Thursday, October 1, 2015


When cooking rice I usually make enough for several meals.  I had about two and a half cups of brown basmati cooked rice in a container in the fridge and decided to use most of it to make a meal for two people.  I made a healthy version of chinese style vegetable fried rice.  I used one and a half cups of the rice for this dish and froze the remaining cup in a freezer bag.  I will likely use it in the future to add to the weekly soups I make.  

In making this dish, I sautéed a variety of vegetables with the rice and included two eggs and a small amount of cashews for protein.  I didn't add any leftover cooked meat but that is an option to do.  The meal was good and both the DH and I enjoyed it.


2 tbsp oil

1 garlic clove, minced
6 to 8 baby carrots, chopped into small pieces
2 green onions, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
2 mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
1 cup cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
2 eggs, beaten in a small bowl
8 dry roasted cashews or almonds, chopped
1 to 2 tbsp low salt soy sauce

Heat a wok on medium high heat.  Before it gets too hot, add 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and carrots.  Saute for two minutes and add the onion and celery.  Using a wooden spoon move the vegetables around so that they don't stick to the bottom of the wok.  Add the mushrooms, cabbage and peas and saute for about four minutes.  Add the rice and mix it throughout the vegetable mixture.  

Make a well in the wok by pushing the vegetables and rice up the sides.   Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the bottom of the wok and add the beaten eggs.  Mix the eggs around the bottom of the wok to quickly cook them and then combine them with the vegetables and rice.  Add the cashews.  Add the soy sauce around the edges of the food and then mix it all together.  Serves 2 as the main meal.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


With having lots of ripe tomatoes to use, I thought I would make a soup using about six tomatoes along with cabbage, beans and vegetables.  I had bought a big green cabbage from the farmer's market which also needed to be eaten.  To add some flavour and variety to the soup, I decided to sauté several slices of bacon with the onions and garlic before adding the rest of the vegetables and stock.  I also had fresh basil and parsley so that was added to the soup.  I used dry northern beans but you can use canned or other white beans in the recipe.  I soaked the beans overnight to ease the cooking time.  My go to pot for making soups has been an electric pressure cooker and I cooked the soup on medium pressure for 25 minutes.  The soup turned out well and it will be great for lunches for the next number of days.


1 medium-large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
5 strips of uncooked bacon, chopped (optional)
2 tbsp oil (if not using bacon)
1 cup of dry white beans soaked overnight in water OR 1 can (19 ozs) of white beans
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
6 tomatoes, chopped
4 cups of cabbage, chopped
6 -7 cups of broth, vegetable or chicken
handful of each - fresh parsley and basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste


In a large soup pot or using an electric pressure cooker, sauté the onion and garlic with the bacon or oil on medium heat for 10 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients. If you need to add more broth because it looks thick you can.  The tomatoes will also add some liquid to the soup. If cooking on a stove top, increase the heat to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 hours if using dry beans. You can reduce in cooking time in half if using canned beans.   If using an electric pressure cooker, cook on medium pressure for 25 minutes if using dry beans or 15 minutes if using canned beans.  Makes 8 servings.

Monday, September 7, 2015


While doing the weekly shopping one weekend, I picked up a package of two fillets of wild salmon.   One of the fillets would have been ample but all of the packages had at least two fillets and I knew that there would be leftovers.  I grilled the fish on the barbecue and of course had leftovers.  I could have frozen one of the fillets before cooking it but I didn't think of it at the time.  With the leftovers, I decided to make a salmon vegetable chowder to have for a supper meal.  The soup is freezable and I could always freeze single portions for future lunches.  Adding a side salad and some toasted french baguette bread made a nice meal.

Chowder in the soup pot cooling off. 


2 tbsp oil
1 medium size onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium size carrots, chopped
2 medium size potatoes, diced
1/2 coloured pepper, diced
3 tbsp flour
4 cups of broth, chicken or vegetable
1 pound of cooked salmon, chopped into small pieces
1 cup milk
one handful of chopped herbs - parsley, dill
salt and pepper to taste


Heat the oil on medium high in a large soup pot.  Add the garlic and onion and reduce the heat to medium.  Saute for three to four minutes.  Add the celery, carrots, potatoes and pepper to the pot and continue to saute for about five minutes.  Reduce the temperature to low.  Add the flour and combine with the vegetables.  Add the salmon and the broth, increase the heat to high and reduce it to low once the chowder starts to boil.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add the herbs and milk.  Stir and finish off with pepper and salt to taste.  Serves 6. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015


I had a request this week to make peach pie from the DH.  With fresh peaches being available, it is hard to resist not making peach pie.  Instead of a standard 9 inch pie plate, I used a quiche baking dish.  I did this as the deep pie plates I usually use, are in the freezer holding other pies for future consumption. Depending on the juiciness of the peaches, you can get some liquid after you add the lemon juice.  The pie turned out fine as I combined flour and corn starch to thicken the peach mixture.  I also used Splenda instead of sugar in the recipe.  The pie was delicious and met all of our cravings.  


pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
1 egg, beaten
5 - 6 cups sliced peeled peaches
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp corn starch
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon  
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F).  Roll out the pie crust to create two crusts.  Place one crust on the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate.  Brush the pie crust with the beaten egg to keep the dough from becoming soggy later.

In a medium sized bowl, add the sliced peaches in a large and sprinkle with lemon juice and mix gently.  In a separate bowl mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour over the peaches, and mix gently.  Pour into the pie crust and dot with butter.  Cover with the second pie crust and press down on the edges using a fork dipped in egg.  Brush the remaining egg over the top crust.  Cut several slits in the top crust to vent steam.

Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees F and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes.  If the top crust is browning too fast, cover with aluminum foil about halfway through baking.  Cool before serving.

modified from

Sunday, August 9, 2015


A couple of weeks ago I saw that a friend on Facebook had a photo of soft pretzels that she had made that day.  They looked very good.  I decided to try making pretzels as I never had made them before.  They are not difficult to make but the recipe requires several steps as they are boiled before they are baked.  The shape of my pretzels are not perfect, they look more like a roll than a pretzel, but they tasted really good.  This is a recipe that I will be making again.  The DH quite enjoyed them.  I did freeze about half of them for future eating.

Rolled into pretzels and getting ready to put into a pot of boiling water.

Ready for sampling.


1 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar
2 cups warm water
1 cup flour
1 tbsp salt
4 cups of flour
1 egg, beaten in a small cup with 1 tbsp water (egg wash)

small roasting pan filled half way with water
1 tbsp baking soda


Into a medium size bowl or a food processor/mix master bowl, add the yeast, sugar and 2 cups of water.  Gently mix the ingredients and then let it rest for a few minutes until the yeast is foamy.  Add the one cup of flour and using a mix spoon or a dough hook, mix the flour into the water yeast mixture.  Add the rest of the flour and the salt, mix the ingredients and either knead by hand on a smooth surface or use the dough hook and knead for about 4 to 5 minutes.  Oil a medium size bowl and place the dough into the bowl.  Roll the dough around until it is covered with the oil.  Cover, place the bowl out of the draft, and let it rise for about an hour.

Gently punch the dough down and knead for a minute.  Divide the dough up into sixteen pieces and roll out each piece into a 14 inch length rope.  Make the rope into a U shape and cross the ends over each other and press the ends into the bottom part of the U so it looks like a pretzel.  Place each pretzel onto an oiled cookie sheet or a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.  

Add the baking soda to the roasting pan and boil the water in the roaster to a rolling boil on top of the stove.  You need to use a roasting pan that can sit on a heat element on top of the stove.  Using a flat slotted spoon, add a few of the pretzels at a time to the roasting pan and let the pretzels boil for 30 seconds.  Remove each pretzel using the slotted spoon back to the cookie sheet.

Once all of the pretzels have been boiled, brush each pretzel with the egg wash and sprinkle with salt.  Place the cookie sheets into a preheated oven at 450 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  Makes 16 pretzels.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


With more green and yellow beans being produced in the garden, it was time to do some picking.  Previously I had picked about 15 cups of beans and blanched 12 of these cups to freeze for future meals.  After picking a few pounds of beans today I had to give some thought to what I would do with these beans.  I had seen recipes in the July/August Nutrition Action Health newsletter of which one combines potatoes and green beans.  This was a good option for using garden beans.  The recipe turned out well.  I like to mix the oil vinegar dressing with the potatoes and beans while the vegetables are warm.  The dressing seems to stick to the warm potatoes and beans.  I prefer this recipe to one that is cream based.  For the mustard in the dressing I used a dill mustard.  The addition of dill to add to the flavour was a good choice.


1 pound of potatoes, cut into small cubes

1 pound of green and yellow beans, cut into small pieces
1 tbsp mustard, grainy or flavoured preferred
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste


In a medium to large pot bring potatoes cover with cold water to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and gently boil them with the lid partly off for ten minutes until also tender. Add the beans, turn the temperature up to get the mixture to a gentle boil and then reduce the heat to medium.  Cook for four to five minutes.  Drain in a colander.  Pour some cold water over the beans and potatoes to partly cool them down.  Set aside for a few minutes.

In a medium size serving bowl, mix the mustard, oil, vinegar and salt and pepper.  Add the potatoes and beans and combine so that the vegetables are coated with the dressing.  Serves 5 to 6.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


With cherries still on the trees in the backyard, I decided to try a new dessert recipe.  A clafoutis is of French origin and originates from the Limousin region of France.  It is a baked dessert that traditionally uses black cherries that are not pitted.  The cherries are placed on the bottom of a baking dish and the flan like batter is poured over.  A final dusting of sugar is sprinkled over the batter before baking.  I like to pit the cherries before baking with them and did so with this recipe.

The batter is based on a crepe batter and has more eggs and less flour than a cake batter.  Other fruit besides cherries could be used.   I was in a hurry making this recipe and I forgot to add the milk.  It still tasted good.  Since I used a heaping 4 cups of pitted sour cherries, I added another egg and a bit more flour.   Instead of sugar I used splenda.  I baked the dessert in the oven using the convection option so I baked it for 40 minutes and I reduced the oven temperature to 350 degrees F for the last five minutes.  The DH thought this clafoutis was delicious even without the milk in the batter. 

Ready to go into the oven.  I sprinkled some splenda on top of the batter before put the dish in the oven.

Just out of the oven.  You can see the white specks from the splenda on top of the cooked batter.  
Cherry Clafoutis


1 ¼ pounds (about 4 cups pitted) sweet cherries
3 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/3 cup whole or lowfat milk

Softened butter, for greasing the baking dish.


Preheat the oven to 375ºF.   Smear a 2-quart shallow baking dish liberally with butter.   Lay the cherries in the bottom of the baking dish.

In a standard blender, or using an immersion blender in a bowl or a mixmaster, mix the eggs, flour, vanilla and almond extracts, ½ cup sugar, and milk together until smooth.

Pour the batter over the cherries and sprinkle the fruit and batter with the 3 tablespoons of sugar.  Bake the clafoutis until the batter is just set for about 45 minutes.

Serve warm or cold.  Makes eight servings.

Recipe adapted from

Sunday, July 19, 2015


This past weekend I read a commentary by Rob Walker in the New York Times ("my digital cemetery") about all of the digital contacts he has acquired over the years.  His list of over 2700 contacts stretches over two decades including those recorded on his first palm pilot.  His contact list runs the gamut from work to personal to home repairs.  He has not edited his contact list over the years and he is not in communication with all of these 2700 people.  Some contacts have moved on, there is no longer any more need for a connection to this contact, the person has died, residences and geographic locations have changed or numbers have simply changed.  He did focus on his commentary about keeping the contact information for friends who have passed away.

His commentary got me thinking about my own experiences.   I have some old address books that includes information on people that I have not had contact with in years.  I even carry around a slim address book in my purse that lists telephone numbers and addresses for people that I have lost communication with, whose ties to me no longer exist for a variety of reasons.  I have not updated this address book by erasing these written names and their coordinates.  This book dates back to before I had a phone or a computer with an address app.  When necessary, I add names to the written address book as required.  And at home, I still have a traditional address book with alphabetical tabs that includes old and new home addresses and phone numbers that I use when sending out greeting cards during the course of the year.  

There are also names with contact information of friends and family who have passed away in my written and my electronic address books.  I see these names with their cell numbers and email addresses as I scan my books for other contacts.  I simply can't erase their contact information.  At the start of this calendar year, two friends of mine passed away within a short time span to each other.   I have all of their contact information on my various electronic tools.  I know their cell numbers and email addresses are not connected anymore but it doesn't matter.  Having their contact logistics creates a feeling for me that they are still part of my everyday life.  I recently had to change my cell phone and I was worried about losing the text messages with the dates and time of day from my girlfriend who passed away in January.  With assistance from the IT support person, we transferred this data to my new phone.  

I thought I may be a bit quirky wanting to keep all of the contact information from friends who have passed away but in Rob Walker's commentary he also talks about this very issue.  He gives examples of other people who have kept their contacts lists intact with logistics of people who have passed away.  We all want to keep traces of people who we have loved and admired in our lives.  Now if I can only figure out a way to send text messages and emails to heaven cyberspace.

Sunday, July 12, 2015


As soon as the DH saw the full page of recipes in the newspaper for one bowl cake recipes, his heart was set on having one of these for dessert on the weekend.  There were four different recipes but he settled on the blueberry crumb cake.  This is a crumb cake that has a lot of crumbs, it is not just a smattering of crumbs.  There is more flour in the crumb layer than the cake layer.  The crumb layer also has a cup of melted butter which made me first gulp.  I was already calculating the calories in my head.  I compromised by using Splenda instead of sugar in the cake and batter layers.  I didn't have unsweetened shredded coconut so I used sweetened coconut flakes.  I used 9" X 11" pan which worked out fine.  The crumb cake was of course delicious and I am sure I will be making the other three recipes over the next few months.

First layer done, blueberries scattered over the cake batter.

Crumb batter placed over the cake layer and now ready for baking.

Ready for sampling.


Cake Layer:

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp oil
1 large egg at room temperature
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
5 tbsp blueberry, blackberry or current jam or spread
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Crumb Topping:

2 3/4 cps flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp pur vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tbsp melted butter


Line a 9" X 9" pan with parchment paper that is butter or oiled.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Using parchment paper makes it easier to get the cake out of the pan.

Making the cake layer:
Into a medium to large size bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Combine well.  Add the oil, egg, vanilla and milk to the bowl and mix well.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Use a spatula to scape down the sides of the bowl to get any batter clinging to the sides and add to the pan.  Drop each tablespoon of the blueberry jam over the top of the cake batter and swirl it into the batter using a table knife.  Scatter the blueberries over the top of the batter.

Making the crumb topping:
Use the same bowl that the batter was mixed in.  Combine the flour, brown sugar, coconut, cinnamon and salt.  Add the vanilla and melter butter and mix well using a wooden spoon.  The mixture should appear like climbs.  Scatter the crumbs of the batter and make sure that the batter is completely covered.  You don't need to press down on the crumbs.

Bake for 35-40 minutes.  The centre should be firm. Place on a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Makes 9 to 12 squares depending on how large you cut the squares.   

Adapted from Karen Barnaby, The Vancouver Sun.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


I have been thinking of the ancient grain farro recently and wanting to cook up a batch for different uses.  Using my rice cooker, which can be used for other things besides rice, I cooked two cups of farro which made about four cups of cooked grain.  Farro has a wonderful nutty taste to it and I have written about farro in a previous post einkorn berry salad.

Besides adding farro to salads, I will use it over the next few days as an alternate to rice and as a cereal for breakfast.  I think farro would be a great in the morning instead of oatmeal as a cold muesli with berries and yogurt.

Instead of making one big bowl of salad for supper to serve two people, I like to make individual salad bowls.  The ingredients listed here are for one individual bowl of salad and you can just multiply the amounts if making for a number of people.   I used grapefruit flavour balsamic vinegar which has a nice taste in a vegetable salad.  You can add other vegetables to the salad than those listed in the recipe.

Cooked farro in a bowl

Vegetables piled over the farro.

Dressing has been added and all of the ingredients are combined.

1/2 cup cooked farro
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1/4 coloured pepper, chopped
small chunk of cucumber, coarsely diced
1/2 cooked beet, coarsely diced
1/4 avocado, chopped


1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, flavoured
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp maple or agave syrup

Using a medium size soup/salad bowl, add the farro to the bowl.  Separate the kernels with a fork.  Add the vegetables.  Mix the dressing and pour over the salad. Combine well and serve.