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.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


The origins of Shepherd's pie is British and is usually made with lamb.  The north american version is typically made with beef.  When I have leftover roast beef, Shepherd's pie is one recipe that I like to make.  The recipe is basically meat and vegetables baked with a mashed potato topping.  Instead of using leftover roast beef, you can cook a pound of ground beef and add it to the vegetable mixture.

Onions, celery and garlic cooking in the frying pan.

About 1 1/2 cups of frozen corn waiting to be added to the frying pan.

The vegetables cooking in the frying pan.

Chopped roast beef.

Vegetables and meat cooking in the frying pan.

Mashed potatoes being spread over the beef and vegetable mixture in the casserole dish.

Grated cheddar cheese added to the top of the potatoes.

Piping hot  - just out of the oven.

Shepherd's Pie

2 cups cooked, cubed roast beef
1 garlic clove, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 to 2 cups of vegetables - corn or peas, 
3 large peeled, quartered potatoes 
2 tbsp oil 
1/2 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice
shredded cheddar cheese

Boil potatoes until tender.  While the potatoes are cooking, heat oil in a large frying pan. 
Sauté onions, garlic and celery in the pan and cook on medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes.  Add carrots and continue cooking for 5 minutes.  Add cubed beef, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, corn or peas and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  

Once potatoes are cooked, mash them with some butter and milk.  Place the beef and vegetable mixture into a medium size casserole dish. Top with the mashed potatoes and spread the potatoes so that the meat and vegetable mixture is covered.  Add the grated cheese and bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 400 degrees F.  Serves 4. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010


In trying to follow some of the philosophy of Mark Bittman and consume more plant material, I decided to make baked beans using a slow-cooker.  Instead of bringing soup to work for lunches, I would bring baked beans. In Bittman's new recipe book that I recently profiled, I came across a recipe for oven baked beans that uses less sugar and bacon than the traditional boston baked beans recipes.  The recipe calls for the beans to be baked in the oven, but I decided to use my slow-cooker instead.  That way I could let them simmer for the day and not have to check them every hour.  You can use any white beans for this recipe and I used northern white beans.  It is a great recipe and I will be making it again.

Soaked beans are added to the slow-cooker.

Bacon ready for frying.

All of the ingredients being stirred in the slow-cooker.

Boston baked beans ready for eating!
8 ounces of sliced bacon
2 onions, chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste ( I used a small tin)
1/4 cup molasses
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 pound dried northern, navy or other white beans
salt and pepper to taste

Soak the beans overnight or for 8 hours in a large pot of water.  Drain, rinse and put into the slow-cooker.  In a frying pan, cook the bacon until crisp.  Remove, crumble the slices and put in the slow-cooker.  Remove some of the fat from the frying pan and add the onions to the frying pan and cook until tender and browned.  Add the onions to the slow-cooker.  On low heat, add the small tin of tomato paste to the same frying pan and let it cook for one to two minutes.  Add to the slow-cooker.  Add the molasses, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to the slow-cooker and thoroughly stir the mixture.  Add about 4 cups of water to the slow-cooker pot and cook on low heat for eight to ten hours.  Add more water to the beans if required during the cooking process.  Because I added too much liquid to the pot, I cooked the beans on high heat for several hours in order to reduce the excess liquid.  Makes six to eight servings.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I have been a subscriber to the Nutrition Action Healthletter for many years.  Ten newsletters are produced annually and cover a range of health topics.  It is published by The Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) which is a non-profit health advocacy group.  CSPI advocates honest food labelling and advertising, safe and nutritious food and pro-health policies.  CSPI accepts no government or industry funding. 

The newsletter is usually about 15 pages in length and includes a number of regular columns.  It always has a feature article and the November 2010 edition has a feature story on foods and bone and muscle loss.  The article reviews what you can do to reduce your risk of weak bones and weak muscles.  Other regular columns include a one pager on recent research studies; a safe food report; an eating out survival guide; and, a back page split into two columns which highlights highly caloric/fat food and contrasting good nutritious food. 

I thoroughly enjoy reading this healthletter and would recommend it if you are looking for quick, easy to read material on healthy food and living.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


In looking for some different lunches to make for the work week, I came across an idea while looking at other recipes.  As I eat hummus quite frequently and usually as part of my lunch or a snack, I was looking to make something different than using tahini and chick peas.  This recipe uses a white bean and spinach.  You can make a number of different variations depending on what you have in your cupboards and fridge. I used a large can of romano beans but you can use navy, cannellini or white kidney beans.  I am going to provide the recipe via the photos.  I quite like this recipe and will make it again.

In a frying pan, heat 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp oil on medium heat.  Add a small chopped onion, one minced garlic clove and several chopped mushrooms. Saute until the vegetables are tender.

Add two handfuls of spinach.

Saute on medium heat until the spinach is wilted. 

To the blender, add a drained can of beans.  I used a large can of romano beans.  I left a bit of liquid in the can to help in the blending process.

Add the sauteed vegetables to the blender and puree until smooth.

The finished product.  Ready for sampling.

I dipped a rice cracker into the dish of pureed beans. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I found this great recipe in Mark Bittman's latest cookbook.  He provides a number of variations that can be used with the basic recipe.  For example, I made banana nut but he also provides detail for making pumpkin coconut or sweet potato muffins.  I always have bananas in the house as one of the consumers of bananas is the dog.  He has a banana every morning and after he has his breakfast, he waits for his 'B' to be hand fed to him.  What a dog's life he has!!

When bananas get too ripe for us to eat, I freeze them and will use them at a later time for smoothies or making muffins or loaves.  I made a few small changes to the original recipe including using walnuts in this recipe.

Banana Nut Muffins

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar or splenda
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup almonds or walnuts, chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
1/4 cup oil

In a large bowl, mix together, the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, sugar and nuts.  In another bowl, mix together the egg, oil, butter, bananas and milk.  Fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until just combined.

Fill muffin tins at least three quarters full with the dough.  I use muffin cup liners to make life easier.  The recipe makes about 16 to 17 muffins.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes.  With my convection oven, I baked them for about 17 minutes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I am never one to pass up on different kinds of shoes.  The shoes that I am wearing are what some people call five-fingered shoes.  It is made by a company called 'Vibram' and it is based on barefoot technology.

These shoes allow you to feel as if you are going barefoot with the protection of a slim sole.  The shoe fits like a second skin.  Five-fingered shoes were first developed as a barefoot alternative for climbing, light trekking and sailing.  These shoes are now used for running, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, surfing, yoga and pilates.  I bought these shoes to use for pilates as pilates is done barefoot or wearing toe socks.  I like wearing these shoes and could wear them around the house, by the beach, or doing other water sports.  I don't know if I like wearing them all the time for pilates.  I am planning to get a pair of toe socks for pilates and will compare the differences between the two products.  

There are two different schools of thought of whether these shoes should be used for running.  On one side of the fence are those that recommend structured shoes and there is the other side that promotes the benefits of running barefoot.  Running barefoot leads to better running form and improved injury resistance.  These five-fingered shoes would protect your feet from sharp edges, glass, rough surfaces and other outside elements.   I have never run barefoot so I don't know know how I would do with these shoes.