December 9, 2011

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Quinoa is truly a super food with so many amazing health benefits it deserves a post all its own. It is the only complete protein that is not from an animal source and has many antioxidants. Tabbouleh is a middle eastern side dish that is light and flavourful and traditionally made with bulger. Using quinoa pumps up the healthiness of this dish, but feel free to substitute for bulger if you want a more traditional tabbouleh.

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, diced
2 bunches green onions, diced
2 carrots, grated
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped


In a saucepan bring water to a boil.  Add quinoa and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Allow to cool to room temperature; fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice, tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, carrots and parsley.  Stir in cooled quinoa.

** Recipe and picture courtesy of Syneva B on


November 25, 2011

Michael Smith’s Beef Stew

This is a great article that Chef Michael Smith (one of my all time favourite chefs) wrote in the Globe and Mail in 2008 and I thought I would share it with you here. It is getting to be that time of year when everyone is feeling a bit more generous, and counting their blessings. A reminder to be thankful and pass good fortune forward.

When I make this recipe at home, I use only 1 lb of stewing beef and instead add 1/2 cup of Quinoa into the mix for a plant based protein. He also adds 1/2 a bottle of red wine, which I have omitted.


The holidays are not quite over, and chances are you’re still talking about the table full of friends and the menu full of flavours you enjoyed over the past week. Your fridge is full and you’ll probably have three good meals today.

Count your blessings, because some of your neighbours are not so fortunate.

In every community across Canada there are hungry families. Kids who eat everything put in front of them because they know they don’t have the luxury of choice. Parents slowly starving themselves so their kids can have a bit more on their plates. Senior citizens subsisting on little more than crackers and water.

Imagine not knowing where your next meal is coming from. Imagine mastering the ever-changing schedule of which food bank is open on which day. Imagine having no food options at all. Now imagine doing something about it.

For several years, I have been the national spokesman for the Children’s Emergency Foundation. This experience has taught me a lot. Canada’s food-based charities are in trouble. A perfect storm of rising demand, feeble government support, a faltering economy and diminishing donations have combined to weaken the stance of those among us on the front lines of poverty every day. Our food banks need our help.

Please don’t feel guilty about your own success, but take a moment to consider what you can do to help in your community. A cash donation is a great place to start. Then find out what your local food bank needs. Maybe you can drop off a bag of extra groceries every week. Maybe you can spend one day a month helping out in the kitchen of a meal centre or serving tables. Maybe you can head for your nearest food bank or homeless shelter and help them cook up a batch of hearty beef stew. Because the true spirit of the holidays is quietly celebrating the bounty in your life and sharing it with those who need it more than you do.

Old-Fashion Beef Stew

2 pounds or so of stew beef
A sprinkle or two of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
A splash of vegetable oil
A few carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
A few stalks of celery, roughly chopped
A few potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
A few parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
A few onions, peeled and roughly chopped
1 turnip, peeled and roughly chopped
28-ounce can of whole tomatoes
3 or 4 cups of homemade or canned beef stock or water
A few bay leaves
A few sprigs of fresh rosemary
Another sprinkle or two of salt and pepper

Preheat a large, thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.

Pat the beef dry with a clean towel, then cut it into large cubes and season it.

Add a splash of oil to the pot – enough to cover the bottom with a thin film – then toss in enough meat to form a single sizzling layer.

Sear the meat on every side until it is evenly browned. Be patient when you’re browning the meat; it takes a little time but it’s worth every minute. The caramelized flavours are the secret to a rich, hearty stew.

As the pieces brown, remove them from the pan, adding more oil and meat as needed. Once the meat is done, discard the remaining oil – but keep all the browned bits in the pan. They’ll add lots of flavour to the stew.

Put all the meat back into the pot and add half of the vegetables (reserve the other half). Add the tomatoes and enough wine and beef stock to just barely cover the works. Add the bay leaves and rosemary, and bring the pot to a simmer. Continue cooking until the meat is almost tender, about an hour, then add the remaining vegetables. Adding the vegetables in two batches allows the first to dissolve into the stew and the second to retain their shape, colour and texture. Continue simmering until the meat and veggies are tender, another 30 minutes or so. When the stew is tender, taste it and season as you like.

November 17, 2011

Apple Turkey Loaf

This great recipe from Wholesome Baby Food can be easily made in to finger foods for your baby! Suitable for babies between 6 to 8 months, but use your judgement when giving babies finger foods.

1 lb ground   turkey
1 whole egg, beaten
1/2 cup pureed carrots
1/4   cup applesauce
1/4 cup unprocessed natural wheat or oat bran
1/4 cup bread crumbs
pinch of basil
pinch of garlic powder


Place ground turkey in a large mixing bowl.

Add   the egg/yolk, carrots, applesauce, spices, bread crumbs and bran. Mix well –   If this mixture appears too dry, add more carrots or applesauce. If this mixture   appears too wet, add more bran and/or bread crumbs

Place mix into a lightly oiled (olive oil) loaf pan   and bake at 350F for approx. 45 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out   clean.
**You may wish to cover with foil to prevent the top from burning

When finished baking and cooled, remove loaf from   pan and slice as you would for bread. Break into small bits for finger feeding   or mash or chop gently

This recipe may also be made into “Turkey Sticks”   for Toddlers and older babies who are able to handle more textured/chunky finger   foods.


Cook the ground turkey separately, add the   other ingredients and puree

November 11, 2011

Apple Walnut Tart

Last week I gave you a never fail pie crust recipe. This week I’m using it! Walnuts are a really healthy food. Giving you a big dose of Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E and cardiovascular helping antioxidants in as little as 7 nuts per serving. A lot of the nutritional value is in their skin, so while you need to take them out of the shell, don’t worry about removing the skin! That’s a job that just isn’t worth the effort. I feel the same way about peeling apples. That’s why in my tart, I don’t. But feel free to if you like.

1 pre-made pie crust, not baked
5 medium apples, sliced
1 cup California Walnuts, out of their shell
2 TBSP unsalted butter (*if using salted butter omit salt below)
1/4 TSP salt*
2 TSP cinnamon
4 TBSP brown sugar

In your pie crust layer apples until they cover the entire pie crust. Cover with walnuts, butter, salt and half the amount of cinnamon and brown sugar.


Add remaining apples, brown sugar and cinnamon and bake in a 350 degree oven until crust is golden brown and apples are soft, about 35-50 minutes depending on how thinly you have sliced the apples. Add a bit of vanilla yogurt on top for a bit of calcium – it’s super tasty. Enjoy!

November 4, 2011

Pie Crust

Everybody should have a handy dandy pie crust recipe in their back pocket – perfect for Quiche or pot pies, tarts or pumpkin pie! This is a great recipe to have on stand by.

Pie Crust

2 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 lb (or 1/2 a box) vegetable shortening
1/2 TBSP vinegar
1 egg

Makes 3 pie crusts, easily doubles for 3 pie crusts plus 3 crust lids.

Mix all ingredients together, form into 3 balls and cover in plastic wrap. Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator before rolling out. Then use as recipe directs!

October 26, 2011

Slow Cooker Potato Leek Soup

I’ve been under the weather lately and craving soup! Here is one of my all time favorite winter soups.

2 lbs potatoes diced
3 TBSP flour
5 cups veggie broth
2 leeks,rinsed and chopped
1 TBSP dried dill, or 2 TBSP fresh
2/3 cup half and half
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper

Add potatoes and leeks to slow cooker, sprinkle with flour and stir to coat. Add broth and dill and salt and pepper to taste and cook 7 hours on low until potatoes are tender.

Puree soup in batches in a blender or using a hand blender. Stir in half and half and cheese. Enjoy!

October 22, 2011

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

One of my husband’s favourite holidays is Halloween: the decorations, our family traditions and especially the food. I’m not just talking about the mini-chocolate bars and candy, but fall food with a Halloween twist. Making food fun, especially during a holiday like Halloween, is a clever way to sneak nutritious snacks and meals into your spooky celebrations. Here is a great recipe that is so much fun to make your little monsters will have no idea that these tasty treats are good for them!

Pumpkin seeds saved from carving your pumpkin
4 tbsp vegetable oil or melted butter
Various seasoning

When carving your pumpkin separate the seeds from pumpkin flesh – a great job for those too small to carve their own pumpkin! Wash seeds in a sink or big bowl of water, making sure you remove the pumpkin flesh by rubbing them between your hands. Drain in a strainer and dry with paper towel.

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees.

Spread the dry seeds out on a cookie tray and lightly baste with vegetable oil or melted butter, just enough so that seeds are coated but are not swimming in oil.

Time to season your seeds! There are so many ways to do it – here are just a few. Mix flavourings together in a bowl and sprinkle or drizzle over oiled seeds.

Fall flavours: 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp ground ginger, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp ground allspice

Spicy: 1 tsp cayenne pepper, ½ tsp thyme, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper

Savoury: ½ tsp garlic salt and 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Natural: 1 tsp salt

Lemony: 2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning

Cook seeds in a 275 degree oven for 10 – 20 minutes until golden brown. Oven temperatures will vary and they burn quickly, so keep an eye on them and give them a stir every 5 minutes or so. Allow seeds to cool when they come out of the oven for 10 minutes. These are delish served warm or cold.


October 14, 2011

Vitamin C

Everyone knows that Vitamin C is helpful in keeping those nasty colds, infections and flu at bay, but why is it especially important for you while pregnant? Well let’s take a look at what Vitamin C does for your body.

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is essential for tissue repair, wound healing, bone growth and repair, and healthy skin. Both you and your baby need this vitamin daily – it’s necessary for the body to make collagen, a structural protein that’s a component of cartilage, tendons, bones, and skin.

So not only is it keeping you healthy, but it’s also helping your baby develop it’s muscles and bones. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron, another essential nutrient.

How much do you need? Well, pregnant women need about 85 mg while those breastfeeding need almost 120 mg. But there are easy ways to get it into your diet!

Some foods high in Vitamin C include: citrus fruits, broccoli, strawberries and red peppers.

Use the tabs on the side to click through to recipes that include Vitamin C and check back often, new recipes and information is added each week.

October 6, 2011

Asian Marinara Sauce

Noodles of any kind are always a big hit at my house. There is something about them that the whole family loves. So warm, so comforting. But sometimes I grow tired of the same old same old. That’s why when I saw a recipe for Japanese Noodles in my Moosewood cookbook I was keen to give them a go. But of course in the hustle that is my week night I needed to make a couple of changes to the recipe for time sake. The finished product was something a little off the beaten path, but close enough to home that the kid gave it a thumbs up!


3 single serve packages of Udon Noodles (you can find these in most grocery stores near the rice noodles)
2 TBSP sesame oil
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP olive oil
2 cups diced salt free canned tomatoes
5 spring onions chopped finely
Salt and pepper to taste

In a small pot add all ingredients minus the udon noodles. Bring to a simmer and let sit on low heat to warm through.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the udon noodles for 3 minutes, or by package instructions. Drain and return to large pot. Add heated sauce and serve immediately.

September 16, 2011

Lemon Dill Green Beans

According to Google today is Albert Szent-Gyorgyi’s birthday. Who is that you might ask? Well he is the man who discovered Vitamin C and to celebrate here is a recipe for Lemon Dill Green Beans!

1lb green beans, trimmed
3 TSP chopped fresh dill
1 TBSP minced spring onion (green onion)
1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Steam green beans 5-7 minutes until tender but still crisp.

Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl. Add green beans when finished cooking and allow to sit for 10 minutes to absorb flavours. Serve and enjoy!