Friday, December 31, 2010


I was entertaining over the holidays and wanted to dress up the side dish of carrots that I was serving.  This recipe can be easily halved or quartered to feed less people.  It calls for a bit of honey and I don't think you need to add all of the honey called for in the recipe.  An easy alternative to making this recipe and a bit less work is to just add a bit of orange marmalade ( 1 to 2 tsp) to one to two cups of cooked carrots before serving. My guests enjoyed these honey glazed carrots.

Carrots in the pot waiting to be cooked. 

Mixing up the orange and lemon juice, honey, starch and marmalade.

Heating up the mixture to a boil.

Baking in the oven for 25 minutes.
4 pounds of carrots, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp potato or corn starch
1 cup orange juice
1/2 to 3/4 cup liquid honey
1/4 cup orange marmalade or apricot jam
3 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Place the carrots in a pot filled with water to cover the carrots, bring to a boil and then simmer until tender.  Drain off the water but leave a little bit in the pot.  Dissolve potato/corn starch in the orange juice.  Add to the carrots.  Stir in the honey, marmalade and lemon juice.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and stir gently.  Remove the pot from the hot burner and transfer the mixture to a casserole dish.  Bake uncovered in a 350 degree F oven for 25 minutes or microwave on high for 10 minutes.  Serves 10 to 12.

Adapted from Noreen Gilletz's cookbook 'MealLeaniYumm!"

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Chicken is a very versatile ingredient and can be cooked in so many ways.  Baking plain chicken breasts with nothing added can get boring over time.  I liked this recipe as it includes a mushroom sauce that adds some texture and taste to the baked chicken.  I adapted this recipe as the original one called for breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in the flour mixture.  I don't always use an egg as part of the process to flour the meat.  I sometimes leave it out and the flour does still stick to the meat.  You can also just bake the chicken breasts and don't roll them in the flour mixture.  The addition of the mushroom sauce will dress up the taste.
I use this clay baking tray and one of its features is that the food browns on the top and bottom and you don't have to flip it over.

Whole wheat flour mixed with some herbs.

Coated chicken before being placed in the oven.

Mushrooms being sauteed.  I used brown mushroom so the sauce will be darker. 

Mushroom sauce simmering in the pan.

Mushroom sauce spooned over the baked chicken.
2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp dried herbs (your favorite, use same herb for the mushroom sauce)
salt and pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten

Mushroom Sauce
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or chopped
2 tbsp flour
2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth, heated up
1/2 tsp dried herbs (your favorite, use same herb for the chicken)

On a plate, combine the flour, herbs, salt and pepper.  Slice the chicken breast lengthwise so that you get 2 piece of meat from one breast.  Dip the meat into the egg and then roll the chicken on the plate with the flour.  Place onto a baking sheet or tray.  Bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes or until done. 

Mushroom sauce
In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and mushrooms.  Cook until tender. Sprinkle with the herbs and flour and cook for 2 minutes and stir so that the flour doesn't stick to the pan.  Add the heated broth to the pan and bring it a boil mixing constantly until it starts to thicken slightly.  Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.  Serve over the chicken.  Serves 2 to 3.

Adapted from Anne Lindsay "Lighthearted at Home".

Saturday, December 25, 2010


I sometimes buy more apples than what we can eat at a reasonable pace and eventually we have too many apples.  I also prefer harder apples and so the search is on to figure out what to do with apples that are losing their crunch appeal.  I had six apples that needed to be used, they were losing their crispness and I had recently purchased more apples for the mid morning or afternoon work snack.  An easy recipe to make is baked apple slices.  I think the trick is to thinly slice the apples, the thinner the better.  If you want to have a more drier baked apple slice, you will need to bake it for longer than the 15 minutes than I did for this recipe.  Mind you, some slices were starting to dry already.  I provided the directions for this recipe in the photos.

Thinly slice apples and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  You need a sharp knife to really thinly slice the apples. 

Sprinkle the apples with brown sugar and cinnamon and bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees F. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Over the past few weeks I have been seeing the local coyote while out walking the dog.  Most sightings are in the early morning while still dark.  The distance between the coyote and us has been acceptable and the coyote knew that I knew it was there.  The dog has not always seen it because he was focused elsewhere or the snowbanks obscured his view.

This past Sunday morning I went walking when it was light out.  There was light snow falling and it was looking like it was going to be a cloudy day.  I was coming up to the end of the path that I usually walk on and from there you walk on the road.  I was six minutes from home.  I saw the coyote and it was on the banks of a creek sniffing around.  The creek is very close to one of the turns in the path.  I did not have many escape options unless I wanted to go through deep snow to cut to the road.  It wouldn't have been pretty.  The coyote was not interested in the dog or me and was focused on other things.  Plus s/he was moving away to give us more space.  I stopped by the end of the path and close to the road to see what s/he was doing.  The coyote was hunting for mice and as I watched it, s/he got one.  The coyote jumped up as if s/he was pouncing on it and was successful as I watched it chew it and swallow the critter.  The coyote started to walk further along the edge of the creek so we left.  The dog had definitely seen the coyote and was watching it and he was interested in going over.  Of course, that was not going to happen.  I was also happy that I hadn't let Shane off the leash as I sometimes do on this stretch of the path.

Upon arriving at home and recounting this story to the DH, I decided I needed to see if I could get some photos.  The dog and I got into the car and quickly drove over to see it the coyote was still there.  I left the dog in the car, much to his dismay and went back on the path to see if I could find the coyote.  I waited around and finally saw it behind a city equipment building that is situated by the path.  I couldn't get a close photo as the coyote went behind the building.  By the time I could get some photos, it was walking and trotting along the creek system and was putting some distance between us.  It was definitely hunting rodents.  The following photos show some of the scenery and the coyote.  I darkened the photos so that you could see the coyote better.

The creek that runs close to the path. The coyote was along the top ridge.  

Another side shot of where I would have seen the coyote. 
The coyote is moving along.  To the right of the photo is someone walking with their dog along the creek system and would likely not have been aware of the coyote being there. 

Another distant shot. 

The coyote is getting close to a back country road but didn't cross and instead came back again. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Gingerbread or ginger based desserts, drinks, coffees and toppings seems to be a favourite flavour this time of year.  I like ginger and often have some candied ginger in the house to chew on when I get the desire to have a sweet piece of ginger.  I also have a jar of sushi ginger in the fridge as the restaurants or grocery stores never put enough ginger in with your take out sushi order.  I found this recipe on and decided that it would be a great dessert to make.  One of the ingredients is candied ginger and I would recommend adding it to the recipe as I believe it adds to the taste of the cake.  If you don't have candied ginger you can substitute fresh ginger.  This cake also tastes better with time and the flavours do intensify after a day.  You can serve this cake warm, with ice cream, some whip cream or just on its own.

Flour and other dry ingredients mixed together.

Wet ingredients before adding to the bowl with the flour mixture.

Ingredients blended in the mixing bowl.

Uncooked cake before going into the oven.

Baking is done and the cake is cooking on a rack. 

Ready for sampling.
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine
½ cup water
½ cup molasses, unsulphured
½ cup honey
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 tbsp candied ginger, minced
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½  tspbaking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 ½  tsp cinnamon
½  tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter and lightly flour an 9x9 baking dish. Fit a piece of parchment or baking paper inside and allow some to hang off the sides (this will make it easier to lift the cake out of the pan later). Lightly butter and flour the paper as well.

In a sauce pant over medium heat, place the butter, molasses, honey, water, and brown sugar. Stir to melt the butter. Do not allow to simmer or boil. Once the butter is melted take the pot off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Be sure to stir the mixture every so often as the sugar and fat will form skin on the surface.

Once room temperature, whisk the eggs, grated ginger, and candied ginger into the molasses mixture. Set aside.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour to the molasses mixture in three or four additions and whisk until it is combined.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes. Loosely place a piece of foil over the top and bake for another 15-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for ten minutes, then lift the cake out of the pan and continue to cool on the rack. You can serve this fresh out of the oven, but the flavor is much better if you give it a day to sit and allow the spices to intensify the cake.

Adapted from

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


One of the side dishes I like to cook when I have leftover rice is vegetable fried rice.  You can use a variety of vegetables based on preference.  I used onion, yellow pepper, celery and mushrooms.  The directions to make this rice dish is simple and I provided the directions with the photographs.  

Using a non-stick frying pan, on medium heat, add 1 tbsp of oil and saute one onion, five to six chopped mushrooms, half a chopped pepper and one chopped celery stick in. Cook for five minutes.

Use three to four cups of cooked rice. I used brown rice.

Add the rice to the frying pan, reduce the heat to low and cook until the rice starts to brown.

The vegetable rice is ready to eat. I serve with tamari or soya sauce. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Many years ago, a friend gave me this recipe.  It can be eaten as a side dish or form part of your main entree.  I like this casserole as barley is one of the ingredients.  You can have variations by adding different vegetables to the mixture.  I plan to have this casserole for lunches this week.  It will be a change from soup.

Vegetables and barley being saute in the frying pan.

Just out of the oven.
3 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup pearl or pot barley
3 cups chicken, beef or vegetable bouillon
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 tsp of your favourite dried herb
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions, garlic, celery and mushrooms in butter or oil on medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add barley and brown lightly. Add bouillon, almonds, herbs, salt and pepper and heat until bubbly.  Pour into a large casserole dish, cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.  Uncover and continue baking until liquid is absorbed.  This will take about 30 minutes.  Serves 5.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


One of my favorite soups (among many) is a split pea soup.  I found this recipe a number of years ago in a Bonnie Stern cookbook.  It is not a traditional Quebec style pea soup as it does not require a ham bone and it has more vegetables plus you add some spaghetti towards the end of cooking the soup.  Split peas don't require soaking.  One of the distinguishing ingredients in this recipe is the dill.  I freeze dill during the summer and then use it for soups over the winter months.  This recipe uses carrots, parsnips, potatoes, celery and onions.  If you don't have parsnips or don't like them, just add more carrots.

1 tbsp oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 parsnips, peeled and diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 cup dried split green peas, rinsed
8 to 9 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup broken spaghetti
2 tbsp fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large soup pot and saute onions, garlic and celery on medium heat for 5 minutes.  Do not brown.  Add carrots, parsnips and potatoes and saute for anther 5 minutes.  If the vegetables are sticking, add a bit of water to the pot.

Add peas and stock.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer, covered, for about an hour.  Thin with water if necessary.  Add the spaghetti and dill and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the pasta is tender.  Add water if the soup is too thick.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Adapted from Bonnie Stern "Simply Heartsmart Cooking".

Saturday, December 4, 2010


What I like about this chicken drumstick recipe is the combination of lemon juice, honey and Dijon mustard.   It is an easy recipe to make and the ingredients are those that you would routinely have in your fridge and cupboard.   It is also helpful to make extra and have some leftovers for lunches or suppers.  This recipe is a keeper.
Marinade mixed in a bowl.

Marinade poured over the chicken contained in a zip loc bag.  I let the meat marinade for about 7 hours. 

Chicken drumsticks ready for the table.

8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp tamari soy sauce (or 1 1/2 Tbsp regular soy sauce)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
20 chicken drumsticks (on the smaller side)

Place drumsticks in a large, non-reactive bowl, or leak-proof plastic bag.  Mix together garlic, honey, mustard, soy sauce, lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper for marinade. Pour marinade over chicken and make sure each piece is well coated. Refrigerate for at least one hour and up to one day.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken in a single layer on a wire rack set over an oven tray lined with aluminum foil. Bake 30-40 minutes (depending on the size of your chicken drumsticks) until well browned and cooked through..

Adapted from

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


When I think about it, birds are an important part of my and your environment.  During the daylight hours, you see birds in a variety of situations.  I  have included some recent pictures that I took this year of different birds.   
A Canada Goose letting me know that she/he didn't appreciate me getting any closer.

Partridge in the backyard.   We can get up to six or more birds coming in to feed on seed. 

Partridge hanging around the bird feeder.

One of the birds keeping watch.

At football games I always hope there is a flyover pass by the airforce jets following the national anthem. I feel quite patriotic when a flyover occurs. At one game, there were no planes but instead there were Canada Geese doing the honours. It was quite something to see these geese flyover just as the national anthem was finishing being sung.

The geese flying over the football field following the national anthem. People who sit beside me noticed I was taking pictures of the birds and commented on how appropriate it was to see them when the national anthem was being sung.

Birds of a different kind.  These were trainer jets flying over the football field following the national anthem at one of the football games I attended.  Every game I go to, I hope that the jets will do a flyover but it is not a frequent occurrence.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I am sure the consumption of oatmeal increases during the winter months, especially in climates that see rain, snow, sleet and colder temperatures.  An easy way to have your oatmeal is to make these breakfast squares.  I will make this recipe on the weekend or during a week night and if I don't have time to dawdle in the morning and make oatmeal (not the quick kind) or need to leave for work earlier, the squares are a perfect way to eat your oatmeal.  I like to spread a bit of jam and/or almond butter on a square as part of my breakfast.
Unbaked oatmeal squares ready to be put in the oven.

Oatmeal squares after baking.

A cut square.


2 cups uncooked oatmeal
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup skim milk
2 eggs or ½ cup egg whites
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup splenda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.  Bake in a non-stick pan  8 inch square pan at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes.  Makes 12 to 14 squares.  You can also make this recipe using muffin tins and it makes 12 large muffins.  These squares need to be either refrigerated or frozen as they will mold if left on the counter or in your cupboard for a several days.  I will cut a number of squares and freeze them individually for future use.

Adapted from a modified weight watcher recipe.

Friday, November 26, 2010


I like eating turkey and not just at the holiday celebrations.  Buying turkey breasts is one way to eat turkey without cooking a whole bird.  Other cuts including ground turkey provides some variety.   The following recipe is easy to make and doesn't require unique ingredients.  I could have sliced the meat more thinly that what is shown in the photo here.  This recipe can be made with either turkey or chicken breasts.  If you like the taste of lemon, you will enjoy this dish.

1 lb turkey or chicken breasts
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp oregano
3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp butter

Thinly slice the turkey or chicken breasts.  Place in a shallow dish or a zip lock bag.  In a small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients except for the butter.  Pour the mixture over the turkey and ensure that the meat is coated.  Let stand for 5 minutes at room temperature.  Heat a large frying pan with the butter and saute the meat on medium heat for 10 minutes.  Serve with rice, couscous or quinoa.  Makes about 3 to 4 servings.

Recipe adapted from Anne Lindsay "Lighthearted at Home".

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


A number of years ago I received a Lions Clubs' cookbook entitled "Kitchen Traditions".   The book contains a large variety of recipes which seem easy to make and includes basic ingredients.  I have made this recipe for hamburger barley soup numerous times and always enjoy it.  I have made some modifications to the original recipe including using ground bison for the hamburger.

1 lb hamburger
1 clove of garlic, minced
6 cups water
1 large can of tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
1 to 2 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 potato, finely chopped
1/2 cup pearl barley
1/4 cup catsup
1 beef bouillon cube
1 tsp dried basil
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot brown the meat,  Drain off the fat.  Add the garlic, onions, carrots, celery and potato.  Saute for several minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients except for the salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and let simmer, covered, for two hours.  Season with salt and pepper and remove the bay leaf.  Makes 6 servings.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I am always looking for simple and easy recipes for salmon or steelhead trout.  I use salmon and steelhead trout interchangeably.  The gem for making this recipe came from a Anne Lindsay cookbook- Lighthearted at Home.  I changed the recipe as I didn't have all of the ingredients.  I used teriyaki sauce as I didn't have hoisin sauce in the fridge.  One product I do buy in jars is minced garlic and fresh minced ginger root.  Having these jars in the fridge makes cooking easier.

Basic ingredients - minced ginger, teriyaki sauce, red chili pepper jelly and sesame oil.

Ingredients are mixed in a bowl.

Steelhead trout fillets are placed on a cookie sheet covered with tin foil.

Mixture is spread over the fillets.

After baking and ready to eat.
2 large salmon or steelhead trout fillets
2 tbsp hoisin or teriyaki sauce
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp red chili pepper jelly

In a small bowl, mix the teriyaki, ginger, sesame oil and jelly.  Lay the fillets on a large cookie sheet that has been covered with a layer of tin foil.  I use tin foil to cover the cookie sheet for easier cleaning.  Spread the mixture over the fillets and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes.  Makes 4 to 5 servings.