Saturday, January 29, 2011


I can't believe I haven't shared this recipe for granola with you yet.  I've been making this recipe for many, many years, and I never seem to get tired of it.  I mean, it is a good idea to take a break from eating it, I like to rotate what I eat for breakfast.  Most granola recipes only use sweeteners and oils for wetting agents, which I find result in a granola that gets kind of burnt and doesn't stick together in chunks at all.  This one uses water or fruit juice to moisten the oats which results in the odd crunchy cluster.  This may sound strange, but one of my favorite ways of eating this cereal is with rice milk poured all over it, grated apple and blueberries.  I let it sit for about an hour, which makes it all nice and soft.  It is also great in yogurt with berries and apple as well.

(Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall)

8 cups organic rolled oats (I like to use mostly quick oats with some larger flakes thrown into the mix)
1 cup organic raw sunflower seeds
1 ½ cups organic almonds, chopped
1 cup organic hemp nuts
1 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut
¼ cup organic flax seeds
1 tsp organic cinnamon, ground

½ cup organic vegetable oil
1 cup local maple syrup
½ cup organic brown rice syrup
2 cups water or organic apple juice/cider
Optional: 1 tsp pure organic vanilla exract
½ tsp pure organic almond extract

Optional additions once the cereal is cooked:  organic raisins, cranberries, goji berries, dried apple pieces

Method:  Preheat oven to 300*.  Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.   Stir the wet ingredients into the dry.  Spread cereal onto two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven until cereal begins to brown lightly, making sure to stir every 15 minutes or so.  It should take about an hour.  Store in an airtight container, preferably in the refrigerator.


To be honest, I haven't been much inspired to make supper this last leg of my pregnancy journey.  Estimated date of arrival of the new babe is in six days and I find myself lugging myself into the kitchen each night trying to figure out what to make.  Thank goodness my mom is arriving today, I look forward to passing the wooden spoon over to her for a little while.  Hope she doesn't mind!  
     Soup seems to be making an appearance on our menu more often than not these days.  I suppose that might have something to do with me trying to use up what ingredients we already have in the house, coupled with my insistence on only buying what is seasonal.  So we have been eating lots of squash, kale, carrots, and other wintry goods, which just so happen to make good soup too.  We eat a lot of lentil soup around here, but I wasn't much interested in a tomato based soup (all our stews and soups tend to have tomato in them) so opted for a curried lentil variety.  I love eating soups the next day for lunch too.
I had a great photo of this soup on file, but lost a bunch of my photos yesterday when I was trying to clean up my files..........


2 cup organic green lentils
1 cup organic red lentils
1 Tbsp organic coconut oil
1 tsp organic black mustard seeds
1 large organic onion, diced
2 organic bay leaves
3 clove organic garlic, minced
3 Tbsp fresh organic ginger, minced
1 tsp organic cumin, ground
2 tsp organic coriander, ground
1 tsp organic paprika, ground
1/2 tsp organic turmeric, ground
2 organic carrots, chopped
5 leaves organic kale, chopped
2 cups organic butternut squash, cut into small cubes
1 organic rutabaga, cut into small cubes
8-10 cups organic chicken or vegetable stock or water
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Method:  If possible, allow lentils to soak in water overnight with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.  Drain and rinse.  Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onions for a couple of minutes and then add the mustard seeds.  When they pop, add the carrots, squash, rutabaga, ginger, and remaining spices and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, lentils and stock.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat and cook partially covered until the lentils are soft.  Stir in the kale, salt and pepper to taste, and cook until soft, about 10-15 minutes.  

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Today was a perfect bread baking day.  An overcast January morning, lots of rain, and a big baby belly that just wants to cozy up by the fire and knit.  Although I've been subsisting on lots of delicious homemade sourdough bread the past few months, I often make the rest of the family a few loaves of delicious yeast breads to have on hand in the freezer.  Every now and then I like to make this rich Oatmeal Bread instead of our regular whole wheat loaf.  The gooey molasses adds a deep dark hue to this oatmeal studded bread.  Kind of chewy, and deeply delicious.  The perfect snack on a winter day, smothered in salty butter.  The best part of winter bread baking is setting the bread to rise by the fire while I rock my self into knitting heaven....


2 cups organic large flake oatmeal
2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup organic molasses
(1/2 cup coconut sugar - optional - this will make a sweet loaf)
1 Tbsp sea salt
1/2 cup organic butter
1/2 cup lukewarm water
4 tsp instant yeast
5-6 cups organic flour (I used mostly whole wheat with some unbleached white)

Method:  Pour the boiling water over the oats, stir, and then add the molasses (sugar), sea salt, and butter.  Let cool to lukewarm.  Meanwhile, dissolve the yeast in the warm water.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour, a few cups at a time, and then scrape the dough onto a well floured surface, sprinkle it with flour and knead it. Gather the dough together in your hands and push it away from you with your palms. Fold it in half towards you, then turn and turn and repeat pushing, folding, and turning, sprinkling flour on the dough to keep it from sticking, this may take up to a cupful more. Keep kneading for several minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
After kneading, put the dough in a large oiled bowl, and flip to coat both sides with oil. Cover the bowl with a pot lid, and place in a warm place (near a woodstove or in a gas oven that has a pilot light).  Let it rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled. Punch the dough down to remove air bubbles, then divide into 2 parts. Shape each into a loaf and place into a greased loaf pan. Cover each loaf with a large upturned mixing bowl and return to a warm place again to rise the second time. The loaves should double, about 1 hour. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes. When bread is golden brown on top and bottom and bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, it is done.

Friday, January 14, 2011


My husband and I are sharing a New Year's Resolution that involves making sure he eats out less when he's in town working.  So, for the past week he has been munching his way through a batch of my oatmeal scones for breakfast.  To keep things from going stale, I made him some morning glory muffins today for his morning snacks that are always in his truck on the way into town.  I like this recipe because it sneaks  carrots, apples, nuts and dried fruits into us, and our taste buds are happy about it.  If I know him, he will probably drench these little babies in molasses just like he does the scones........

(makes about 8 jumbo muffins or 16 small muffins)

3 cups organic whole wheat flour
2 tsp GMO and aluminum free baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp organic cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 organic eggs
3/4 cup local honey
2/3 cup organic whole milk yogurt
1/2 cup organic vegetable oil
2 cups organic carrots (or zucchini or both), shredded
1 cup organic apples, peeled and grated
1/2 cup organic raisins, cranberries, goji berries, or dried cherries
1/2 cup organic nuts or seeds
1/2 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut 

Method:  Grease or line muffin cups with paper.  Preheat oven to 350*.  In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt.  In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, honey, yogurt and oil.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.  Stir in the carrot, apple, dried fruit, coconut and nuts.  Mix until a thick batter forms.  Spoon into prepared muffins cups and bake about 20-25 minutes.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


     We've started a new family tradition in our house, and it began last night with the most delicious and fun fondue party.  I was so sure I already owned a fondue pot, but after looking everywhere in our cluttered basement, it was nowhere to be found.  Luckily without too much hassle a pretty decent pot was purchased, along with a smaller ceramic dessert fondue pot, and we were ready to roll!  I've only had fondue twice in my life, one year my mother made cheese fondue, and the other time our neighbour made the kind with hot oil.  Both times were very yummy, so I was excited to try it out for myself.  Fondue parties don't have to be too much work, but as you can probably see from this blog, I love to feed people and entertain so I made many of the accompaniments from scratch because it's fun for me.  The cheese fondue is made from Gruyere and Emmenthal cheeses melted with some white wine and thickened with cornstarch and lemon juice.  You can dip all kinds of things into this gooey and stringy delight, including the spread we had last night of crusty homemade bread, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, fingerling potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and strips of red and yellow peppers.  I was happy to have an opportunity to open up and share a jar of my homemade dill pickles to eat with the fondue, along with some mammoth garlic stuffed olives.  
     For dessert I baked a few yummies to dip into the chocolate fondue.  My favorite Maple Shortbread, Maple Almond Biscotti and the star of the night, mini Orange Vanilla Cakes.  We also feasted on a selection of dippable fruits including bananas, pears, clementine segments, and pineapple.  It was a real treat to buy these precious imported fruits for this special occasion.  This meal was so much fun I can't wait until next year to do it again (if I can wait that long!)
Serves 4 adults as a main course

9 cups grated Gruyere and Emmentaler cheeses, organic if available (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 1/2 cups dry local, organic white wine
1 organic clove garlic, sliced in half
2 Tbsp organic cornstarch
2 Tbsp organic lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1/4 tsp organic nutmeg, grated fresh
freshly ground black or white pepper
Optional accompaniments:  cubed bread, breadsticks, steamed small potatoe wedges, bell pepper strips, blanched broccoli and cauliflower, seared scallops, steamed shrimp, whole cherry tomatoes, olives, pickles, apple slices, pear slices

Method:  Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the garlic, then discard the cloves.  In a saucepan over medium-low heat, bring the wine to a bubble and then begin whisking in the cheese by the handful, until melted and combined.
     In a separate bowl, whisk the lemon juice with cornstarch until the starch is dissolved.  Stir this into the cheese, whisking until it is smooth and bubbling.  Season with pepper and nutmeg.  Transfer to the fondue pot and set over the flame.  Serve immediately.
Serves 5-6 as dessert

3/4  pound organic chocolate chips
1 cup organic whipping cream
Optional accompaniments:  strawberries, banana, pineapple, dried fruit, shortbread, cake, biscotti, orange segments, homemade marshmallows, cherries, mango, melon, apple, pear, candied ginger

Method:  Set a bowl over lightly simmering water.  Stir in the chocolate and cream, stirring occasionally until chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Transfer to the fondue pot set over a flame.  
Makes 5 mini loafs (2 1/2 cups batter)

3/4 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup organic unbleached white pastry flour
3/4 Tbsp aluminum and GMO free baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup organic vegetable oil (sunflower, safflower)
1/4 cup local maple syrup
1/4 cup organic brown rice syrup (or more maple)
3/4 cup organic whole milk
1 tsp pure organic vanilla extract
1Tbsp organic fresh orange juice
zest of 1 organic orange

Method:  Preheat oven to 350*.  Grease the pans with vegetable oil.  In a large bowl, sift in, then combine the dry ingredients, including the zest.  In a smaller bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together.  Add the wet to the dry, whisk gently until smooth.  Pour into the pans and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden.  Transfer pans to a rack and allow to cool before removing from pans.

 Makes about 12-15 cookies

1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour
1/2 cup organic unbleached flour
1/3 cup organic brown rice flour
1/4 cup local maple sugar
1/2 cup organic unsalted butter

Method:  Preheat oven to 350*.  Sift all dry ingredients into a bowl and rub in the butter. Roll into small balls, pressing down on them with your palm to flatten them a bit, placing on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350*for about 15 minutes or until just slightly golden.

1  cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup organic unbleached white pastry flour
1/2 Tbsp aluminum and GMO free baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup organic almond slivers
1/4 cup organic vegetable oil
1/3 cup local maple syrup
1/2 tsp pure organic vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pure organic almond extract

Method:  Preheat oven to 350*.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Sift and mix together the dry ingredients, then stir in the almonds.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  Stir the wet into the dry and then form into two logs, 2 1/2" in diameter.  Bake until golden around the edges, about 30 minutes.  Allow to cool and then slice into thin diagonal 3/4" slices.  Bake for another 15 minutes.