Sunday, October 31, 2010


When I have leftover chicken or turkey, one recipe I consider making is soup.  After two meals of leftover chicken or turkey, I am looking to use the leftovers in another way.  You can use a variety of vegetables in this soup and I had some bok choy in the vegetable crisper in the fridge so I thought that adding it to the soup would be a good addition.   I also usually have a big bag of mixed vegetables in the freezer that I buy from Costco which gets used in a variety of ways including soup.  Lastly, wild rice is a great to this soup.
2 tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 stalks of celery, diced
3 medium sized carrots, thinly sliced
2 cups of mixed vegetables - broccoli, cauliflower, green beans
several stalks of bok choy (optional)
1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
8 to 10 cups of water
4 tsp chicken bouillon powder
8 ounces cooked chicken or turkey, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat the oil on medium heat and saute the onions and garlic for about four minutes.  Add the celery and carrots and continuing to saute on medium low heat for another 4 minutes.  Add all of the remaining ingredients except the bok choy and bring to a boil.  Once the soup starts to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer for about 30 minutes.  Add the bok choy and continue to cook for another 30 minutes.  Adjust seasonings.  Makes a large pot of soup.

Friday, October 29, 2010


I have written before about Mark Bittman.  He is a food writer and writes regular columns for The New York Times.   This Food Matters Cookbook contains more than 500 recipes and covers the full range from appetizers to desserts.  Each section contains about a page or so of introduction to the specific grouping of recipes and Mark Bittman gives his perspective on the topic at hand.   What is different about this cookbook is that he doesn't have a separate section on meat but rather incorporates different meat recipes into the other sections.  For example, thai beef salad and plum chicken salad are in the section on salads and dressings.

Mark Bittman wrote this cookbook as a companion to his book Food Matters.  This respective book was written to explain his experience in eating more plants and fewer animal products and processed food.  By the time that Mark Bittman had written Food Matters, he had been writing about food for almost 30 years and he was starting to have health problems.  He decided to eat more sanely and follows five basic principles: eat fewer animal products than average; eat all the plants you can manage; make legumes and whole grains part of your life; avoid processed foods; and, everything else is a treat and you can have treats daily. 

I haven't had this cookbook long enough to read every page and I am going to enjoy reading/browsing over each recipe and deciding which ones I plan to make.  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


With beets to use from the garden, I am always interested in finding new recipes.  I found this recipe in the new cookbook by Mark Bittman, "The Food Matters Cookbook".  I will profile this cookbook in an upcoming column.  This recipe is easy to make, the ingredient list is short and it tastes good.  You could add a few other vegetables to it  if desired.   The original recipe called for chopped peanuts but I did not add that ingredient.

To make the salad, you need to first cook the beets.  The recipe calls for the beets to be baked in the oven, either wrapped in tin foil, on a baking sheet or in a covered casserole dish.  I wrapped several of them together in tin foil as it looked like the least amount of clean-up.  I also try to wear dish gloves when peeling beets so that my hands don't become stained.  I am thinking of planting yellow beets next year to avoid the red stain.

After the beets are cooked and peeled, they are sliced/cubed into a bowl.

Three green onions are chopped and added to the beets.

The finished dish, waiting to be served.
2 pounds of beets
3 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
black pepper

Clean the beets, trim the ends and bake in a 375 degree F oven for 60 to 75 minutes.  If beets are really big, I cut them in half.  To bake them you have several options.  Wrap them in tin foil (can do a few in one foil pouch), put them on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan.  To test the beets and see if they are cooked, pierce them with a knife.  There should be little resistance.  Remove the beets from the oven and let cool.

Once the beets are cool enough to handle, peel off their skins and cut them into wedges or cubes and put them into a bowl.  Add the green onions.  To make the vinaigrette, combine the oils, vinegar, soy sauce and pepper in a small bowl or cup.  Whisk the dressing and then pour over the beets.  Mix well.  Serve at room temperature.  Makes about 4 to 5 servings.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


We recently made a purchase that is an important appliance in most homes.  Of course the picture tells all and making you guess is not necessary.  The machines are not the colour of white and in fact are slate gray.  This model came in either slate gray or red.  Red is one of my favourite colours but I thought best to go with gray as it would match the colour of the flooring and walls.  I never thought I would need to think about matching the colour of a washing machine to other colours in the room.

This is not the first set of front end loaders to grace the laundry room.  Prior to this new gleaming sophisticated looking machinery, we had a Maytag washer and dryer.  They were more of the first generation of front end loading machines and did not have the bells and whistles of this new pair.  When I bought the Maytag set, the front doors of the machines at that time were solid and they did not make them with a window so that you could watch your laundry being cleaned or dried.  These machines are not made by Maytag but are made by Samsung.  The decision made to buy this make was based on data gleamed from various websites and the retail bible - Consumer Report.

The window feature on the front door is quite enthralling.  When I washed the first load, I took a big flashlight and shined it into the window so that I could peer into the machine and watch what was happening.  How much water is really used; did I use enough soap;  does the drum roll all the time or stop periodically; and, how hard does the machine spin the  clothes?  Besides myself watching the washing activity, I had the DH and the dog by my side, just as curious as me peering into the machine.   The dog wants to  be involved with all of the activity.  With subsequent loads being done, I still grabbed the flashlight so that I can watch the action going on in the washing machine.

So does a new washing machine make a girl happy?  You bet it does!  Washing clothes has never been this much fun.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I recently came across this recipe in a chatelaine magazine and decided to make it.  What I liked about this recipe is that it includes oats, cranberries, almonds and cocoa.  Also each cookie is 84 calories.  The cookies I made probably have fewer calories than this as I used splenda instead of sugar and milk instead of the honey.  I also used dark cocoa.  With my changes, the cookies are not sweet, maybe a bit drier.  The honey probably helps to bind them as honey is sticky and also makes them sweeter.  The next time I make them I will include the honey.  It is an easy recipe to make.  The cookies don't rise very much and spread out while baking so you don't have to worry about spreading each spoonful of dough on the baking sheet miles apart from each other.   I plan on freezing these cookies and having a cookie in the evenings when I have a chocolate craving and I am cruising the cupboards for something!

Mixing the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, the eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla and milk or honey are mixed.
What the dough looks like before it is spooned out on baking sheets.
Ready to go into the oven.
The finished product - almond, chocolate and cranberry cookies.

Almond, Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies


¾ cup oil
½ cup brown sugar or splenda
¼ cup milk, soya or almond milk OR honey
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 cups rolled oats
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup almonds, chopped


In a medium size bowl, mix the oil, sugar, honey, eggs and vanilla.  In another bowl, stir the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa until combined.  Add this to the sugar and egg mixture.  Mix.  Add the oats, cranberries and almonds.  Stir until combined.  Using a tablespoon, spoon the dough onto a cookie sheet.  Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes.  Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


When I cook a lamb roast, there are usually leftovers.  Instead of just heating the leftover meat for supper the following day, I like to make different dishes using the leftover meat.  Another challenge is that sometimes you don't have a lot of leftover meat that can feed two or three people sufficiently without adding something to it to make it appear like there is more meat.   The following recipe can be used for any leftover meat you might have from cooking a roast.  I used lamb in this recipe.  There is curry powder added to the ingredients but the dish does not have a strong curry taste so you might want to consider adding more curry.
Onions, celery and pepper cooking in the frying pan.
Chopped apple and raisins to be added to the pan. 
All the ingredients have been added except for the lamb.
The lamb has been added.
Curried lamb served over brown basmati rice.

2 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 red/yellow pepper, chopped
1 tsp curry
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp raisins
1 apple, chopped
cooked lamb, chicken, beef or pork, cubed
salt and pepper to taste

In a non-stick frying pan, heat the oil on medium heat and saute the onion, garlic and celery for 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the pepper and continue to cook for another few minutes.  Add the curry and cumin to the pan and mix well.   Add the raisins and apple and cook for about five minutes on low heat.  Add the cubed meat, cover the pan and continue to cook for several minutes.  If the food is sticking to the pan while cooking, add a bit of water.   Season with salt and pepper.  Depending on the amount of meat you add, serves 2 to 3 people.

Friday, October 15, 2010


When I came across this picture (shown below) in a pet store, it made me laugh.  It reminded me of the typical male dog that needs to pee and mark his territory a zillion times while out for a morning walk.  It is a bit like my dog who has to stop at his favourite lamp posts, bushes, large landscape rocks and park garbage containers and leave his business card.  Marking an item with pee is about marking one's territory and also advising the next dog who comes by, that he was here.   

When dogs sniff another dog's pee/markings, they can determine the sex of the individual, age, whether this other dog is healthy and whether the other dog is female and in season.   You certainly can't pick up that kind of information from my business cards that I give out!

While travelling this past winter, I happened to see this statue by a wonderful water and fountain display located between the parking lot and the entrance of a higher end restaurant.  I actually couldn't believe what I was seeing.  Whoever built this fountain display had a sense of humour.  
There have been some challenging moments while walking the dog.   I am talking about the dog having the luxury of peeing wherever he wants, how often he wants and for how long he wants.  It does get difficult if you decide you have to go to the bathroom after watching him leaving his business card repeatedly and the urge is there.  The urge is likely worse when it is minus 20 or 25 below, you are bundled up and you are getting cold.   Dealing with all of those clothes, zippers and difficult buttons makes it challenging.

Well, it is getting late and I must let the dog out so that he can mark his territory.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Barley is one of my favorite ingredients to use in soups.   Many of the soup recipes featured in my blog include barley.  Barley is a high fiber, complex carbohydrate.  I use pearl barley in soups as it cooks faster than regular barley.  Pearl barley is hulled barley with the bran removed.  My choice to make barley and mushroom soup was thought of while shopping at Costco, I bought a large package of sliced mushrooms thinking that I would use a portion of the package for making soup.  I kept this recipe simple in terms of adding additional vegetables.  You can also add some chopped broccoli, zucchini or cauliflower if you want to make this soup more of a vegetable soup.


2 tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
8 cups of chicken, beef or vegetable broth or water
2 medium size potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 medium size carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup pearl barley
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
fresh ground pepper
salt to taste
2 tbsp fresh parsley
2 tbsp fresh dill or 1 tsp dried dill

Heat oil on medium heat in a large pot.  Add onions, celery and garlic and saute for about 4 minutes until softened.  Add the mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes on medium low heat.  Add the remaining ingredients except for the salt, parsley and dill.  Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer, covered with the lid for about an hour. If the soup is too thick, add a bit of water.  Add the salt, parsley and dill.  Makes about 8 to 10 servings.

Monday, October 11, 2010


The other day while driving home, I came upon a Merlin hawk on the street where I live.   Based on colouring in one of the bird books I have, I think the bird was a 'she'.  She was actually on the road hovering around a morning dove that she must have killed and dropped on the road.  I saw her on the road and slowed down.  I didn't want to hit her or damage the dove.  She flew off and I continued down the street to my house.  Once home, I decided to get my camera and see if she was still down the street.  I walked down the street and she was perched on a street sign.  I got close to her and started to take pictures.  I looked at the dove on the street and it was definitely dead.  It had a puncture wound by its neck.  We feed birds in the backyard and I wondered if this dove was one of the family of doves that spend time in the backyard.  When any Merlin is flying around and making their "kikikiki"shrill chirp, the sparrows and other birds in the neighbourhood become quiet and disappear.  

The Merlin (Falco columbarius) is a small type of falcon from the Northern Hemisphere.  It is sometimes also called a pigeon hawk.  The Merlin is 24–33 cm (9.5–13 in) long with a 50–67 cm (20–26 in) wingspan.  Compared to other small falcons, it is more robust and heavily built.  Males average about 165 g (5.8 oz) and females are typically about 230 g (8 oz).  

After taking a number of pictures, I left and walked back home.  The dog was waiting by the front door and was glad to see me.  He knew I left the house without him!!  In his mind, that is not acceptable.  Since it was such a beautiful day, making supper could wait so we went for a walk.   We walked past where the Merlin had been perched on the street sign.  Both the Merlin and her supper were gone.

Friday, October 8, 2010


It is good to vary the meat that you eat.  When making burgers, I go beyond ground beef and will use ground turkey, chicken, bison or lamb.   The recipe that I made here used ground turkey but any kind of ground meat would work.  The recipe is based on one profiled in Anne Lindsay's cookbook - Lighthearted at Home.  I made several changes and the recipe includes my changes.  I also like to fully cook ground meat and I don't eat ground meat that is still pink.  For the yogurt sauce, I used non-fat greek style plain yogurt.  The yogurt sauce does add flavour to the burgers and I do like the addition of chopped tomatoes.  Enjoy!!

Turkey burgers cooking in the frying pan.
Yogurt sauce mixed in a small bowl.  You can see the chunks of tomatoes.
Yogurt sauce is spooned over the turkey burger.

1 lb ground turkey or chicken
1 small onion finely chopped or 1 shallot chopped
1 egg white
2 tbsp fresh bread crumbs or cornmeal
1 clove of garlic minced
dash of Worcestershire sauce

Yogurt Sauce:
1/3 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp diced tomatoes
½ tsp ground dried coriander
¼ tsp prepared horseradish (see next ingredient)
¼ tsp Dijon mustard OR ½ tsp horseradish Dijon mustard


In a mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, onion, egg white, bread crumbs, garlic and Worcestershire sauce.  Form into about 5 or 6 patties.  Cook patties (frying pan, bbq, or broil) until well done.  In a separate small bowl, combine all of the ingredients listed for the yogurt sauce.   Mix well.

Serve the sauce spread over the burgers.  The burgers can be eaten on their own, or you can serve the burgers in buns, on slices of French bread or in a pita.  You can add sliced tomatoes and lettuce to the buns, bread or pita.  Serves 3 to 4 people depending on appetites.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Both lentils and quinoa are very versatile ingredients.  There are so many ways to use lentils in recipes. Besides using quinoa as a side dish to your main dish, you can use quinoa in place of oatmeal as a hot cereal in the morning.  I have made recipes before using quinoa and lentils but I haven't combined the two in the same recipe.  This recipe does just that and tastes great.  It has a nutty flavour due to both the quinoa and almonds and is filling.  I came across this recipe in the Alive Magazine and made some small changes.
Vegetables cooking in the frying pan.
All the ingredients are mixed in a large bowl.
The mixture is pressed into a loaf pan and then baked.
Golden brown after baking.   


¾ cup brown/green lentils
2 ½ cups water
½ cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, thinly chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 red pepper, chopped
2 tsp curry powder
½ cup almonds, pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
¾ cup quick cooking oats
1 cup fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
 salt and pepper to taste


In a medium saucepan, bring the lentils and 2 ½ cups water to a boil.  Reduce to simmer, covered and cook for about 25 minutes until the lenders are tender.  Drain any excess water from the lentils.

In a separate small pan, bring the quinoa and 1 cup water to boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 10 minutes until all of the water is absorbed.

In a frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onions, celery, carrot and mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are softened.  Add the red pepper and curry and continue to cook for about 4 minutes.

In a large bowl, add the eggs, oatmeal, lentils, quinoa, vegetables, nuts, parsley and salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Pour the mixture into a loaf pan and press down until even.  Place in a 350 degree F oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until firm and golden brown.  Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.  Serves 4 people as an entre.  Serve with salsa.

Adapted from Alive Magazine, October 2010

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Instead of just mashing potatoes and serving them as a side dish with supper, there are a variety of vegetables you can cook together and mash.  I like the combination of white potato, sweet potato, carrot and parsnip.  The taste of these vegetables together is quite good and they are all root vegetables.  You could also add squash to this mixture of vegetables.  Depending on the potato that I am using - for example yukon gold, red potato or a baking potato, I don't always peel the potato.  If I am using a yukon gold or a red potato, I tend to not peel them when making mashed potatoes or even when making oven baked french fries.  I find that these kind of potatoes are thinly skinned and the added fiber is welcomed.


1 large potato (at least 8 to 10 ounces), peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium sized sweet potato (at least 8 to 10 ounces), peeled and cut into chunks
2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1/8 cup chicken stock or milk
3 tbsp butter or olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
handful of chives, cut into small pieces and/or parsley chopped (optional)


Add the vegetables to a medium sized pot of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce to medium low heat after it boils and cook until the vegetables are tender.  Drain water from the pot, add the chicken stock or milk and butter and mash the vegetables in the pot.  If the mixture is too dry, add more liquid.  Some people prefer a coarse mash while others want a finer, smoother texture.  Salt and pepper to taste.   Put into a serving dish and sprinkle chives and or parsley on top.  Serves 4 people.