Friday, October 31, 2008

Where to Begin...

Well, the CAFP bake sale is over! The goodies are all either sold and eaten (en masse, I might add), or sitting in all us volunteers' resoective fridges. Try as we might, we couldn't sell everything - there was simply too much food to be had, and too many people skipping class this Hallowe'en! Ah well, no matter. It's giving me lots of blog fodder for the next couple days! Sales or no, I had a great time. I even got to dress up, and my mom helped me "Hallowe'en-up" my crutches with orange crepe streamers! Thanks to Johana for helping me carry the gratuitous amount of sweet treats from car to school to car again - I couldn't have done it without you!

Here's a brief overview of the goodies: from Johana, a delicious-looking peach yogurt Bundt cake (surrounded in the photo by my cupcakes!). Sabrina brought "Flanjello", a flan + Jell-O + sponge cake concoction that was so pretty to look at and I bet tastes even better (I couldn't sample... *sob*). CAFP president Christie brought meringue bones, double-chip marshmallow cookies and frosted chocolate sables (the ones you see in the top left photo), and Rose brought spicy cheese and pepper scones. I brought three kinds of cookies (these two and a buttermilk-vanilla concoction I'll get to sharing soon), miniature apple pies (adapted from Novel Eats), two types of cupcakes and caramel coated apples. There were a ton of other additions too, but I didn't pay attention to who brought what! Can we say sugar high??

So, with the recipes... I guess I'll do the simple and prettier one first, though the name makes it sound otherwise! I knew cupcakes would be a hit at the bakesale, because... really, who doesn't like cake? So I scouted around the internet and found a keeper on Shmooed Food. Then, I did something I never, ever do: I de-veganized the recipe! I couldn't help it... I had buttermilk to use up from Thanksgiving still! I frosted these with a basic buttercream icing, then sifted cocoa powder overtop and added candy pumpkins for a "pumpkin patch" effect. These are just vanilla cakes at heart, so if you leave out the sprinkles they'll look "normal", but not as fun!

Vanilla "Slime" Cupcakes
Makes 18
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup mixed orange and black spinkles
1 cup sugar
¼ cup oil
¼ cup applesauce
1 tbsp vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF, and line a cupcake tin with paper wrappers or grease.
  2. Mix vinegar and buttermilk in bowl and set aside.
  3. Whisk together the flours, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sprinkles.
  4. Add sugar, oil, applesauce, and vanilla to the sour milk.
  5. Add to the dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  6. Fill tins 3/4 full and bake for 15 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 143.8
Total Fat: 3.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.3 mg
Sodium: 14.6 mg
Total Carbs: 25.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 2.3 g

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Bake - Sale Goodies

As Friday draws near, I'm becoming more and more consumed with bakery goodies for the CAFP fundraiser. Yup, this is another mouth-watering treat! Apple cider mix, apple flavouring and the best part of all - toffee bits - make these some pretty special cookies. Because it's a fundraiser after all, I made these pretty much steering-wheel sized (it took me three giant baking sheets, and I only got 20 total!), but normally I'd cut the size down. They aren't too sweet either due to the cider mix, and they stay chewy because of the corn syrup. I can't wait to see what the folks at school think! As long as they vote "yes" with their wallets and their tastebuds, it's all good!

Sorry the post is so short, but ya know, it is midnight! I gotta sleep sometime, in between cookies and class!

Toffee - Apple Cookies
Makes 36
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 (3/4 oz) packets apple cider drink mix
1 tbsp golden corn syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp concentrated apple flavouring (Lorann's brand is what I used), optional
1 egg
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup toffee pieces (like Skor)
  1. Heat oven to 375°F, and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, beat shortening and sugar until fluffy.
  3. Beat in drink mix, corn syrup, flavourings and egg.
  4. Mix together flours, baking soda and salt.
  5. Beat into creamed mixture.
  6. Stir in toffee pieces.
  7. Bake 12 minutes and cook on wire racks.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 67.7
Total Fat: 3.9 g
Cholesterol: 8.1 mg
Sodium: 16.7 mg
Total Carbs: 7.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.2 g
Protein: 0.6 g

Monday, October 27, 2008


Have you ever seen quite so many photos of fridges and cupboards in one place? I took my camera into the kitchen this afternoon so I could submit an entry to a blog event I found called "Beyond the Fridge Door - Time to Share Your Hidden Secrets" created by Confessions of a Food Nazi. It sounded like so much fun I couldn't resist!
So, just what is beyond my fridge door? Let's break it down:

Water, Jell-O, low-fat yogurt, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1% and 4% cow's milk, Italian bread, week-old Italian cream cake (leftovers from my stepbrother's birthday), a fruit drawer of peaches, apples and grapes, plastic containers of diced tomatoes and cooked beans, my sourdough starter, blocks of margarine (my baking stash), nasty bacon, porchetta, capicolla and salami (stepfamily's), soft (low-cal) margarine, veggie crisper filled with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, baby carrots, brussels sprouts, red peppers and lettuce. Whew!

Breadcrumbs, pizza pockets, fish fillets, shrimp, ice cream, a couple types of bread, kaisers, steaks, water bottles, ice cubes, spring rolls, frozen crushed tomatoes, frozen peas, Costco chocolate muffins, Parmesan, hot dogs and ice packs.

Bottom of Main Pantry:
This is the "communal goods" area... everything not in our fridges or freezers that's food related lives here! Some main players: pasta, cereal, green, orange pekoe, Oolong and herbal teas, coffee, pancake mix, syrup, vinegar, oil, unopened lemon juice, crackers, TVP, Nutella, peanut butter, honey, cocoa powder, oatmeal and Splenda.

Top of Main Pantry:
All the baking and spice stuff lives up here, along with a few big boxes of tea. Most of this is my junk I use for making stuff for the blog... too much for me to list, but all the extracts, sugars and flours are here.

Bottom of Side Pantry:
All the canned beans, soups, tomatoes and fish are in here. As well, all my personal goodies that I don't use for baking (like my almond mik tetras, Liquid Smoke and tofu) are on this side of the pantry.

Top of Side Pantry:
This is my stepfather's domain, or "Land of the Costco Purchase". Here, you'll find giant jars of mixed nuts, bags of tortilla chips and if you look close enough, a jar or two of cheese dip *gag*. I bear no responsibility for this part of the closet!
So, what's hiding in your kitchen caverns?? Send your entry to the event soon - you have until the second of November (I think!).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Seasonal Sweets

Ah, bake sales. I love them - the baking, the selling, the cash flow...

This weekend was spent in the throes of preparation for this Friday's fundraiser to help out my nutrition students' association, and I'm not all the way done yet! I had planned 2 types of cookies, 2 kinds of cupcakes (spookily decorated, of course!) and a batch of mini apple pies to sell. So far, I have everything but the pies baked, and I need to decorate (and fill) the cupcakes. Oh yeah, I made a batch of this too... but that doesn't count - it's all mine! I think I did pretty well, considering I was more or less a "flamingo" in the kitchen" - I'm still battling that d@mn tendonitis, and crutches are such a pain in small spaces!

The first thing I made this weekend, though, was a batch of these "candy corn" cookies. To up the "candy" taste of them, I used brown sugar and butterscotch extract (which I used here before), and of course the colours were made from the magic dyes in the bottles haha. I think they were rather festive two-bite goodies... and I'll have to let you know what we got for them!

Candy Corn Cookies
Makes about 5 dozen
2 tsp cornstarch
5 tbsp cold water
1 cup shortening
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp concentrated butterscotch extract (optional)
2 cups flour
2/3 cup spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp yellow food colouring
1 tsp red food colouring
  1. Line a standard loaf pan with waxed paper (leave an overhang) and set aside.
  2. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl, set aside.
  3. Cream shortening and sugars.
  4. Add egg and cornstarch mixture, beating well.
  5. Beat in vanilla and butterscotch extracts.
  6. Whisk together flours, baking powder and salt.
  7. Slowly beat into the creamed mixture. Blend will be very stiff (add water / flour if necessary).
  8. Remove 1/3 of the cookie dough and press into the bottom of the loaf pan.
  9. Thoroughly beat yellow colouring into remaining mixture.
  10. Remove half of the remaining dough and press on top of the white batter in the loaf pan.
  11. Beat red colouring into the last third of the cookie dough to make it orange, press into the top of the dough layers in the loaf pan.
  12. Fold waxed paper over the dough block and place the pan in the freezer for 2-3 hours.
  13. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (do not grease).
  14. Remove dough block from the freezer.
  15. Slice rectangular pieces from the short end of the "loaf" about 1/4-1/2" thick, and cut each slice into triangles (to resemble candy corn pieces). Place on sheets.
  16. Store remaining dough wrapped in the loaf pan to maintain shape.
  17. Bake 8-9 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.
  18. Cool cookies completely on sheets.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 70.2
Total Fat: 3.6 g
Cholesterol: 5.4 mg
Sodium: 2.2 mg
Total Carbs: 8.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.3 g
Protein: 0.7 g

Saturday, October 25, 2008

In-Betweensie Food

Ah, the lag time between Thanksgiving and Christmas... I don't think any period of time is more of a paradox! One one hand, it's calm: no major parties, gifts to buy or places to go. On the other hand, it seems like everything else piles up! I know that these days it seems like both everything and nothing is going on... and these are the days that demand good-quality, nutritious and comforting meals that you don't have to think about in order to enjoy!

I managed to find myself a can of my favourite baked beans at Bulk Barn the other day (while picking up bits and pieces for my bake sale blitz!) and I got myself an acorn squash today at the orchard with a view to stuff it in some way. There are only two ways I'll eat that particular plant: "fries" (AKA oven sticks) or stuffed with something tasty. This way is a winner, for sure!

Well, I must be off, the oven's buzzing!

Low - Sugar Stuffed (Inter) Holiday Squash
Serves 2
1 (15 oz) raw acorn squash
12 medium Brussels sprouts, chopped
1 (415 g) can vegetarian baked beans in tomato sauce (I loooove the British Heinz)
2 tbsp low-sugar barbecue sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp sugar-free syrup
2 tbsp water
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Halve squash lengthwise, scooping out seeds. Place on a lined baking sheet.
  3. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Divide evenly among the hollows of the squash halves.
  5. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until tender and gooey, covering halfway through with tin foil.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 299.1
Total Fat: 1.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 914.7 mg
Total Carbs: 63.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 15.6 g
Protein: 15.2 g

Friday, October 24, 2008

Another Classroom Find

Today is all about comfort food... I'm sick (again!) and didn't really feel like cooking much else than canned soup or tea today. However, that's going to have to change this weekend! I, along with my schoolfriends Sabrina, Johana and Princess, am a proud part of the Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals now - and I'm even on the fundraising committee! Hallowe'en means bakesale time, which means I'm getting my butt in the kitchen to do what I do best and make some cashola! Of course, I'll take gratuitous photos and share everything with you guys too, how can I not?

I wrote a couple weeks ago about one of the recipes on the curriculum of my Kitchen Production class, and I figured it was time for another one (well, that and the fact I was running dry on material tonight!). I had actually intended to tell you guys about it closer to when we actually made the darn thing, but I forgot so I didn't! I'm catching up though... don't worry!

At any rate, here's what we did. It's your standard chicken pot pie, made with boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breast meat for the extra iron (though if you have leftover turkey still hanging around from Thanksgiving it would be great in this too!). Instead of a heavy butter/flour/cream sauce, richly caramelized onions blend with evaporated skim milk and chicken broth to lower the fat content while still giving it a creamy texture and rich flavour. The usual carrots and frozen - yes frozen! - peas make their appearances too... I don't think pot pie would be the same without them.

I took the liberty of adding more herbs than the original recipe called for (which was, FYI, only salt. That's it!), and I'm sure the end result is far and away a better one than the mass-production one. If you have time (and we didn't in class... *sob*) please make your own crusts! It's the only way to go. Really.

Chicken Thigh Pie
Serves 8
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, diced
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup frozen green peas
2/3 cup sliced celery
2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup diced onion
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup evaporated skim milk
Prepared pastry for a 9" double-crust pie
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Boil chicken, carrots, peas and celery in a pot of water for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and cook 7-8 minutes.
  4. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and herbs, cook 2-3 minutes or until browned.
  5. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk.
  6. Simmer rapidly, stirring, until thick.
  7. Add chicken mixture, stirring well. Remove from heat and allow to cool 15 minutes.
  8. Fill bottom pie shell with the chicken mixture.
  9. Cover with top crust, seal and cut 2-3 slits in top crust.
  10. Bake 20 minutes.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 329.6
Total Fat: 16.1 g
Cholesterol: 56.1 mg
Sodium: 632.4 mg
Total Carbs: 27.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.9 g
Protein: 18.0 g

And before I forget, I recieved a wonderful package today from the awesome folks at FoodBuzz (no thanks to Canada Post, though... the poor envelope came torn to shreds and re-wrapped in a Ziploc baggie - my tax dollars at work!). It's a brand-spanking-new apron and spatula to commemorate their official launch which happened on the 13th of October. Thanks FB!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Your Pancakes Know They Want It

I should have taken a photo of my sister's future Jack-O-Lantern (to be) before it got dark tonight - the thing is huge! This October has been full of giant pumpkins, probably due to the wacky weather we've had over the summer, and they're dirt cheap too. I haven't bought mine yet (I'm looking forward to some roasted seeds!) but most of the good-sized carvers I've seen have been under $8. The cans of puree are pricier than the fruits, obviously, but more convenient. I'm lazy, so I grab the cans when I make cakes, muffins or cookies that don't need chunks of squash.

One of the yummiest looking recipes for pumpkin I've seen lately was this one that I recieved from a friend in an e-mail: simply blended puree and maple syrup with a touch of cinnamon, it's like pumpkin pie! It's called a sauce, but unless you thin it out (ooh, orange juice to the rescue!) you can't really pour it. It's a dip on a maple sugar kick... yes, that's it! It's awesome on pancakes and I bet it would be great on waffles too.

Pumpkin Maple Sauce
Serves 8
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 cups pure pumpkin puree
  1. Use electric beaters or a whisk to blend together. Serve chilled.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 84.7
Total Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 93.4 mg
Total Carbs: 21.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.4 g
Protein: 0.3 g

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Playing Games

I spend way too much time on Flickr these days, checking out other blogger's photos and drooling over their creations while trying to justify my own shoddy photography! A lot of the pictures have made their way onto my desktop background at one point or another and always get rave reviews from people who steal borrow my laptop.
One of the things I noticed is that a lot of Flickrers (is that a word? Well, it is now!) love to play games and take part in photo contests, whether they're foodies or not! One game was found via Tara of Should You Eat That?'s profile, and it looked like a fun thing to do tonight! If you haven't already done this and you'd like to, here's the low-down:

  1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
  2. Using only the first page, pick an image.
  3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into FD's Mosaic Maker
  4. Post your mosaic for the world to see!

The Questions:

  1. What is your first name? [Sarah]
  2. What is your favorite food? [sushi]
  3. What high school did you go to? [J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate]
  4. What is your favorite color? [green]
  5. Who is your celebrity crush? [Michael Smith]
  6. Favorite drink? [cream soda]
  7. Dream vacation? [Disney World]
  8. Favorite dessert? [Chocolate Fudge Cake]
  9. What you want to be when you grow up? [child nutritionist]
  10. What do you love most in life? [learning]
  11. One word to describe you. [controlling]
  12. Your flickr name. [jazzijava]

1. Before the world was made… the innerlight of Sarah.K was!!! :))), 2. "What? Sushi? What is it?", 3. Great Science Fiction by Scientists, 4. Over the mountains and the sea.....:), 5. Still Life, 6. Strawberry Dip, 7. castle, 8. starry eyed, 9. School lunch, 10. Forgotten guitar - 4, 11. Why Me, 12. "Jazzy Keys"

Okay, I told you I wouldn't be cooking that much! I'll figure something out soon though!

Monday, October 20, 2008

[Un] Sweetened Surprise!

Well, it seems like my plan to stay off my feet and out of the kitchen has already gone the way of the dodo bird! I can't help it... I'm a chef at heart, and being away from my beloved oven and stovetop drives me nuts! I had a banana blackening beyond salvage on my countertop, and oranges languishing in the fridge, and a need to do something with myself after apple picking on Sunday, so bake I did... mini-muffin style.

You'll be happy to know that I didn't exert myself too much with these puffs of fruity goodness, though. They started with - gasp - a mix. Yes, I used a shortcut. But it wasn't a cake mix, or a muffin mix, and it was a whole grain blend too! The secret ingredient here is the Organic 7 Grain Pancake Mix from Bob's Red Mill, part of the group of goodies I won from the Culinate Whole-Grain Fritter Challenge back in June (with this savvy and savoury recipe!). The grains aren't obtrusive in these muffins and the built-in leavening needed only a tiny boost to deal with the heavier banana ingredient. That said, these are low-fat, low-calorie, the perfect size for lunchboxes... and so tasty! Have two or three on me, without a touch of guilt!

Look at that muffin p0rn!

Sugarless Tropical Mini Muffins
Makes 18
1 cup Bob's Red Mill 7-Grain pancake mix
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp poppy seeds
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 medium over-ripe banana, mashed
1/2 tsp coconut extract
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Grease mini-muffin cups.
  2. Whisk together the pancake mix, baking powder and poppy seeds.
  3. Combine the juice, banana and coconut extract until well blended, then stir into the dry ingredients.
  4. Mix can be a little lumpy - do not over-beat.
  5. Bake 10 minutes, or until tests done.
  6. Cool 3 minutes in pan before turning out onto a rack and cooling completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 37.8
Total Fat: 0.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 59.6 mg
Total Carbs: 8.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.0 g
Protein: 1.2 g

You know what? Oranges being orange, and bananas being yellow, I think I'll ship this on over to this month's Heart of the Matter event chosen by Ilva at Lucullian Delights. The theme is Orange and Yellow... I can't wait to see all the other goodies too!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

"Off-Roading" for Apples, and a List!

I love it outdoors right now, right smack-dab in the middle of Fall where all the colours of nature blend seamlessly with the colours of apples hanging from the trees! Yes, I went for my annual apple picking excursion this morning (on my crutches... I'm "gimped out"!) with Andrew, my dad and Martha. I called it "off roading", and though it's hard work swinging yourself around all the time (kudos to those who have to do it for life) I wouldn't have passed it up for anything! I scored a full bag of gems: Russets, Jonagolds and a couple Mutsus too! Next week I'll be back in amongst the trees to get a host of Northern Spies for my famous apple pies and squares, perfect freezer food for the months to come (and gifts too!). Apologies for the lack of today's photos, but I'll remember the camera next week, I promise!

For now, I'll finally "do my homework" (following all the other weekend school stuff!) and do this meme that I've saved into my Favourites for, well, ever it seems! Following up on the Omnivore's, Vegetarian's and Vegan's 100 lists, Maple Syrup and Poutine has put together a 100 Canadian Foods to Eat list! Being the Canuck that I am, I couldn't wait to fill this sucker out. Let's get started!

Here's the guideline breakdown, as usual:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten (I coloured mine since the links are bolded).
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Italicize favourites of yours and comment on any / all items (I added this one, so it's totally optional!)
5) Post a comment here linking to your results

1. Arctic Char
2. Ketchup flavoured chips (Oh God, yes! Where's the bag?)
3. Wild Rice Pilaf
4. Caribou Steak
5. Gourmet Poutine (Wait, poutine's gourmet now? That's not poutine!)
6. Screech
7. Beaver Tails (nothin' beats these after a Rideau Canal skate!)
8. Maple Baked Beans
9. Bison Burger
10. Bumbleberry pie
11. Nanaimo bar
12. Butter Tarts
13. Cedar Planked B.C. Salmon
14. Wild Blueberries
15. Pure Local Cranberry Juice
16. Chocolate from Ganong or Purdy’s
17. A cup of warm cider from your local orchard
18. Mott's Clamato Caesar
19. 4 of the following types of apples (Cortland, Empire, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Spartan, Greensleeves, Liberty, Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, Golden Russet, Idared, Gala) (well, I've eaten almost all of them, some today right off the tree, and all the rest were local too!)
20. Freshly foraged mushrooms
21. Dinner cooked by Michael Smith, Susur Lee or Rob Feenie (how I WISH, especially Michael Smith *blush*)
22. Fondue Chinoise
23. Dish created from a Canadian Living Magazine recipe (and it was gooood!)
24. Peameal Bacon Sandwich from St. Lawrence Market in Toronto
25. Lobster bought directly from a boat in a Maritime harbour
26. Handmade perogies from your local church or market (I made my own though!)
27. Alberta Beef at an Alberta Steakhouse
28. Leamington Tomatoes
29. Roasted Pheasant
30. Wild Game hunted by someone you know
31. Ice Wine
32. Habitant Pea Soup – entire can (ah yes... sick people food!)
33. Any Canadian Artisanal Cheese (Sentinelle at the Byward Market... Heaven!)
34. Bannock
35. Tourtiere (mmm)
36. Flapper Pie (looks dead gorgeous though)
37. Jellied Moose Nose (no... it's just NOT RIGHT)
38. Saskatoon Berries
39. Fish and Brewis
40. Screech Pie
41. Fiddleheads
42. Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich (how italic can I make this??)
43. Flipper Pie (gag)
44. Montreal Bagels with Smoked Salmon
45. Toutins
46. Jam Busters
47. Bakeapple Pie
48. Bridge Mixture (you love this or hate it... I'm in the latter camp)
49. Canadian Style Pizza (bacon, pepperoni. Mushrooms)
50. Shreddies (Hell yeah!)
51. A cone from Cow’s Ice Cream (just a cone??? I'm a triple scoop sundae shoved-in-your-face person from here!)
52. Lumberjack or Logger’s Breakfast
53. Jigg’s Dinner
54. Rappie Pie
55. Pemmican
56. Lake Erie Sturgeon Caviar
57. Belon Oysters
58. Brome Lake Duck
59. Beer from a stubby bottle.
60. A beer from Unibroue or Phillips Brewery.
61. Salt Spring Island Lamb
62. Fry’s Cocoa (it's a staple!)
63. A bag of Old Dutch Potato Chips
64. Every Flavour of Laura Secord Suckers
65. Chicken Dinner from St Hubert’s or Swiss Chalet (yes!!! St. Hubert's ROCKS, and Swiss Chalet...$24.95, people![inside joke])
66. Hickory Sticks
67. An entire box of Kraft Dinner (not the entire box...)
68. Candy Apples (NOT caramel apples) (the caramel kind is better)
69. Corn from a roadside stand (nothing beats it)
70. A meal at Eigensenn Farm
71. Okanogan Peaches
72. Berkshire Pork
73. PEI Potatoes
74. Something cooked in Canola oil
75. Figgy Duff
76. Blueberry Grunt
77. High Tea at the Empress Hotel in Victoria (I wish!!)
78. Fresh maple syrup hardened on the snow
79. Oreilles de Christ (no thanks, I'll eat my own ears first)
80. Nova Scotia Beer Warmer
81. A cheese plate containing Bleu Bénédictin, Friulano, St. Maure and Oka.
82. Black or red currant jam
83. Maple glazed Doughnut from Tim Horton’s with a Large “Double Double” (but gimme a Caramel Cappuccino doughnut and a Honey-Lemon tea any day)
84. A glass of Mission Hill’s “Oculus”
85. Alberta Pure Vodka
86. Chokecherries
87. Canada Day Cake
88. Boulettes
89. Canadian Iced Tea
90. Mead
91. Fricot
92. Grandperes
93. Local honey
94. Creton on toast
95. Glen Breton Rare
96. A whole box of Smarties, where the empty box is then used as a kazoo (hehehe I remember those days!)
97. Grilled cheese made with Canadian Cheddar
98. A meal from Harvey’s
99. Lake Erie Perch
100. Red Rose Tea

Well, that's all folks! I'm off to bed, but I'll be checking out the other responses soon!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Bare, Pregnant Foot in the Kitchen

This is what hours in the kitchen barefoot does to you... it makes (parts of you) fat! No, I'm not expecting, and there aren't even any buns in the oven these days. Judging by the state of things in my life, though, recently any new baking projects will be waiting a little while.

As you can see by the gorgeous photo of my foot and ankle, I managed to develop tendonitis. Meaning walking and standing are not the most wonderful things in the world, let alone working in the kitchen. Sigh. Once I figure out how to knead dough and mix cookie batter on crutches though, I'm back in the game!

Before I screwed myself up, I did made a batch of muffins. They're ever so Christmasy - filled with spices and made extra-moist with carrots, honey and a generous dollop of home-made mincemeat (it was taking up half a tiny plastic tub in my freezer and I couldn't throw it away. I'm frugal!). I also tossed in a handful of roasted and salted cashews because I had them on hand, and because my mom loves them. For more texture I added some chia seed and 100% Bran cereal.

The result? A huge batch of breakfasty cakelets that fed the hungry masses at school and work alike.

Mincemeat Cashew Carrot Muffins
Makes 18
50g 100% Bran cereal
¼ cup boiling water
1 tbsp chia seeds (Salba)
1/3 cup boiling water
50 ml oil
150 ml skim milk
1 tsp orange zest
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp honey
2/3 cup sugar
¾ cup mincemeat (if you don't have home made, try this's awesome!)
400 g carrots, grated
200g whole wheat flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp apple pie spice
2/3 cup toasted, salted cashews, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease muffin cups.
  2. Place bran cereal in a large bowl.
  3. Pour ¼ cup boiling water over the bran, and let stand 5 minutes.
  4. In another small bowl, pour 1/3 cup boiling water over the chia seed, let stand 5 minutes.
  5. Add soaked chia (it will be like a gel), oil, milk, zest, vanilla, honey, sugar, mincemeat and carrots to the soaked bran, beating smooth.
  6. Whisk together the dry ingredients and add to the wet blend, stirring until just smooth.
  7. Fold in cashew pieces.
  8. Bake for 20–25 minutes, then cool 10 minutes in tin before turning out and cooling completely.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 153.5
Total Fat: 5.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.2 mg
Sodium: 64.9 mg
Total Carbs: 25.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.3 g
Protein: 3.3 g

Friday, October 17, 2008

Detox Time

Now that we're almost a week into the Thanksgiving aftermath up here in Canada, I'm sure pretty much everyone is sick of leftover turkey, chicken, ham, Tofurkey, whatever! It's time for me to chill out and detox a little before Winter settles in for it's way too long stay! My Psych prof (yeah, I talk about him a lot, he's awesome!) mentioned he was doing one soon, and though I'm not in it to lose any weight these are just "feel healthy" foods that have the added bonus of being TASTY - and seasonal! Oh, and they use carrots... yup, another throwback recipe from when I had the glut of them!

Anyway, this salad is crunchy, sweet and tangy, and just a little on the spicy side: you can use less curry powder though if you really need to! Personally, I love those spices - they're great for stimulating your metabolism and lever detoxification! It really perks you up in the middle of the day when you need a boost. I love picking out the raisins after the salad's sat for a little while, too, because they soak up all the yummy dressing and get soft and chewy! I can't wait to try this with a spicy mango chutney instead of the yogurt too, it would be a nice twist.

If you're searching high and low for celeriac and can't find it, it's also known as celery root (and it looks like that ugly knobbly thing you see on the left!). If it's still nowhere to be found, try grated turnips or parsnips instead, or for a different flavour altogether, how about raw beets? They're equally yummy!

Double - C Salad
Serves 4
2 tablespoons Thompson raisins
1 lb celery root (celeriac), peeled and coarsely grated
3 large carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
3 tablespoons fat free plain yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
pinch cumin powder
1/4 tsp curry powder
1 tsp mustard
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place raisins in a small dish, cover with boiling water and steep 20 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 tbsp liquid.
  2. Combine raisins, celery root and carrots in a large bowl.
  3. Mix reserved raisin liquid, yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, curry and mustard. Drizzle over vegetables.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or chill.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 93.1
Total Fat: 0.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 168.1 mg
Total Carbs: 20.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.8 g
Protein: 3.2 g

For dessert, who can say no to a yummy glass of apple pie? I still have Andrew's mom's juicer at my place, and I made up a glass of this while putting together the cakes last weekend. Delicious, spicy and goes down nice and smooth! It's good for eye, skin and hair health, treating ulcers and preventing colds and flu, so drink up me hearties! (No, that's not a cue to add rum, though I suppose you could...).

Apple Pie in a Glass
Serves 2 generously
2 gala apples, peels on, chopped
2 granny smith apples, peels on, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled
1/2" fresh peeled ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
  1. Run apples, carrot and ginger through juicer.
  2. Stir extracted pulp into the juice, then add cinnamon and nutmeg, stirring well.
  3. Serve immediately over ice.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 178.4
Total Fat: 1.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 25.0 mg
Total Carbs: 45.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 8.5 g
Protein: 0.9 g

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Yang of Cake

Bet you thought I forgot about my dad's Thanksgiving party, eh? Well, have no fear, fellow readers - I give you now... more cake!

My sister likes two kinds of cake (beyond Caffe Demetre's Chocolate Fudge) only: the kind from a box (a la Ms. Crocker or Mr. Hines) or this Red Velvet cake. Mind you, she hardly ever trusts when I make her this cake anymore, since whenever I do, weird things seem to happen. For instance, a couple months ago I had some perfectly baked rounds, which I frosted and proudly served to her. A couple bites in, she got that look on her face (if you have kids, you know that look), followed by "Sarah, what did you put in the cake?". Well, seeing as I had added nothing but the standard recipe ingredients that we had used since finding the recipe in our TV Guide back in 1998, I asked her why.

She showed me. Two grains of rice were embedded in her slice of cake! Okaaayy... odd.

That's not the only instance, either. Once, my mom and I forgot to add the eggs to the batter and had to toss an entire batch of brilliant red hockey-puck-cake. Another time, we baked it well past what it should have taken and we still had pudding-cake in the middle! I was beginning to think this cake was royally cursed, so when Teaghan asked for "her cake" this Thanksgiving as her dessert (she doesn't like carrot cake) I groaned internally. What would go wrong this time?

Well, I thought, what the Hell. I'll tweak the classic recipe of my mom's (which she had modified herself from the original) and see if I could get a better result. Out went the Splenda, shortening, prunes and whole-wheat flour, and in crept unsweetened applesauce, beet juice, extra cocoa, real butter and Kamut flour. Just looking at the crumb, you can tell it was a way better outcome in both texture and how it held up in the oven. Sure, it has more calories (a whole 20 per slice... whoo hoo), but actually less fat (almost a gram) but most importantly - no pudding centre!

The verdict? She liked it. She didn't rave about it (like some of the other guests at my dad's shindig did), but then again she doesn't really rave about anything culinary - she's happier with pizza pockets out of a box than real, home made calzones, after all. So, it's a personal victory. And I'm keeping this recipe... all "real" food, and all the true flavour of the southern cake, up north!

If you're wondering what I did decoration wise with these cakes, I took some help from Bulk Barn and bought yogurt- and dark chocolate-covered peanuts to stud the cake with. I loved the whole contrast thing!

Tomorrow I promise I'll give you something to detox with after finishing all these rich goodies!

Maroon Chocolate Cake
Serves 12
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp red food colouring
1 tbsp pure beet juice
2 tbsp water
1/4 cup cocoa, sifted
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup Kamut flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two round 9" cake pans.
  2. Cream sugars, butter and applesauce until fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well.
  4. Make a paste of the food colouring, beet juice, water and cocoa powder, scrape into above mixture and beat well.
  5. Whisk together flours and salt in a separate bowl.
  6. Add dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk to the creamed mixture.
  7. In a small dish, mix vinegar and baking soda well (it will foam).
  8. Add to the batter and fold in gently but thoroughly.
  9. Bake 30 minutes, cool completely in pans before turning out.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 208.0
Total Fat: 5.1 g
Cholesterol: 46.4 mg
Sodium: 62.5 mg
Total Carbs: 37.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.8 g
Protein: 4.5 g

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

News: Foodbuzz Publisher Community Launches!

We interrupt your scheduled programming for this important announcement!


San Francisco – October 13, 2008: Foodbuzz, Inc., officially inaugurates its food blogger community with more than 1,000 blog partners, a global food blogging event and an online platform that captures the real-people, real-time power of food publishing in every corner of the world. At launch, the Foodbuzz community ranks as one of the top-10 Internet destinations for food and dining (Quantcast), with bloggers based in 45 countries and 863 cities serving up daily food content.
“Food bloggers are at the forefront of reality publishing and the dramatic growth of new media has redefined how food enthusiasts access tasty content,” said Doug Collister, Executive Vice President of Foodbuzz, Inc. “Food bloggers are the new breed of local food experts and at any minute of the day, Foodbuzz is there to help capture the immediacy of their hands-on experiences, be it a memorable restaurant meal, a trip to the farmers market, or a special home-cooked meal.”

Foodbuzz is the only online community with content created exclusively by food bloggers and rated by foodies. The site offers more than 20,000 pieces of new food and dining content weekly, including recipes, photos, blog posts, videos and restaurant reviews. Members decide the “tastiness” of each piece of content by voting and “buzz” the most popular posts to the top of the daily menu of submissions. Foodbuzz currently logs over 13 million monthly page views and over three million monthly unique visitors.
“Our goal is to be the number-one online source of quality food and dining content by promoting the talent, enthusiasm and knowledge of food bloggers around the globe,” said Ben Dehan, founder and CEO of Foodbuzz, Inc.

The Foodbuzz blogger community is growing at a rate of 40 percent per month driven by strong growth in existing partner blogs and the addition of over 100 new blogs per month. “The Web site is like the stock of a great soup. The Web site provides the base or backbone for bloggers to interact as a community, contribute content, and have that content buzzed by their peers,” said Mr. Dehan.

Global Blogging Event
Demonstrating the talent and scope of the Foodbuzz community, 24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs offered online food enthusiasts an international, virtual street festival of food and diversity. The new feature showcased blog posts from 24 Foodbuzz partner bloggers chronicling events occurring around the globe during a 24 hour period and included:
· Mid-Autumn Festival Banquest (New York, NY)
· The "Found on Foodbuzz" 24-Item Tasting Menu (San Francisco, CA)
· Aussie BBQ Bonanza – Celebrating Diversity (Sydney, Australia)
· The Four Corners of Carolina BBQ Road Trip (Charleston, SC)
· Criminal Tastes – An Illegal Supper (Crested Butte, CO)
· From Matambre to Empanadas: An Argentine Dinner (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
· A Sweet Trompe l’oeil (Seattle, WA)

“24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs” captures the quality and unique local perspective of our food bloggers and shared it with the world,” said Ryan Stern, Director of the Foodbuzz Publisher Community. “It illustrates exactly what the future of food publishing is all about – real food, experienced by real people, shared real-time.”

About Foodbuzz, Inc.
Based in San Francisco, Foodbuzz, Inc., launched its beta Web site,, in 2007. In less than a year, and its community of over 1,000 exclusive partner food blogs have grown into an extended online property that reaches more than three million users.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cake Time, Take One

I did it! I conquered the last of the eleven pounds of carrots from my yard in one sweet, fell swoop. And what says harvest time better than goodies straight from the garden?? So, when I made this super-decadent, moist and completely scrumptious carrot cake for the weekend's festivities, I "pulled" inspiration quite literally from my surroundings. The carrots, obviously, were garden-grown, and the applesauce home-made from local apples. The unusual, but perfectly at-home addition of strawberries was also a locally harvested treat! Even the canola oil I used is Canadian in origin, as was the flaxseed (though I think it's from the prairies, not Ontario). All these ingredients, plus (obviously) imported macadamia nuts, pineapple and ground almonds married into one heck of a Thanksbirthday dessert, which was one of the best I've ever made, if I do say so myself. The macadamias made this cake, I think... I pre-roasted them before chopping them up and adding them with the ground almonds, and the buttery goodness they added is worth so much more than the cost of them! If you're looking to impress, this is the cake for you, I promise!

I did have to make two cakes this year to please everyone since my sister only eats chocolate cake (so I'll tell you about that one tomorrow) and cut each cake in half so I'd be able to give everybody in the family a taste, so when it came time to decorate the cakes I went for a kind of cutesey, witty type of decoration.

What do you think? The carrot cake's the white-frosted one, and I tell you, manouvering the cake halves to make "one" cake is not easy! Three knives, three plates and a scary couple seconds balancing two of the surfaces at once was all it took before I got to the cheesy decoration job at hand. It was a hit though, and this shot is of my grandpa's cake from Saturday. The other one (same idea, same cakes, different design) I'll have to show you tomorrow - it wound up being Martha's daughter Keri's birthday cake!

Use your favourite frosting for this carrot cake - mine's a pretty basic version just like Elise's but using 1/3 cup of shortening instead of butter (yes, I know!). I added a touch of lemon zest and juice too, instead of the vanilla.

Double-Triple Carrot Cake
Serves 16
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup long-cooking oats
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/2 cup boiling water
1 egg
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2/3 cup crushed pineapple with juice
1/2 cup pureed strawberries
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tbsp vanilla
2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 10" pans.
  2. Whisk together flours, oats, almonds, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, combine flax seed and water. Let stand 10 minutes.
  4. Add egg and sugars and beat until creamy.
  5. Beat in buttermilk, oil, applesauce, pineapple, strawberries, ginger and vanilla.
  6. Gently but thoroughly beat in flour mixture.
  7. Fold in carrots and chopped macadamia nuts.
  8. Bake 50 minutes, or until tests done.
  9. Allow to cool 1 hour minimum before turning out of pans and cooling completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 264.7
Total Fat: 11.9 g
Cholesterol: 13.7 mg
Sodium: 54.6 mg
Total Carbs: 37.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.0 g
Protein: 4.5 g

After frosting, decorating and slicing, feel free to step back and admire the gorgeous cutaway view you'll be rewarded with! The devour it as fast as you can - you won't be able to stop yourself!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thanksgiving Brownies

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians out there! This weekend's been a wonderfully busy one, filled with family and friends and (of course) food, and even though I'm glad to have a little break after all the festivities now that it's over, it's a little sad too. The next major get-together slew of things is around Christmas, with my stepfather's birthday and the Catholic Christmas Eve dinner party.

Like I mentioned in my last post, I had dinner at my maternal grandparents' place last night followed by a (substantially larger) party tonight at my dad's new place. While the rest of the family et al dined on "Mount Vesuvius" portions (as my stepdad put it) of turkey, potatoes, and lots and lots of veggies (mmm... veggies), I brought my own meal as per usual - my stellar Vegan Veggie Bake (cue drooling à la Pavlov). Yes, I got some jealous stares, and no, I didn't share it. It may be Thanksgiving, but nobody touches my food! I'm armed with forkage, I tell you!

I didn't come totally empty-handed though. Noooo siree. I brought cakes to both nights' meals, and added some brownie goodness to the party at my dad's place. I mean, really... who can pass up chocolate in any form? The tasters of these brownies (which I later topped with a brown sugar, cornstarch and peanut butter frosting) had nothing but good things to say about them, and I got to explain the workings of sourdough to some could-be-foodies tonight too!

Just like the muffins I made a while back, you don't need a "fed" starter to make these - it's more of an acidity thing than a yeasty-business thing that makes them rise. Melted chocolate makes them nice and rich, especially if you use a good, dark one. I melted down the last bits of my 70% Amedei bar for this, and it looked and smelled sinful.

I'm sending this off to Wild Yeast's YeastSpotting event this week, check it out this Friday for some bready inspiration! Don't forget about Bread Baking Day too, which is this Thursday (the 16th). Tons of bready goodness to be had all around!

Sourdough Brownies
Serves 12
3 oz bittersweet (at least 65%) chocolate
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ cup (unfed) sourdough starter
2 tsp vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 375F, and grease a 9" pan.
  2. Melt chocolate and oil in a double boiler over low heat.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. Beat together brown sugar, egg, sourdough starter and vanilla, then stir in cooled chocolate mixture.
  5. Stir in flour mixture until just blended.
  6. Spread in prepared pan.
  7. Bake 30 - 35 minutes, or until edge begins to pull away from pan.
  8. Cool completely before cutting and serving.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 188.3
Total Fat: 9.6 g
Cholesterol: 17.7 mg
Sodium: 10.3 mg
Total Carbs: 25.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 2.4 g

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Kitchen Prod is an interesting class of mine. One one hand, it's one of my favourite classes because, hey, I get to cook for 3 hours with a great instructor and a chef who actually "get" my love for food and cooking. On the other hand, the class is a pain to attend because all our work is in groups. Now, anyone who knows me and how I work knows that I do best all by me onesy in most things, especially when it comes to cooking. I don't mind help in the kitchen if it comes from competent assistants, but those poor souls in my group, well... let's just say that it wasn't me who added dry pasta to cold water and then put it on the fire to boil. The pasta's soggy? Well, yeah, that would be what happens in that case... who hasn't cooked pasta?

But I digress... I'm sure there are others out there who have been in the same boat. My friends in KP wound up in a group together *jealous* and a couple weeks ago they made this recipe for a baked chicken and pasta casserole. It's been scaled down from a foodservice recipe in our textbook to serve 8, and it's a pretty healthy and economical meal too! Everything is baked together in one dish and leftovers freeze wonderfully, so you can make the whole recipe and portion it up for later dinners where it's too late or busy to bother hauling out pots and pans.

Though I couldn't taste test, I did bring home a gratuitous amount for the rest of the family, and it got some pretty good reviews with them! I'll give you the "real" recipe (i.e. not what my group did) for our assignment after the long weekend, since it uses pre-cooked poultry which all of us Thanksgivingites will have plenty of!

Pink Macaroni, Chicken And Pea Casserole
Serves 8
16 oz dry whole wheat macaroni
1/4 cup water
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz raw skinless, boneless chicken breast, cubed
1/2 cup frozen peas
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
6 oz tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1/2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup cold water
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups 1% milk
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
3 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, cook the pasta 4 minutes. Drain, but do not rinse. Pasta should still be firm.
  3. Heat water in a large non-stick pan. Saute the onion, pepper, and garlic until tender.
  4. Add chicken, cooking until almost done.
  5. Add in the peas, spinach, tomato paste, and water.
  6. Continue to cook, stirring, until chicken is no longer pink. Season sparingly with salt and pepper and remove from heat while preparing bechamel.
  7. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  8. Mix in the stock and milk, season with pepper.
  9. Whisk the cornstarch and water until smooth, then stir into sauce.
  10. Stir in 1/2 cup of the mozzarella, and cook until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.
  11. In a large bowl, mix the cooked pasta with 1/2 the bechamel sauce.
  12. Mix the chicken saute with the remaining bechamel and parsley in another bowl.
  13. Place half the pasta in a foil-lined baking dish, then top with half the chicken mixture, and half the remaining mozzarella.
  14. Add the remaining pasta, chicken and bechamel.
  15. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
  16. Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 384.8
Total Fat: 6.0 g
holesterol: 26.9 mg
Sodium: 670.2 mg
Total Carbs: 61.4
Dietary Fiber: 7.7 g
Protein: 22.2 g

Friday, October 10, 2008

Giving Thanks

Wow, that's got to be probably the least original title for a Thanksgiving post ever. Whatever... it's too late tonight to worry about that now! I took some time today to ponder what it is I'm thankful for right now, and the list is so long! Apart from the usual (but important) family, friends, health and assorted similar items, I guess I'd have to say I'm thankful for the chance to go back to college this fall, thankful for the confidence I had to make new friends and stay in touch (as much as I could) with the old, and thankful for the strength and stamina to keep up with my schoolwork, this blog and life in general!

I'm also grateful for the teachers I've had this year, both school and socially related, in person and online. Without them I'd never have been able to move forward and "grow up"!

This (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend is being split a couple different ways, unlike last year when I only had my dad's shindig to go to (seeing as the other half of my gene pool was off in Italy). I'm taking tomorrow morning and jetting to my hometown to bring my best friend from highschool her birthday gift and say "hi" before she disappears back to school, and hopefully I'll be able to hit the local flea market with Andrew too (if I can get my ankle to hold up... it's not being too happy with me these days). Then I'm coming home and making myself a take-along meal for Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday which will be spent at my grandparents' place, since I can't eat the usual fare. I've also got a couple cakes to frost and store for the family dinners, and of course you'll get the recipes (actually, one of them is posted here already)! Sunday and Monday are basically eat-talk-sleep days - tell me a Thanksgiving weekend that isn't? Holidays are meant for that purpose!

I don't get out of schoolwork completely though - an oh-so-wonderful couple of assignments are keeping me busy these days (hence the lack of daily posting... I try!). Between writing out HACCP recipe charts, biographical interview reports and training sheets for deep-fryers, the last thing I want to do is think logically!! Yes, I am a whiner. Hear me roar.

For everyone out there celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend, and everyone else out there too, I hope it's a good one! If you'd like to join in my low-fat veggie celebration meal, try this recipe on for size... you may never think of a holiday meal the same way.

Tangy Red Grain Salad
Serves 1 as a lunch entree
3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup dry bulgur
100g raw beets, coarsely grated (peeled if necessary)
1 tbsp dried cranberries
1 tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp vegetable broth
Black pepper to taste

  1. Combine water and salt in a small pot, bring to a boil.
  2. Add bulgur and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in beets, cranberries, vinegar, broth and pepper.
  4. Serve immediately or chill.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 207.2
Total Fat: 0.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 383.4 mg
Total Carbs: 47.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 9.6 g
Protein: 5.9 g

Photo from Archana's blog

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Worldwide Baking: A Gem of a Bread

Yes, my friends, it's time for World Bread Day again!! I took a few moments out of my study/stress pattern this morning to whip out a rather unique, beautiful and, may I say, girly bread dough. I mean, come on... it's sweet, light and pink of all things (what better colour for this month's Breast Cancer Awareness theme?). It's also stuffed full of goodies like fibre, folate and iron too... all due to the delicious, nutritious showstopper ingredient of BEET!

I was actually inspired by a recipe I found on the original WBD event's roundup by Alana, but I have to say I wasn't prepared for the vibrant colour of this loaf! I made a few (okay, okay, a lot) of changes to her recipe, but the amount of beet was roughly the same so I don't know what made the colour jump like that! It's mighty tasty though. Not beet-y, really, but earthy and ever so slightly sweet. It's just more fun to bring a sandwich made on a couple slices to school or work and watch the looks on people's faces!

It's ridiculously easy to make too, especially if you have a stand mixer like I do (Alana uses a breadmaker for her recipe, but I don't have one so by hand and oven it goes!). After mixing, kneading and letting the dough go through it's first rise, I punched it down and stuffed it into a loaf pan. I then shoved it into the fridge while I went and wrote midterm #2 *fingers crossed*! I didn't really let it come to room temperature before baking it off, either (it had already ballooned out of it's pan by that point). I just took it out of the fridge and let it stand out while I preheated the oven... I'm guessing it was about 10 minutes. It all worked out in the end, as you can see!

I had made the beet ingredients ahead of time and frozen them, because I knew this bread was in my future. If you're going completely from scratch, you'll need a juicer (for the beet fibre if you're adding it). I do reccommend steaming the beets rather than boiling them, partly for nutrition and partly for flavour. The ones I used came right out of my garden and were on the wee side, so I didn't even have to peel them, I just steamed them whole. A food processor for chopping the cooked beets into tiny tiny tiny pieces is also highly reccommended to avoid pink-hand syndrome.

Have a great WBD on the 16th, everyone, and don't forget to check out Zorra's blog for the roundup (and details on getting in on the bready action if you'd like... there's still time!).

Beet'n Bread
Serves 14
2/3 cups warm water, divided
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warmed plain, unsweetened soy milk (or regular)
2 cups grated cooked beet
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp vital wheat gluten
3 tbsp dry non-dairy creamer (like Coffee Mate... I used low fat)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp beet fibre (left over from juicing, optional)
  1. Whisk together warm water and sugar. Add yeast and let stand 10 minutes.
  2. Heat milk, grated beet and syrup to "body temperature".
  3. In a large mixing bowl whisk together flours, gluten, creamer, salt and beet fibre.
  4. Pour in yeast and milk mixtures and beat until a fairly smooth dough forms.
  5. Knead for 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface, until elastic.
  6. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Preheat oven to 375F, grease a loaf pan.
  8. Punch down dough, shape into a loaf and place into the pan, tucking ends under.
  9. Cover and let rise again for 1 hour.
  10. Bake for 40 minutes, tenting with foil after 20.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 133.2
Total Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 81.4 mg
Total Carbs: 27.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.2 g
Protein: 4.6 g

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


;I am a huge fan of eating breakfast. Honestly, it's the only way to start the day! Too often though it's only a bowl of cereal for me (though it's good cereal... organic even!), but when I get the chance to have a hot, hearty meal in the morning I turn to my good friend French toast to help me out. Seeing as the temps are starting to slide closer and closer to 0°C around here, I'm thinking that this may just be appearing more and more on my morning routine!

Personally, if it's gotta keep me filled up for a while, French toast just isn't right unless it's on a good, hearty multigrain bread. Challah and brioche have their places too, but I need a fibre-filled carb to start the day! And like you can see in the photo, I prefer jam (or cranberry sauce!) on my French toast rather than your traditional syrup. Yeah, I'm weird... who isnt? The one I used this morning is my strawberry-rhubarb jam that I wrote about over a year ago. It's delicious!

I also use an egg substitute in my French toast because the fat in the egg yolks upsets my constitution, but you can also use 2 whole eggs or 4 egg whites instead.

Autumn Spice French Toast
Serves 1
100mL Egg Creations egg substitute
3 tbsp water
1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp maple extract
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
2 slices multigrain bread, slightly dried out if possible
  1. Preheat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Whisk together egg substitute, water, spice, extract and sugar in a shallow dish.
  3. Dip the bread, one slice at a time, into the egg mixture, coating it thoroughly and allowing it to soak slightly into the bread.
  4. Fry toast in a spray of PAM (or similar) until the egg mixture is cooked - about 2-3 minutes a side.
  5. Serve immediately with maple syrup, jam or honey!

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 205.9
Total Fat: 2.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 415.9 mg
Total Carbs: 30.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.3 g
Protein: 15.2 g

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Liar, Liar

Wow, when I wrote how I had finished off the garden for the year back in September, I totally forgot about my Tuscan kale lurking in the background of the plots! I had an itching to make a pot of soup or stew to take with me to school this winter to keep me warm when the air conditioning stays on (why do building managers DO that??) and I had saved a recipe of Susan (the Fat-Free Vegan)'s into my files for almost a year that would be perfect. So out came the stockpot, in went some garden-grown veggies and some easy, canned staples from the pantry and voila: soup! It would have been a stew had I allowed it to simmer longer (or if I had ignored that urge to add more water), but I like it this way - a very hearty soup - since it lets you feel like you're getting more than mouthfuls of kale and cabbage.

Susan's recipe doesn't call for greens to be added, but I love my green leafies (and the iron they provide!) and with all the stuff I got out of my garden (yup, more carrots again!) I figured hey, how could I go wrong? Looking at her recipe now, I took a lot of liberties and substitutions with my stew(ish), so I'm going to post my version here. It's definitely inspired by her though, and do check out her site if you haven't already! This stew/soup is also very high in fibre and low in sugars (I didn't add any but they do come from the carbs in the tomatoes and beans), making it a delicious, vegan, diabetic friendly meal that I'm going to submit to Art of Cooking Indian Food's Eat Healthy - Fight Diabetes event. Since all the fresh veggies in this recipe are local (like, garden and farmer's market local), and the whole dish is very economical, hearty and feeds a crowd I'm passing it along to Valli and Ivy's event for World Food Day too, which focuses on spreading awareness about the plight of many people worldwide who don't always get enough to eat and turn to food banks - a service that is stretched bare-bones-thin even now!

A note about this recipe though that you will notice - it calls for an entire head of garlic. Not one or two cloves, but 20. But don't worry - only 2 are actually chopped and sauteed. The rest are tossed in whole to get all nice and sweet and buttery... yum! It's like roasted garlic without turning on the oven! Feel free to play around with the leafies you put in, too... I bet spinach would be a good addition too! Oh, and this is definitely a better-the-second (third, fourth...)-day recipe too.

Kale, White Bean and Garlic Stew
Makes 6 servings, about 13 (dry) ounces per serving
1 head garlic (the whole bulb--15-20 cloves)
2 tablespoons water
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
19 oz can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 cups water
salt to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
6.5 oz kale, stems removed and chopped
9 oz Savoy cabbage, shredded
1 tbsp lemon juice
  1. Break the garlic bulb into cloves and peel off the skin. Chop 2 cloves, leave the rest whole.
  2. Add water to a large, deep pot over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion and sauté 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and carrots, sauté for 1 more minute.
  5. Add the beans, tomatoes, bay leaves, and water. Cover the pot and simmer for about an hour, adding water if it gets too thick. Remove the bay leaves.
  6. Stir in the salt and peppers, followed by the kale and cabbage.
  7. Simmer 5-10 minutes longer.
  8. If you're serving the stew right away, add the lemon juice. Otherwise, add lemon juice right before serving.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 148.2
Total Fat: 0.3 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 405.9 mg
Total Carbs: 28.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 8.2 g
Protein: 9.1 g