Friday, December 14, 2007

The Virtuous and the Sweet (ARF and more ECC!)

Well folks, it's official: only 10 more days until Christmas Eve! I know I'm not the only one groaning... I mean, I've only wrapped 3 gifts so far, and have so much to bake before the holidays that I think either I or our poor oven may die from exhaustion! Not to mention organizing travel schedules, day trips, and gift giving in and around all those other things!

However, and I know you've heard it before, being busy is not an excuse for eating poorly! Especially at this time of year, where you have turkey skin, chocolate truffles and shortbread cookies at every turn, your brain (and body) will thank you for a few more virtuous meals in between the parties (and I'm not saying skip those, either... it's the holidays!!!). So, for this week's ARF / 5-a-Day roundup at the virtuous Sweetnick's, I'll send you off with a warm, comforting dish that won't leave you feeling like you swallowed a turkey. In fact, it's full of healthy veggies like carrots (for Vitamin A), peppers (Vitamins A & C), zucchini (manganese) and potatoes (Vitamins C & B6, potassium and fibre), with a kick from some crushed red pepper flakes, and some tang from creamy, calcium-rich goat cheese. It's a great weekend lunch when you're wrapping gifts or just relaxing in between rushes!

Warm Grecian Salad
Serves 4
6 medium red potatoes, unpeeled and chopped
3 cups whole white mushrooms
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped
1 red onion, sliced
2 red peppers, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp rosemary
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 oz soft goat cheese (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Mix vegetables, garlic, oil and herbs.
  3. Pour into a roasting pan. Bake 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  4. Switch heat to broiler and cook a further 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer all to a serving bowl.
  6. Mix vinegar, pepper and pepper flakes. Pour over vegetables and toss.
  7. Crumble cheese over the dish and serve warm.

Calories: 346.0
Total Fat: 6.1 g
Cholesterol: 6.5 mg
Sodium: 101.3 mg
Total Carbs: 63.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 8.8 g
Protein: 11.8 g

I know, I know... so what else could I bring to the awesome Eat Christmas Cookies event over at FoodBlogga? Well, it's yet another twist on the good ol’ chocolate chipper, but this time I threw in some custard powder and Smarties (again, the Canadian chocolate, not the American candy) for flavour, texture and colour! These are eggless and whole-grain to boot, and are a joy for kids and adults alike (just ask my mom's office!). If you can’t find custard powder (something like Bird’s – not the instant kind though) you can substitute measure-for-measure with cook and serve vanilla pudding.

Smartie Pants Cookie Drops
Serves 45
3/4 cup shortening
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp water
1 cup flour
¾ cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp vanilla custard powder
2/3 cup miniature chocolate chips
½ cup Smarties or M&Ms
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cream together shortening, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Beat in vanilla and water.
  3. Combine flours, cornstarch, baking soda, salt and custard powder.
  4. Gently blend the dry ingredients into the creamed batter.
  5. When almost completely blended, add the chocolate chips and Smarties.
  6. Drop dough balls onto un-greased cookie sheets.
  7. Bake 10 minutes and cool completely on sheets.

Calories: 89.9
Total Fat: 4.7 g
Cholesterol: 2.1 mg
Sodium: 2.8 mg
Total Carbs: 11.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.5 g
Protein: 0.8 g


  1. hey missy baker even though i have known and dated you for nearly 3 years your baking ideas and skills outstand anything i have seen b4... your amazing and you should know that and except it

  2. the cookies are quite festive!! perfect for the Eat Christmas Cookies event :0)


Thanks for the feedback!