Friday, December 28, 2012


I am amazed at times what my seven year old yellow lab will get into or do.  He is a happy go lucky guy, always smiling and up for adventures.  Late summer we took him for a walk along a creek system close to our house.  You can always count on Shane to find goose poop, mud or dead critters.  On this excursion he found mud.  He trotted into a dry mud bed that had bull rushes and I am sure had a lot of good smells.  When he bounded out of that dry mud med and we saw his legs and feet, we knew that some bathing was going to happen.  The following pictures show the before and after results.

Prior to washing his feet and legs. 

Soap and water.

The end result = clean legs and feet.
I never leave shoes lying around the house as Shane can't be trusted to leave then alone.  The most recent shoe sampling occurred by accident.  One of the cats got into the coat closet that also has shoes. The door was left slightly ajar and the DH forgot about closing the door after the cat wandered out of the closet.  Voila, the dog decided to sample one of my shoes.  These were not new shoes nor inexpensive and I was still wearing them on a frequent basis.  I know that Shane will continue to have a shoe fetish for as long as he lives.  We do have several things in common - we both LOVE shoes.

For all of the things he can get into, he is a beloved dog, always happy to see us, loyal and always ready for doing things and being involved.  This past fall Shane had a health issue.  He has glaucoma which we didn't know beforehand and within two months of being diagnosed, he had to have his eye removed.  We got it diagnosed early but the medication did not slow down the damages that glaucoma creates.  He is doing really well and the removal of his eye was harder on us than him. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012


There are a number of ways you can make potato pancakes.  Some people like the potatoes to be grated while others prefer them to be pureed.  I like them to be finely grated or minced, they still have texture but they are not chunky or appear to be long and stringy.   I used a small food processor which allowed me to get the texture I wanted by not having to deal with large batches.  I doubled this recipe, used about 10 potatoes and had three frying pans going at once.  I found that if I skimped on the canola oil for frying, they took longer to cook and didn't brown as nicely as those cooked in oil.  I like to eat the pancakes with both applesauce and sour cream.  I served these pancakes to a group of 10 people as part of a meal and everyone enjoyed them.

Pancakes cooking in the pan.

Ready for the table.

1 medium onion, cut into chunks
3 eggs
4 large baking potatoes, peeled or scrubbed, cut thin small chunks
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup flour
canola oil
applesauce and sour cream


Place onions in a food processor and chop until it is minced.  Empty into a large mixing bowl.  Add the eggs to the processor and blend.  Add eggs to the mixing bowl.  Depending on the size of your food processor chop the potatoes in batches.  Don't overchop them as you don't want them to be pureed.  Add the potato batches to the mixing bowl.  Add salt and pepper and the flour to the mixing bowl and combine well.  

Heat about 1/4 cup of oil in a nonstick pan.  On medium high heat, add the batter by the tablespoonful. Flatten them with the back of the spoon. Cook until brown and crisp, turn over and cook the other side. Place the cooked pancakes on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.  Cook the batter in batches.  You may need to add additional oil in between the batches.  Makes 16 to 20 pancakes.

Friday, December 14, 2012


This recipe is simple as it requires not many ingredients, you can add different vegetables and just requires a baking dish to cook the food.  I used cod but other fish could be used including salmon, red snapper or halibut.   I also used minimal herbs and spices and you could add other herbs based on your preferences.  Both the DH and I enjoyed this meal.


1 pound red potatoes, unpeeled, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 glove garlic, minced
handful of fresh dill, chopped or 1 tsp dried dill
1 pound, cod, snapper or other firm fish cut into 2 inch chunks


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Combine the potatoes, onions, oil and salt and pepper in a medium size baking dish.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Stir mixture once while baking.

Stir the tomato, garlic and dill into the potato mixture.  Top with the fish.  Increase the heat to 400 degrees F and bake, covered with aluminum foil for 25 minutes.   If the fish is not cooked, cook for additional time.  Serve the fish and vegetables with the juice from the baking dish.  Serves 4.

Adapted from

Friday, December 7, 2012


After listening to a friend talk about a stew she made one night, I decided I needed to cook a stew on a recent weekend.  The end result was a tender and delicious stew.  The stew didn't contain any potatoes.  I made some mashed potatoes as a side dish and the mashed potatoes were a good accompaniment to the stew.   The DH enjoyed this meal.


1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 lbs beef stewing meat, cubed
3 carrots, chopped into small pieces
2 stalks celery, chopped into small pieces
1 medium size rutabaga, peeled, chopped into small pieces
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped into small pieces
1 glass red wine or cooking wine
1 cup beef bouillon
 salt and pepper to taste


In a medium size frying pan, heat the oil and add the meat, onions and garlic. Brown on medium heat.  To a large soup pot add the browned meat and onions, the vegetables, wine and bouillon.  Heat to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer for two hours.  Serves 6.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Instead of making soup one sunday afternoon for weekday lunches,  I decided to make a cauliflower and carrot puree.   To the puree I added sauteed onions and mushrooms.  I enjoyed having it as part of my lunch during the week.   When reheating your serving it in the microwave, you could add grated cheese to it.


1/2 cauliflower cut into small chunks
2 carrots, sliced into pieces
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
6 mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper to taste


In a medium size pot, add the cauliflower and carrots to water, bring to a boil and cook on medium high  until tender.  In a separate frying pan, heat the oil and add the garlic, onions and mushrooms.  Cook on medium low until the onions and mushrooms are soft.  Set aside.

Drain the cauliflower and carrots and mash using a potato masher, food processor or hand held blender.  Puree until smooth.  Add the onions and mushrooms to the puree.  Season with salt and pepper. Combine.  Serves 4.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


There are many recipes for leeks including braising them or and using in a number of soups.  When I bought a trio of leeks I wasn't sure what I was going to make with them.  I looked at multiple numbers of recipes for braised leeks with leeks as the main ingredient or as part of the ingredient list.   I adapted this recipe from ones found on Nigella's and Simply recipes internet sites.

Leeks starting to saute.

Ready to serve.

Leeks with Garlic and Lemon
4 big leeks
2 big cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced or minced
4 tbsp butter
1 cup of white wine or chicken stock
juice of half a lemon
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Trim the ends of the green leeks and discard.  Wash the leeks really well to make sure that there is no dirt.  Cut the rest of the fresh, green part of the leeks away from the round white bulbs, finely slice and reserve.
Tear back and discard the first two layers of the leeks, leaving the tender whiter flesh. Rinse well and slice into one inch rounds.
In a large frying pan melt the butter over medium heat. Slowly fry the garlic in the butter with the dark green leek tops until the garlic is softened but not colored. Cook slowly and let the garlic infuse the butter.
Add the pieces of white leek and toss them in the garlic and butter.  Add salt and pepper to taste, lemon juice and combine.  Add the wine or chicken stock, cover and simmer for 35 minutes.  Take the cover off. bring the braising liquid to a boil and cook until the liquid is mostly gone.  Add the parmesan cheese and parsley and remove the pan from the burner.  Serves 4 as a side dish. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I like brussel sprouts but I think I am in the minority versus majority.  I made this dish to jazz up the brussel sprouts for the DH.  I didn't add much oil to the dish and you might want to use butter instead of oil.  I also used a sour dough bread with fennel and raisins so I didn't add other spices to the mixture.   The fennel and the raisins in the sour dough added to the flavour.


about a dozen brussel sprouts, ends trimmed, washed and halved
1 tbsp olive oil
16 almonds, chopped
3 tbsp parmesan cheese
2 slices of bread, cut into small pieces, toasted
salt and pepper to taste


In a medium size pot, cook brussel sprouts until tender.   Let cool.  In a pyrex dish mix all of the remaining ingredients with the brussel sprouts.  Cover with a lid and bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes until all ingredients are hot and the cheese has melted.  You can also microwave the dish, instead of baking, for about 5 minutes.  Serves 3.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I have many favourite soups and this is one of them.  The recipe makes a big batch of soup.  With this volume of soup, I tend to freeze several single serving containers to have for future lunches.  This soup does need the almost two hours to cook as otherwise the split peas are not soft enough.

Split Pea and Barley Soup

2 cups green split peas (can be a mixture of yellow and green)
½ cup pearl barley
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
12 cups water, chicken or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup fresh dill, chopped


In a large soup pot, combine all of the ingredients except for the salt and pepper and dill.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 90 minutes to two hours.  If the soup is too thick add a bit of water.  Season with salt and pepper and add the dill.  Simmer for 10 minutes more.  Serves 12.

Options: When making soup you can add cut up cooked turkey, chicken or ham.

Adapted from Meal Lean Yumm by Noreen Gilletz

Friday, November 2, 2012


There are days when you are pressed for time in the morning getting ready for work and doing a multitude of other tasks and also having the time to make and eat breakfast.  I found a great way to make oatmeal for breakfast the night before and either take the oatmeal to work or eat it at home before leaving for work.  A friend of mine provided me with a link to an internet site that provides recipes for both overnight oatmeal and overnight smoothies.  I haven't made the smoothies but I have been making the overnight oatmeal.

The overnight oatmeal doesn't require cooking.  It is similar to making a swiss muesli where the oatmeal is soaked in milk, yogurt and fruit overnight.  You need to use rolled oats and not steel cut oats.  Overnight the oatmeal softens and the flavours get blended.  There are many variations you can make depending on the fruit and flavourings you add.  The basic recipe requires a 2 cup container or glass jar that has a lid.  This is a recipe for one serving.  I use 1/3 cup of oatmeal but the original recipe calls for 1/4 cup oatmeal.

1/3 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup milk, soy or almond milk
1/4 cup yogurt, plain or flavoured
1 1/2 tsp chia seeds


1/2 cup fruit - berries, chopped apple, banana
1 tsp coconut flakes
1 tsp jam
1 tsp peanut butter
1 tsp chocolate chips
1/2 tsp vanilla flavouring
1 tsp maple syrup

Add the basic ingredients to the container or glass jar.  You then need to decide what kind of flavour do you want.  For breakfast this morning I had raspberry flavoured oatmeal.  When I made the oatmeal the night before I added 1/2 cup frozen raspberries, 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp raspberry jam.  You can use either fresh or frozen berries.  I have also made apple flavoured oatmeal.  I added 1/2 chopped apple and cinnamon. I have also added peanut butter to the apple mixture.  Another time I made blueberry flavoured oatmeal.  

After you add the desired flavourings, mix all of the ingredients together, cover the contained and place in the fridge overnight.  It is ready to eat the next morning.

Here is the internet link for overnight oatmeal that I got from my friend.

Friday, October 26, 2012


I made another salad recently using broccoli, mushrooms and quinoa. When I buy a big bag of broccoli florets and a tub of sliced mushrooms from Costco, I try to find different ways to use them.  This salad keeps for several days and makes great lunches.



½ cup uncooked quinoa
3 cups of raw broccoli florets, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
¼ cup almonds, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped


½ cup low fat plain yogurt
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp sugar or splenda
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste


Cook quinoa according to cooking directions.  Let cool.  In a large bowl mixed the quinoa, broccoli, onion, almonds and mushrooms. 

In a separate small container or bowl mix the ingredients for the dressing.  Add the dressing to the salad and combine well.  Keep refrigerated until serving.  Serves 4 to 6.

Friday, October 19, 2012


With the tomato crop from the garden, I do look for different ways to use the tomatoes.  I like this chicken tomato saute as I can use several vegetables, I can prepare enough for several meals and you can serve it with rice, couscous, pasta or quinoa.

All of the ingredients in the frying pan and ready to simmer for the 30 minutes.


2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium to large onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, eat cut into three pieces
4 to 6 tomatoes, quartered or chopped
1 tbsp capers
salt and pepper to taste


In a large frying pan, heat oil on medium high heat.  Add the onions, garlic and celery and saute for 4 to 5 minutes until the vegetables soften.  Add the chicken and saute for 2 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low, add the tomatoes and capers, mix all of the ingredients and cover with a lid.  Cook for 30 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serves 4 to 6 people.

Friday, October 12, 2012


I don't buy portobello mushrooms often.  To me they are meant to be stuffed, eaten in place of a burger as you can substitute a grilled portobello or just grilled after being marinated.  The following recipe is for grilling marinated portobello mushrooms.  I served this along with grilled corn and chick pea salad for supper one evening.  I made a number of mushrooms which will be eaten in the following days.

Mixing up the oil,vinegar, onions and garlic.

Mushrooms marinating.

After grilling on the BBQ.

Part of supper --- with a cob of corn and chick pea salad.


4 to 6 portobello mushrooms
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried onion

1/3 cup feta cheese


Clean mushrooms and place on a medium size plate or baking sheet with the gills facing up.  Mix the ingredients except the feta cheese in a bowl.  Spoon over the mushrooms and let marinate for an hour.  You can store them in the fridge while marinating.  Heat the BBQ to medium high heat.  When the mushrooms are ready to grill, sprinkle the feta cheese over the mushroom caps and grill on the BBQ for 10 to 15 minutes.  You can also bake these mushrooms in the oven at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes.   Serves 2 to 4 people.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


While shopping for a new pairs of Salomon trail running shoes, I came across this brand of clothing made by a company called Icebreaker

First, let me fill you in on the running shoes.   These running shoes are made for running on trails that have tough footing.  I don't run on rough trials and bought this specific model of shoe for when it will get icy outside on the walking paths, sidewalks or the streets and I need to have some grips on my shoes when walking the dog.  These shoes have cleats and I wore a pair last winter and really found them great for walking.  I wore the cleats down on one side of each shoe as I overpronate.   I don't wear them if there is lots of snow but do wear them when it is icy outside.

While in the store, I wandered over to the women's running and walking clothing area.  The sales person whom I have known for many years, steered me to a new brand of clothing that the store is carrying.  The clothes included base layers, hoodies, and tee shirts, The clothes are great for layering and are made using merino wool from New Zealand.  What peaked my interest was that each piece of clothing has an unique code and you can connect the clothing you bought with an individual farm or a group of farms that sheared this wool.  I bought a top and bottom base layer and a hoodie and I traced my wool used in the clothing to the farms that sheared the sheep.  I think this is pretty neat.  I read about the farms, the farmers, their families, saw photos of their dogs and their land.  What a great way to sell clothes!

I have copied some of the background information on merino wool that the company uses.

The merino is one of the world’s most ancient breeds of sheep. And one of the toughest.
Very different to a regular sheep who chews grass in the lowlands, our merino live in the extremes of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Regular sheep would freeze to death up there.
But the merino’s fleece is built for extremes – breathable in summer, insulating in winter, yet exceptionally soft and lightweight.
We’ve pioneered the use of merino wool in the wilderness since 1994, and now we’ve fused nature and technology to create merino layers for the outdoors, for performance sports, and for the city.


Friday, October 5, 2012


After seeing this recipe in a newspaper this past August, the DH reminded me that I hadn't yet made a peach cobbler this year and as peaches were still available, I should consider baking a cobbler.  The combination of peaches and blueberries was too good to pass up.   After getting a supply of peaches and berries, I made the cobbler.  You can also make this recipe using frozen fruit instead of fresh.

I used splenda instead of sugar in the recipe and only used 1/4 cup in the filling.  I also had to use two baking dishes as the large one would have been too full.  The second baking dish was a mini baking dish and served as the overflow dish.  The end result was a tasty cobbler according to the DH.  It met his expectations.

Berries and peaches.

Flour, sugar and other ingredients sprinkled on the fruit.

Mixing the cobbler dough

Dough spread over the fruit and ready for the oven.

Ready for sampling.




3 pound of ripe peaches (7 to 9)
2 cups blueberries
¼ cup white sugar or splenda
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
2 ½ tbsp flour


1 ½ cups flour
½ cup cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar or splenda
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk or one cup of milk with 1 tbsp of vinegar (soured milk)
1 ½ cups blueberries


Wash the peaches and cut each peach into 8 slices or more, leaving the skin on and discarding the pit.  Place the peach slices into an 9 X 13 dish along with the two cups of blueberries.   Sprinkle the sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt and flour over the top of the peaches and berries and if you can try to stir the mixture.  Set aside.

To make the topping, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Add the butter and using a fork or pastry blender, mix the butter into the dough until it is crumbly.  Add the vanilla to the buttermilk or soured milk and combine.   Pour the milk over the flour mixture and mix it together but don’t over mix it as this is biscuit dough.  Fold in the blueberries.  The dough will be sticky to handle.  Using a wooden spoon, place a spoonful of the dough on top of the fruit creating nine mounds or so of dough on top of the fruit.  If you have more dough, then add it to the spaces between the mounds.   

Bake at 375 degrees F for 50 minutes or until the biscuits dough is golden brown and the fruit mixture is bubbling.  Let cool and serve with ice cream.  Store leftovers in the fridge.   Serves 6 to 8 depending on appetites.

Adapted from Globe and Mail, Aug 22, 2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012


I quite enjoy omelets made with shredded zucchini or baked zucchini egg loaf.  What caught my attention when I saw this recipe was the chickpea flour.  The addition of chickpea flour does make this recipe into pancakes.  The pancakes held together well and were good.  I added about 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese to the batter and used Greek seasoning.  I used a non-stick frying pan to make the pancakes and was able to cook all of the pancakes in 2 batches.   I added oil to the pan at the start but didn't add any oil when I was cooking the second batch.

Chickpea flour is quite different from wheat flour as it is lower in calories, higher in fat and of course higher in fibre and protein.  The three pancakes I ate were quite filling.   I serve the pancakes with oven roasted new potatoes, cherry tomatoes and sliced cucumbers.

Nutrient contents of chickpea flour.

Cooking in an electric frying pan.



1 tbsp oil
2 medium zucchinis, shredded
1 green onion, diced
1/2 tsp Italian, Greek or other seasonings
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup chickpea flour

Topping: Serve with salsa, parmesan cheese or other favorite condiments


Add all of the ingredients to a mixing bowl and combine well.  In a large frying pan, heat the oil to medium high heat.  Using a large spoon, spoon about a ¼ cup of the mixture into the pan and spread the pancakes out in the pan so that you have room to flip each one over after 3 to 4 minutes cooking on each side.   You will probably need to make a few batches as the recipe makes 10 to 12 pancakes.  For each batch you will need to add more oil to the frying pan.  Serve with your favorite topping.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I first heard the song 'Moon River' while watching the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's .   That movie has many good memories for me.  One of most powerful memories are the scenes of Audrey Hepburn with her cat in her apartment and when she leaves the cat in the alley as she is running away to South America.  The scene of George Peppard and Audrey Hepburn searching for "Cat" in the alley got me bawling as youngster while watching it.  With the music of Moon River in the background, while searching for the cat, the scene has left a permanent wedge in my mind. 

Audrey Hepburn performed the song in the movie but the song really belonged to Andy Williams.  He recorded it in one take and sang it at the 1962 Academy Awards.  That song became the signature song of Andy Williams.  It was his brand. 

Lyrics to Moon River

Moon River, wider than a mile, 
I'm crossing you in style some day. 
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker, 
wherever you're going I'm going your way. 
Two drifters off to see the world. 
There's such a lot of world to see. 
We're after the same rainbow's end-- 
waiting 'round the bend, 
my huckleberry friend, 
Moon River and me.

Andy Williams passed away today and I will always remember him as a wonderful crooner and for the song Moon River.

Friday, September 21, 2012


A friend provided this recipe and calls them 'very healthy as fas as muffins go'.  It is a healthy recipe as it has no additional oil, lots of fiber and I used splenda to reduce the sugar content.  I did a few things in this recipe which made them more chunky.  I didn't use the fine shredded attachment in the food processor but the regular one so the carrots were thicker.  That was an oversight on my part in the attachment I used.  I also likely shredded more than what the recipe called for.  The apples were on the larger side so I used 2 large gala apples and 1 smaller gala apple.  The batter was probably thicker that what it should be and I used three eggs instead of two to add more volume to the liquid.

The muffins are delicious and I did freeze about half of them.  The DH has muffins for the next week.

The photo shows the chunkiness of the muffins.

1 1/2 cups of flour ( mixture of white and whole wheat)
3/4 cup oatmeal - quick cooking flakes
3/4 cup oat bran
1 cup brown sugar or 1/2 cup splenda
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup raisins
1 cup nuts, chopped
1 1/2 cups of finely shredded carrots
3 shredded apples (unpeeled)

3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla


Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Stir in the carrots, apples, raisins and nuts and combine.  In a separate small bowl, combine the milk, eggs and vanilla.  Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until the mixture is moistened.

Grease the muffin tins or use paper muffin cups and fill each muffin cup to almost full.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes.  Makes 2 to 2 1/2 dozen muffins.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Always on the lookout for different recipes to use garden tomatoes, I came across a recipe in the chubby vegetarian and made a few alterations to the original recipe.  The tomatoes cook down and what is left is a concentrated spread of tomatoes - what I call a pate.  This pate can be used as a spread with cheese and crackers, with omelets or with fresh bread.   I have also used this pate as a condiment with baked chicken.

I didn't have three pounds of cherry tomatoes so I used close to 2 pounds of cherry tomatoes and then cut up several tomatoes to make a total of three pounds.   For the red pepper flakes I used dehydrated red pepper flakes that I had purchased from one of the herb and spice companies that are sold by friends who always have catalogs on hand.

Cooking in the pot.

I bagged the tomato pate in half cup portions for freezing.



3 pounds of cherry tomatoes, halved
2/3 cup sugar or ½ cup splenda
juice and lemon zest from one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp of red pepper flakes


Add all of the ingredients to a large stock pot and heat on high to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 to 2 hours until the mixture is reduced by half and has a thick consistency.   Cool.  Spoon into small canning jars or freezer jars and freeze.  You can also store it in the fridge and it will keep for about two weeks.  Makes about 3 cups.

Adapted from

Friday, September 7, 2012


After receiving a few hints from the DH that he would like muffin top muffins instead of the regular style muffin, I made a batch of blueberry muffins using the different style of tin.  There are recipes that are styled for these kind of muffin tins but I used a regular blueberry muffin recipe.  Some recipes also include a streusel topping but I skipped making a topping to not add additional calories.

If you have never seen a muffin top tin before, the muffin cups are not deep but are wider than regular muffin cups.  The manufacturers also only make the tins with six cups versus the regular 12.  I asked why only six versus 12 cups to a salesperson in a kitchen store that I frequent and she said that the pan would be too big for the oven.  The quantity of batter used in the muffin top tins versus regular muffins is about the same.

In making the blueberry muffins, I used margarine instead of butter, about 1/2 cup of splenda and fresh blueberries.

Muffin top tin before batter is added.

Blueberry dough added.

Out of the oven.

Cooling on a rack.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar or 1/2 cup splenda
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
1 cup fresh or frozen wild blueberries
In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In small bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, butter, vanilla and lemon rind. Pour over dry ingredients; stir twice. Sprinkle with blueberries; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Spoon into greased or paper-lined muffin cups.  Bake at 375°F until tops are firm to the touch, 25 minutes.
Adapted from

Friday, August 31, 2012


There are zillions of recipes for burgers.  From the simple to multi ingredients added before the patties are formed.  Further creation occurs when you stack the burger with extras in a burger bun.  I have seen avocados, tomatoes, lettuce, blue cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, dill pickles, onion, salsa and corn relish added to the burger.  Of course not all of these ingredients are added to one bun.  But maybe I shouldn't assume so, I couldn't get my mouth around such a huge stack of items.  I do question the issue of whether you are eating the burger for the burger or for the fixins when so many add ons are put in the bun along with the burger.   

I like a simple recipe for burgers and the following ingredients are my favourites.  I don't like making big burgers so that I can have more than one if I am hungry.  I also tend to not eat a bun with the burger as I would rather have something else, like potato salad, with the burger.   There is also a debate about whether you should add an egg to the ingredients.  I have made burgers with and without an egg.  My burgers stay together better when I add an egg, especially when I am making them on the bbq.  I do add different mustards and when I made these I used a flavoured Dijon horseradish mustard.  


1 egg
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs or uncooked oatmeal
1 small onion, grated or finely chopped
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb (454 g) lean ground beef

In bowl, beat the egg with fork; mix in bread crumbs, onion, mustard, salt, Worcestershire and pepper.  Mix in the ground beef.  Form into four to eight patties depending on the size that you want your burgers to be.  Cook on a grill or in a frying pan on medium low heat until meat is well cooked.  Depending on the thickness of the burgers, I will cook each side for 10 to 15 minutes.   Serves 4 to 6.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


I like the combination of tomatoes and corn and this dish does have a sweet flavour.  Both the corn and onion provide the sweetness and the tomatoes provide the acidic balance.  I used cherry tomatoes from the garden in the recipe.  To cut the kernels off the uncooked cobs, I used a corn zipper which is a great  tool.  The corn zipper cuts about two rows of corn off off the cob.  It is much easier to use this tool versus a knife to take the kernels off the cob.  Both the DH and I enjoyed this dish and I plan to make it several times while I still have cherry tomatoes from the garden.

A great tool- a corn zipper.

In the frying pan and ready to go into the serving dish.



½ medium sized sweet onion, chopped
1 tbsp oil or butter
½ tsp dried oregano
2 ears of corn, kernels cut off the cobs
2 cups of cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste


In a medium size frying pan, heat the oil or butter on medium high heat.  Add the onions and thyme and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent.  Add the corn and tomatoes and cook for 5 to 7 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.   Serves 4.

Option: if you have any opened white wine in the kitchen, you can add ½ cup to the frying pan after the onions become translucent.  You need to cook this for a little awhile to reduce the amount of liquid in the frying pan by half.

A second option to the recipe is to add ½ cup frozen lima beans or canned lima beans when the corn and tomatoes are added.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I like using salad dressing when eating my salad greens.  Always on the lookout for lower calorie dressing, I will make dressings from scratch and also buy them.  This recipe is lower in calories and was easy to make including the fact that I had all of the ingredients in the kitchen.  I also liked using a green apple as an ingredient in the dressing.  This recipe is a keeper.

Mixing the dressing in a mini food processor.

Dressing stored in a container before being placed in the fridge.

Sesame Peanut Salad Dressing


1 ½ tbsp sodium reduced soy sauce or tamari sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tsp brown sugar or splenda
½ granny smith apple, cored and chopped
2 tbsp water


Put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Makes about one cup of dressing.  Refrigerate in a container.  It should keep for a week in the fridge.

Adapted from Nutrition Action newsletter, July/August 2012 edition