Posts filed under ‘Recipes’

Squash Bakes (not fries)

The air is crisp, the leaves are changing colour, and squash is filling the stands at the Farmer’s Market. It is squash season. I am happy. By February, I will be over squash and craving fresh spring greens, but right now I am all about squash. Here is a quick and easy squash side dish we enjoyed this week and a couple photos from the pumpkin farm.

Little Butternut Squash Bakes

Hot and spicy from the chilli powder, sweet from the butternut squash, and a hint of salty, these little guys will wake up all of your taste buds. I created these little bakes because I wanted squash chilli but I like to slow cook my chilli and I didn’t have the time. 

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and but into ½ inch squares
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

Preheat oven to 400Fdegrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss the prepared squash, spices, salt and olive oil in a large bowl. Spread the seasoned squash on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, flip the squash and bake an additional 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

October 13, 2011 at 8:29 pm Leave a comment

Horseradish… super sinus relief

I have always loved horseradish. I have some growing in my garden, but I have it in a giant container and it isn’t doing too well. It will have to go in the new garden when it is ready. My root is quite young, so I bought some at that Farmer’s Market. Grating the horseradish will provide sinus relief if you happen to be suffering a cold.

Simple Horseradish

  • 1 generous cup of horseradish root, grated
  • 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

Mix together and eat on your favourite sandwich, with a bison roast, with your favourite burger, or even with roasted sweet potato fries. I keep this in the fridge for a week (if it lasts that long).

October 5, 2011 at 6:37 pm Leave a comment

Making Pumpkin Muffins (gluten-free) because…

…someone peed in my cornflakes.

I am a realist. Some people call me a pessimist. I’m not. I’ve had this conversation with my friend Annie once. People thought she was a pessimist as well, but we concluded that we were realists. We are the type of people that do not put all of our eggs in one basket, we don’t hope for the best, we set our goals on what can realistically be achieved, and that is what keeps our lives and everything around us positive. We avoid conflict, but you’ll know when we are not happy. And most of all, when someone pees in our cornflakes, we sit quietly and busy ourselves with other projects – like I did today. I enjoyed the ballet and then I baked some seasonally divine gluten-free pumpkin muffins (and tried desperately to put the last two days behind me).

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (gluten-free)

Chocolate chips and fresh pumpkin make these muffins magic.

I’ve recently switched to a gluten-free diet due to some health concerns; big ones. I’ll have to share these when they make more sense. Until then, you can enjoy some gluten-free recipes. I’ve made these muffins twice. Once with potato starch and once with arrowroot starch. I liked the arrowroot better, but play with them and let me know which ones you like better. If you are sensitive to gluten, make sure your chocolate chips and vanilla extract are gluten-free. If you can’t find sorghum flour use brown rice flour instead. Canned pumpkin may not be as moist as fresh pumpkin; you can always add a bit of unsweetened apple sauce if need be. Makes 12 muffins.

  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chia seed, ground
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice blend
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin (I used local fresh, steamed pumpkin)
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut oil (melted)
  • 3/4 cup organic palm sugar (or brown sugar if you must)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (the real stuff)
  • 2 large organic free-range eggs
Preheat your oven to 375degreesF. Line a muffin tray and set aside.
Sift the dry ingredients together (first seven ingredients) and set aside. Mix the remaining ingredients with the exception of the chocolate chips together. Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and stir until smooth. The batter should be thicker than cake batter. If it is too thick add a bit of apple sauce (see head note above). Mix in the chocolate chips and spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tray. Bake for 15 minutes and cool on a wire rack. I freeze these for gluten-free goodness whenever the mood strikes, like today.

September 27, 2011 at 8:20 pm Leave a comment

Garden Tea Party

This past weekend we hosted a tea party in our backyard for my daughter and 4 of her friends. We made tea party hats, tiny tea sandwiches, and the girls enjoyed drinking their tea (aka apple juice) in tea cups that they took home with them. Since it was a garden tea party, we also decorated clay flower pots and the girls took home their very own package of seeds and child-sized gardening gloves. And because every girl needs a fairy wand, I made some fairy wands, but we sent these home in the goodie bags; I had fears someone losing an eye – this was a healthy-high-energy group of girls. Here are some pictures from the big day.


Since the girls are still pretty young, I invited the parents to stay. To keep them refreshed I made a few summer plates of veggies, meats and cheese, and fruit. And keeping with the tea party theme, I made some seasonal iced-tea.

Strawberry Iced-tea (modified from Martha Stewart)

I modified this recipe from one of Martha Stewart’s creations. She called for basil and sugar in her recipe. I changed it up a bit by using spearmint since I have a huge crop growing in the yard. Next time I think I will swap out the sugar for sucanant or honey instead and dial back the amount a bit. I also doubled the recipe and it worked out just fine. You could probably use just about any berry in this tea, or even peaches when they are in season. I like mint, but I might try peach and basil next time with green or white tea. I used a giant pickle jar to make and serve the tea, but a large pitcher would work just fine too; I just don’t own one.

  • 8 black-tea bags
  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved (quartered if large)
  • 1 cup water, plus more for steeping
  • 3/4 cup sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
  • 1 cup fresh mint
  • Ice, for serving

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add tea bags, and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and set aside.

Place strawberries in a large mason jar. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, add mint, and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain over strawberries; discard mint. Toss to coat. Let stand until cool, about 25 minutes. Add the tea to the strawberries (with syrup) in the jar. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve over ice, and garnish with fresh mint.

 

July 14, 2011 at 8:35 pm Leave a comment

Make it Monday: Coconut Macaroon Nests

Spring will come. Sigh. I wish it would hurry up, but until it does, I keep crafting, cooking and baking spring at our house. We made up these little cookies for the teacher’s at my daughter’s daycare as a little Easter treat last week. I used this recipe here, but I shaped them into nests before baking. Then we added a couple little candy coated chocolate eggs. These are a nice little Easter treat or a springtime treat (especially when spring doesn’t seem to want to grace us with her presence).

April 25, 2011 at 5:07 am Leave a comment

Fresh: Plain and Simple

The theme of this post is all about “fresh”; my desire to be out of the dust and into fresh air, a new wine that goes by Fresh, and a couple fresh new recipes created today by me.

The hallway walls are getting a good sanding this weekend. Yikes – that is a lot of dust. I find plaster dust very hard on the skin. Even if I don’t actually partake in sanding myself, I find my skin gets dry just being in the presence of it. Here I go complaining again… I’m trying not to, really I am, but it has been a long winter with a lot of dust and the storm windows have prevented me from opening the windows for even a hint of fresh air.

A while back, I promised that I would share the hidden staircase that we were planning on using when we refinish the hallway floors. This was a picture from upstairs. Looks totally usable, right? I’m afraid not… the former owners removed far too much of the staircase and it is about a 3 foot drop to the floor. Most of the staircase opening is also blocked by pipes. Sounds terrible, I know, but this gives me a very good reason to head south while the floors get refinished, don’t you think? See, I can be optimistic during this crazy renovation! A good wine helps too.

Real wine connoisseurs out there would likely scold me for pairing red wine with fish, but in our house we drink what we like. Today, we like Fresh Cabernet Gamay. This wine is described as having a clear deep ruby colour; cherry, licorice and pepper aromas; dry, medium body; and ripe black fruit flavours with soft tannins. I describe it as light and tasty. Try it and let me know what you think.

And a couple fresh new recipes from my kitchen:

Sweet Potato and Mushroom Hash with a Side of Simple Haddock

I had full intentions of buying salmon at the market today. I’m not a big fan of seafood, but I don’t mind salmon and rainbow trout. However, before I knew what I was saying, I asked for two haddock fillets. I don’t know how or why this happened. Since I don’t normally eat haddock, I didn’t want to dress it up too much. I wanted to see what it actually tastes like. So this entire meal was kept very simple, which is nice on Friday after a long week.

Sweet Potato and Mushroom Hash

  • 2 small or 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon safflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup green onions, chopped

Simple Haddock

  • 2 haddock fillets
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • dash of cayenne

To make the sweet potato and mushroom hash, warm up the oil and butter in a medium-sized skillet. Add the mushrooms and sauté until soft and most of the water from the mushrooms has been absorbed (about 7 minutes). Remove the mushrooms from the skillet and keep warm. If needed, add a bit more oil to the skillet. Add the sweet potatoes and sauté until browned on all sides and soft in the centre (about 10 minutes). Be sure to flip the potatoes around the pan as they cook so that all sides brown. Add the mushrooms back to the skillet, sprinkle with salt and garnish with green onions.

Preheat your barbeque* or oven to 375F degrees. To make the haddock you will need to make an aluminum foil packet lined with wax or parchment paper big enough to fit both haddock fillets. Place the fillets side-by-side in the centre of the packet. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice and sprinkle with chives, salt and cayenne. Close up the packet, and if cooking in the oven place on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or on the barbeque for 10 to 15 minutes (length of cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fillets). Serve alongside sweet potato and mushroom hash.

* I don’t like fish smells in the house so I always cook fish outside on the barbeque.

April 17, 2011 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

Going Bananas

I have been very tired lately and not feeling particularly inspired. Work has been busy and the dust in my house from the hallway reno is driving me bananas. But life is not all bad. My friend Heather put a pink hyacinth on my desk at work this morning. I’m looking forward to seeing it bloom. My mom tells me they smell nice too.

Here is something to chew on while I’m going bananas from all of the dust.

Banana Carob Chip Muffins

I’m not sure if carob chips have dairy in them, but if not, then this recipe somehow ended up being egg and dairy free. I started with a basic banana muffin recipe and kept changing the recipe until I was certain that they had more goodness in them than bad.

  • 1 ¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ cup brown rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 ripe bananas, well mashed
  • ¾ cup rice milk plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sucanat
  • ¼ cup apple sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup carob chips

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees. Line a standard muffin tray (12 muffins) with muffin papers and set aside.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas really well and set aside. In a separate bowl or in a one cup measure add the vinegar to the rice milk and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder and salt. Add the sugar, apple sauce, milk, bananas, vanilla and chocolate chips to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

These muffins are very moist and best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

April 12, 2011 at 7:43 pm 1 comment

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