.

When I was in high school my mom used to make this for me. It was a great veggie side for fall and something that I could easily make on my own if I had to work the evening shift at our local inn. Through high school I worked at Shadow Lawn Inn, a lovely Victorian home that also happened to be our next door neighbour.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake

blueberry crumb coffee cake
Blueberry crumb coffee cake is a classic crumb cake made with stone ground flour and topped with a cupful of healthy toasted walnuts.

Long before big boxes of blueberries were available at local markets mom used to buy her blueberries from a Mr. Ness way up in Belleisle Creek. She and dad would load the car with empty pots and Dutch ovens and up they’d go to have them filled from Mr. Ness’ big buckets. The berries were mixed with leaves and twigs that had to be picked out before she put the berries in the freezer and then we’d be set for the winter.

This is a recipe that I remember from my childhood. Crumb cakes have always been a favourite of mine and a crumb cake filled with blueberries is the ultimate. The recipe makes a 9”x13” pan so is good for a crowd.

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