Category Archives: The Recipe Box

What She Ate (Hello! It’s a Link Up!)

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As some of you may already know, I was recently diagnosed with a second autoimmune disease.  Yep, my immune system is a rock star in the bad sorta binge drinking kinda way.  But moving on.  My naturopath suggested that I do a therapeutic diet for the next month to help ease the inflammation in my body, give everything a chance to heal/rest and in the meantime potentially identify some foods which may need to be completely eliminated.  The diet is pretty restrictive, but in reality is still full of great healthy options.  If you know me, though, you know I’m a high-fructose corn syrup in the form of candy candy candy kinda girl.  So that part of the elimination diet list that said ‘no sweeteners’ hit hard in my candy crack fogged brain.

fruit salad

It’s the end of my first week and I think so far I’m doing good, but the real test will come tonight when I go to the movies sans-goodies.  Oh my!  Oh wait, I can sneak a bottle of 100% pure fruit or vegetable juice.  Poo.

We already eat pretty darn tootin’ healthy.  (with the exception of the previously professed candy problem).  We make most of our food from scratch, eat a diet full of whole foods and a good variety of fresh fruits and veggies.  However, when it comes to cooking I don’t know the first thing about laying off the cheese.

curried rice apple chickpea salad

I thought this would be a great opportunity to invite some fellow bloggers to join in a link-up.  (Disclaimer:  I don’t suggest that anyone embark on any kind of diet without first talking to your doctor).  It seems that there are many of you out there who are making the choice to either eat healthier or for one reason or another have had to give up some type of food.  So why not link up together and spend a little time every couple of weeks sharing some healthy eats, new recipes and naughty (but healthy) indulgences.  You don’t have to be on a special diet to join, you just have to share an interest in home cooked deliciousness.

vegan chocolate mousse

So if you are interested in joining this link up let me know in the comments below and I’ll send you all the info you need by email (including the little banner guy up above and the button).  We will have a new theme every couple of weeks…like a culinary challenge.

Here are two recipes from my first week that I wanted to share.  Easy-Peasy my friends and so gooooood!  For starters,  I can’t give up chocolate.  I just can’t.  I was lucky to have my friend Steph stop by for a visit and she brought with her this recipe for Vegan Chocolate Mousse.  I believe it was originally intended to be served in a chocolate tart of sorts, but it makes a pretty good imitation of a pudding.  And you all know how much I love pudding.

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

2 cups avocado
1/3 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk
2/3 cup maple syrup (or to taste.  I used honey and a lot less)
1 tbsp peanut butter or tahini
1 tbsp arrowroot or coconut flour
1/3 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted

whir it all up in a blender and enjoy.

And here is a lunch staple in our house (which I had to modify slightly because I can’t have peppers or dried fruit or mayonnaise or Worcestershire sauce…ho hum).

Curried Rice, Chick Pea and Apple Salad

2 cups cooked brown basmati rice
5 green onions, sliced
1 apple, seeded and chopped
1 cup or 1 can cooked chickpeas
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil

mix. mix. mix. voila. eat.

* adapted from the cookbook “Beyond the Moon” by Ginny Callan.  I love this book.

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I can’t get the link-up thingamajingy to work…hopefully up for next time.  In the meantime, you should really head on over to Abhaya to check out the gorgeous Indian Slaw recipe that Sondra posted.  It looks absolutely yummers!  Coconut and Lime and Roasted Peanuts…need I say more!

You can also head on over to the What She Ate Pinterest Board to see all the delicious healthy eats!

Mountain Men and Maple Syrup (or a tale of two pancakes)

Mountain Man Buckwheat Pancakes

Two boys decided they don’t like maple syrup.  Just when I think I’m getting a handle on the world, a curve ball.  I mean, seriously, did you know it was possible to not like maple syrup?  I had no idea.  But there you go.  Some people out there simply don’t like the sugary sweet miracle of sap.  a gift from the trees.  perfect on everything from pancakes to steak.  yep, if i was wealthy i’d eat this stuff on everything (and I’d likely have an entirely new set of health problems).

ah, but you see, because two boys decided they no longer like maple syrup, two adults got to gallop home with a mason jar full of the amber beauty.

and so a test.  gluten-free buckwheat pancakes.  First we tried a recipe I found online for “Mountain Man” pancakes, because I do loves me some mountain men.  Next we tried a recipe e-mailed to me by our friend Melissa.  And ding ding ding…Keevil, your pancakes are the winner!  Both recipes were delicious, but the Buckwheat-Cornmeal combination tasted the most like the pancakes I have known and loved in the past.  They also rose quite fluffy and stayed that way after they were lifted from the pan.  Whereas the Mountain Man Pancakes rose and than sunk once removed from the heat.  I will hold back on making any correlation between the performance of the pancakes and actual ‘mountain men’.

(i apologize as well to all friends currently living in the mountains.  you’ve chosen a charmed life and i am endlessly envious.  you know it.)

The recipes.

Mountain Man Buckwheat Pancakes can be found over at Frugal Antics. Loads of good eats over there.

and here is the recipe shared by Melissa:

Buckwheat-Cornmeal Pancakes

3/4 cup buckwheat flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg, beaten

1 cup buttermilk or almond milk

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 cup frozen blueberries (optional)

(Only thing I changed with this recipe is I added a tsp of baking soda and I also soured a regular cup of milk with 2 tbsp of vinegar and let it sit for 5 minutes)

Yum Yum!

Bacon Fixes Everything

Flax Seed Gluten Free Bread

gluten free brown rice crust quiche

phlooomghssst.  I think that’s the sound that came out of my mouth.

My first attempt at baking gluten-free bread appeared to be successful at first.  The dough rose, the smell coming from the oven was all the deliciousness I’ve come to expect and the final loaf when cut looked like your average sandwich bread.  I will not give you a link to the recipe or to the blog that promised that this recipe was the best gluten-free recipe for bread ever.  If this is the best…well, lady who shall remain nameless…i’m calling bullshit.

i only wish i knew which of the ingredients made that loaf of bread so utterly unappetizing to my taste buds (Mr. Beardpants by the way enjoyed two slices of toast, plus what I couldn’t finish of mine…so it could just be me).  Brown rice flour…are you evil?  what about the starches?  if anyone has any suggestions for more appetizing flour combinations please let me know.

at one point i ran the risk of blogging too little and now i run the risk of driving you all bonkers with excessive gluten-free-whine-my-back-hurts-and-my-toes-turn-white posts, but don’t worry…soon i’ll drift away from circulation issues and dazzle you with posts about boxes and packing tape.

Tonight i’m making a little post-assault gift for my mouth.

Bacon does indeed fix everything.

A little cheddar bacon broccoli quiche (made with a brown rice crust…real rice though…not that weird flour crap).  I know that bacon is evil too, but I refuse to break our friendship.

We’ve had a good run and Bacon, you’ve always been there for me.

(side note:  my high school boyfriend named a pig after me.  Stacy lived a good well fed life and in the end she was absolutely delicious. But if you are thinking about naming a pig after your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day or any other occasion for that matter…ummm…well, just don’t.)

I adapted this recipe for Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche.  It’s absolutely nom-nom good.  Only thing I changed was adding in the bacon.

Goodbye Gluten: Hello, DIY Imitation Kashi Cereal

gluten-free cereal diy homemade

Wheat, it’s all I can think about.  Funny how when you decide to give something up for a while it has a way of taking over your mind.  Last night I fell asleep counting giant chocolate muffins and croissants and riding around with a bike basket full of baguettes.

It is only day two of operation ‘Goodbye Gluten’.

This is something I am trying out for a while to see if it helps at all with the inflammation and pain in my joints or the chronic bloating and stomach pains that have plagued me for nearly a decade.  I figure it can’t hurt and if it doesn’t make a difference I can happily go back to munching on melba toasts.  But if it does help with the above described problems than I think i’ll be all too happy to get a little extra creative in the kitchen.

Some of you may know I love to bake and I love to eat.  And one weapon I have on my side is that we already make most of our food from scratch.  So when I ran down the meal plan for this week it wasn’t as intimidating as I thought it would be.  We grabbed up a few extra ingredients, shoved the wheat and gluten filled pantry items to the side and dug right into experimenting with new flours.

Over the course of the next week or two I will be sharing some of the food we are making and some of the recipes I am discovering.  I don’t really want this blog to become all about ‘inflammed joints’ and ‘bloat belly’ and ‘gluten this and wheat that’.  But for the time being this is what’s happening and I thought I could make it a bit more fun if I take the time to share.

I’m not big on cereal.  More of an egg breakfast kinda person.  But I do love a little breakfast parfait from time to time with some cereal and yoghurt and fruit.  So I whipped up an imitation ‘kashi’ style granola that is also gluten-free.  I’m too cheap by the way to buy cereal.  I’m like that about most things.

So here’s the recipe:

in a big bowl mix together

  • 4 cups of gluten-free oats
  • 2 to 3 cups of puffed millet cereal
  • 1 cup of coconut
  • 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup of chopped almonds
  • 3/4 cup of honey
  • 1/3 cup of oil
  • Some shakes of cinnamon

Mix it all together and spread the cereal mixture onto a couple of baking sheets.  Throw the sheets in the oven at 350 F for approximately 30 to 40 minutes (until it browns lightly).  Check on the cereal every 5 to 10 minutes and give it a stir.  When it is done, remove from the oven and sprinkle a few shakes of gluten-free vanilla extract (you gotta check this stuff cause often it’s full of artificial colouring which may contain gluten).  Add a cup full of raisins and mix.  When the mixture has cooled store in an air-tight container.

My mix nearly filled a 3 L storage container.  It’ll keep in the pantry for about 4 to 6 weeks, but you’ll so have gobbled it all up way before that time comes.

Happy Nibbles!

Saturday Morning Special

Chocolate Berry Smoothie

Super Fluffy Pancakes

I slept in.

It’s a rare enough occurrence that I actually felt like it deserved to be blogged.

The dog is waiting patiently (sorta) for her morning tromp through the snow.  It seemed, after all, that a sleep-in Saturday also deserves a good breakfast.  A slow breakfast.  A warm pottery mug full of coffee wrapped in cold winter morning fingers.  A frying pan heating up with melted butter.

I’m often a creature of habit and this morning smoothie is one of my usual start-up beverages.

Chocolate Berry Smoothie

Almond milk is something I only recently discovered.  Previously I used to make this with chocolate or vanilla soy milk, but I like the almond milk version much better.  It’s a simple throw together.  One banana, a handful of frozen mixed berries and fill to top of fruit with chocolate almond milk.  Blend together until smooth.

Fluffy Pancakes

Pancakes are total comfort for me.  They remind me of my Dad in the kitchen after a long week of work.  I’m pretty certain I only saw my Dad cook two things when I was a kid, oatmeal and pancakes.  The oatmeal was always loaded with brown sugar, raisins and cinnamon.  The pancakes were always piled high.

Pancakes to me are the mountains.  A staple breakfast before a good day of hiking or part of my mountain trekking preparation meal before a multi-day adventure.  My hiking partner would always rise a little later and I would start the day off with a slow cup of tea and a kitchen of busy pans cooking up sausages, bacon, pancakes, french toast and eggs.

These pancakes came from a combination of recipes while I was on a search for the fluffiest pancakes ever.

Combine 1 cup of milk with 2 tbsp of vinegar.  Set aside for 5 minutes until soured.

In another bowl, mix 1 cup of flour with 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda.  Add in a pinch of salt and combine.  Set aside.

Separate an egg adding the yolk to the milk mixture and placing the egg white in a bowl on its own.  Add 2 tsp of sugar to the milk mixture and a drop of oil.  Mix up.  Than whisk up the egg white until it forms stiff peaks than fold into the milk mixture.

Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir just to combine.

Butter.  Hot pan.  Flip Flip.  Enjoy!

Makes about 7 or 8 medium sized pancakes.

When in Doubt…Bake Bread

Whole Wheat Molasses BreadI needed to bake this Sunday to clear my head (ummm…plus we are still making all our own bread and had been out for days).  I have to say I have done very little of the bread baking lately. Mr. Beardpants has been fixed on these tasty potato bread loaves and I have happily indulged without getting my own hands involved.  But there is something therapeutic about kneading and punching down dough.  The ‘punching’ being my favourite part.

So this weekend, while I processed changes that have just happened along with changes to come…I baked (and later savoured a huge chunk of whole wheat molasses bread with homemade crabapple jelly…delish!).

This bread recipe turned out exactly the way I wanted it to.  I don’t know if you know how rare that is?  To bake bread is to accept imperfection, but I think the universe was trying to soothe me.  The density, the magic bubbles in the bread…that thing that makes it taste just perfect warm with a little slap of butter.  The hollow hard knock on the underside of the bread and cutting into a soft pillow interior.  yum.

So I thought I’d share.  I have a gazillion old cookbooks on a teetering shelf because I can’t say no the stacks in the second hand stores or lining the tables of a garage sale.  So this recipe comes from an old purity flour cookbook that I got for a $0.25 and that I remember my mom used to bake from.

This recipe makes 4 loaves

Whole Wheat Molasses Bread

Scald 1 1/2 cups milk
Pour into a large bowl and add

1/2 cup molasses
2 tbsp salt
1/2 cup shortening

Stir until shortening melts
Add

2 1/4 cups water
cool to lukewarm

Meanwhile, dissolve
2 tsp sugar
in
1 cup lukewarm water
over this sprinkle,
2 envelopes active dry yeast
Let stand for 10 minutes.  Then stir briskly with a fork.  Add softened yeast to luke warm milk mixture.  Stir.

Beat in
6 cups whole wheat flour
beat vigorously by hand
Then gradually beat in with a spoon
6 to 6 1/2 all-purpose flour or white bread flour

I worked in the last of the flour while kneading as it became too hard to stir.  Flop the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes.  Shape into smooth ball and place in a greased bowl.  Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 1/4 hours).  Punch down and shape into 4 loaves.  Place in greased loaf pans and let rise again until doubled (about 1 hour)

Bake in preheated oven 400 F for 30 to 35 minutes.

Yogurt Tahini Dressing

Lighten Up!

Yogurt Tahini DressingThings have felt kinda heavy around here lately…figuratively.  But in an effort to lighten things up I decided to replenish the fridge supply of homemade and healthy salad dressings.  When I’m processing something…I cook.

I lost the recipe for one of our favourite salad dressings in our last move (or was it the move before that?  who knows…too many boxes…too many ‘keep’ vs ‘don’t keep’ piles).  So tonight I decided to sludge a few simple ingredients in a mason jar, stir em’ up and see if I could recreate our favourite “Yogurt Tahini Dressing”.  The experiment was a smashing success and I am now dipping into a sandwich oozing with this dressing.  Oh yes, did I mention…it works well on more than just salad.

What I love about this dressing is that it has a thick creamy consistency which makes it perfect for salad, but also suitable as a dip or topping.  We eat this deliciousness a lot.  It is the topping for a frequent meal around here:  black bean and sweet potato burritos (ask me if you’d like that recipe…so so so good!).  I also glop this generously on top of homemade falafels.  And occasionally it even makes it on top of an actual salad.

So here’s the recipe:

1 cup balkan style or thick plain yoghurt
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves of garlic smooshed
1 heaping tsp of cumin
pinches of salt and pepper

If you find that the consistency is too thick try adding an extra splash of lemon juice.  Voila!