Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I found another muffin recipe using almond meal instead of flour.  This recipe is a bit simpler than a previous recipe I posted using almond meal.  It has less ingredients.  For this recipe I used a cup of frozen cherries.  These cherries are from the backyard tree and last summer we pitted many cups of berries, bagged them and froze them.  Using a convection oven, I baked these muffins for 30 minutes.

Ready for the oven.

Cooling in the muffin tin.
Almond Meal Muffins with Berries


2 cups almond meal
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup sweetener eg. Splenda
3 eggs
1 cup berries


In a medium size mixing bowl, beat the eggs.  Add the water and oil to the eggs.  Combine.  Add the rest of the ingredients except the berries.  Stir until combined.  Fold in the berries.  Using pam or oil grease a 12 cup muffin tin.  Divide the batter across the muffin cups.   Bake at 325 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes depending on your oven.

Adapted from bestrecipes.com

Friday, February 24, 2012


I have been making this muffin in a mug for breakfast several times a week.  It is very easy to make.  The coconut flakes and chopped almonds are optional in the recipe but I do add them to the mixture prior to cooking.  I found that 45 seconds is sufficient cooking time in my microwave.  If you are using a really thick mug to make the muffin you may need more time than the 45 seconds.  Once the muffin is cooked, I add some berries and yogurt as a topping.  I find that this muffin is filling and keeps me satisfied for the morning.  

Muffin right after cooking.

Muffin turned out onto a plate.

Flax Muffin in a Mug


1 tsp butter
1 egg
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
dash of cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp splenda   
1 tbsp chopped almonds (optional)
1/2 tbsp unsweetened flaked coconut (optional)


Spray a mug with vegetable pan spray, add butter and microwave for 15 seconds to melt the butter.  Add the rest of the ingredients to the mug, stir to combine everything together and microwave for one minute.  Depending on the strength of your microwave, one minute may be too long.  Start at 45 seconds and add extra time if the muffin is not cooked.  You can turn the muffin out on a plate or you can eat it right from the mug. 

Adapted from sparkpeople.com

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


This sugar cookie recipe is very easy to make.  It uses coconut flour instead of wheat or other grain flour.   Instead of using the 3/4 cup of sugar in the batter, I used stevia.  I had to guess the amount of stevia as a substitute.  I did use real sugar with the cinnamon when I rolled the balls of dough in the sugar and cinnamon.   I liked the cookies but they have a different texture than a wheat based cookie.  They kept their shape like a wheat cookie but do not have a different melt in your mouth texture.

Cookies cooling on the baking tray.


4 eggs
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
3/4 cup coconut flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon


Combine eggs, sugar (reserve the 2 tbsp sugar), vanilla, salt and butter.  Mix well.  Stir in coconut flour.  Let the mixture rest for 3 to 5 minutes to allow it to thicken.  Combine the cinnamon with the 2 tbsp sugar on a small plate.  Form the dough into 3/4 to 1" balls and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture.   Place on a non stick cookie sheet about 1 inch apart.  Using a fork, gently press down on the ball to slightly flatten it.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.  Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Adapted from a card recipe from Bulk Barn.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


I recently had the opportunity to attend a concert of the band Chicago.  What a show.  Song after song that was played in the concert hall was instantly recognizable.  The horns section was superb.  The band tried to play a song from almost each of their albums.  The last time I heard this band live was during the 1970s.

Chicago formed in 1967 and is one of the longest running pop bands still playing and recording.  Four original band members are still with the band.  Several of the other band members have been part of this group for many years.  The band has the status of having 22 gold, 18 platinum and 8 mulit-platimum albums.  I don't know of any other band achieving these record sales.  They have teamed up with other bands including Earth, Wind and Fire.  We have a DVD of a concert they did with Earth, Wind and Fire.  The concert DVD includes solos for each band and teaming up for a number of songs together.

There were several things that impressed me seeing this group perform live.  After four decades they still have enormous amounts of energy.  They love to play and do play as a tight group.  They had a great time playing, were smiling and having fun.  The audience gave back the energy they were feeling from hearing the music.  The other thing was that there was no intermission, they played for two hours.  I think the band may have felt taking an intermission would have broken the mood and the energy in the room and their own momentum.   If you ever get the chance to see this band play, I would highly recommend it.

On a final note, because of some recent surgery and not knowing how long I could sit on a chair, I took a regular size pillow, in a flowered pillow case, carried in a tote bag, into the concert hall.  I have never taken a pillow to a concert.  No one raised an eyebrow or took a second look from what I could tell.  I used the pillow to help me recline in the chair and lean against the DH.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I made this breakfast cereal one morning and shared it with the DH.  I quite enjoyed it and it will become one of my regular breakfast meals.  The recipe is not quite enough for two people depending on what else you are eating for breakfast.  You could use 1/3 cup ground flax, 1/3 cup milk, 1 heaping tablespoon of each coconut and chopped nuts to make one serving.  I have also added some yogurt to the cooked cereal instead of milk and half of a chopped banana instead of berries to the cooked cereal.  

Cooked cereal.

Cereal with added dash of cinnamon and berries.


1/2 cup milk - coconut, cow, soy or almond
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup chopped nuts - walnuts. almonds, pecans
ground cinnamon
handful of berries


Combine the milk, flax seed, coconut and nuts in a microwaveable bowl. Heat for one minute and forty seconds.  Serve topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon and berries.  You can add some more milk to the cereal.  Serves 1 to 2.

Adapted from Wheat Belly diet.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I have been a fan of the Rolling Stones for many years.  I like their music, especially their music from the 1960's and 1970's.  In fact, when they came through the fine city I live in several years ago and played two concerts, I went to both of the concerts.  I figured I needed to make up for all of their concerts that I hadn't been able to attend over the years.  

I recently received Keith Richards book 'Life'.  Of course he has had an interesting life and has dealt with various addictions and an overabundance of alcohol and drugs.  What has been impressive is Keith's narratives on music, how jazz, the blues and Motown shaped the music of the Rolling Stones and other bands that started in the 1960's.  He provides a perspective of travelling in the southern U.S. in the 1960's.  If you have ever played a guitar (I haven't) you will enjoy the descriptive on how Keith learned to play guitar, learning to play cords differently and how some of the sounds were created for a number of their hit records.  He also provides background on the development of some of their songs, how the lyrics were developed, what ideas or situations were occurring that provided that gem of an idea for a song.  Keith writes about Mick Jagger including how well Mick can write words in creating a song.  Details are provided on producing the Sticky Fingers album.  I still have that album stored in a box with others and remember it had an actual zipper on the album cover.  Other interesting stories include how they were managed and ownership of the publishing right for their songs and forming their own record label. 

Keith also spends time describing his addictions to heroin and other drugs.  His upcoming trial in Toronto in 1978 was the tipping point for him.  He was worried about being jailed and didn't want to go cold turkey in prison and secondly, his life was revolving around when he could get a fix related to where he was touring with the band.  His addictions were controlling his life.  He did not get jailed but instead had to perform a free concert in Toronto for the blind.  There is a story as to why the judge decided on that particular sentence. 

The book is written in a very open and honest dialogue and he doesn't gloss over the events he writes about.  He tells the good, the bad and the ugly.  I have enjoyed reading this book and have gained an appreciation of the person behind the face of Keith Richards.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I have always liked biscotti.  I like it plain and also coated with chocolate.  On occasion I have dipped my biscotti in my coffee or tea.  There are many different ingredients you can include to make biscotti including nuts, cranberries and chocolate chips.  For this recipe, I used chopped almonds and dried cranberries.  You can also use unsalted roasted shelled whole pistachio nuts.

In making this recipe I decided to use only half of the sugar and used 1/3 cup regular sugar and 1/3 cup splenda.  I don't like my biscotti overly sweet.  I also rolled out the log to 15 inches in length instead of 12 inches.  Because I used a convention oven to bake the biscotti, it took 30 minutes to bake the log.  I did bake the slices for a second time for 20 minutes as the recipe calls for.

Mixing in the food processor.

The log is flattened down to 15 inches in length.

Out of the oven and cooling.

Biscotti log has been sliced and ready for second baking. 

Out of the oven and cooling off before sampling.


2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt
1 ¼ cups sugar
8 tbsp unsalted butter or margarine
3 eggs
¾ cup roasted almonds, chopped or lightly toasted shelled pistachios
½ cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp orange zest
3 tbsp cornmeal


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Into the bowl of a mix master or food processor fitted with a mixing paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy (1 to 2 minutes).  On low speed, add the eggs one at a time mixing thoroughly after each addition.  Add the almonds, cranberries and orange zest.  Mix on low speed until combined.  Add the cornmeal, mix again until combined.  Add the flour mixture to this wet mixture and mix on low until the dough comes together.

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and roll into a 12 inch log.  Transfer to the parchment lined baking sheet and gently flatted the log until it is about 1 inch thick.  Bake for 45 minutes or firm to the touch.  Be careful to not over bake.   Set aside after baking for 10 to 15 minutes.  Using a serrated knife, cut the loaf into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices.  Arrange the slices on parchment lined baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes and flip the slices over after 10 minutes.  You want the slices to be lightly toasted.  Set aside and cool.  Makes about 20 plus biscotti.  The number of slices depends on how thick you make each one when slicing the log.

Adopted from Oprah magazine, December 2011

Sunday, February 5, 2012


What makes this tuna, chickpeas and broccoli salad is the dressing.  I like chickpeas and can eat them by themselves as I can with canned tuna.  The yogurt dressing with Dijon mustard, lemon juice and red wine vinegar gives this salad the extra sharpness and flavour.  The recipe calls for adding broccoli to the salad just before serving.  I didn't add the broccoli to the salad and ate it separately with a bit of the yogurt dressing drizzled on the broccoli.   Both the Dh and I enjoyed having this salad for a weekend lunch and it is a keeper.

Dressing for salad.

Salad ready for serving.

Tuna, Chickpeas and Broccoli Salad 
1 can water-packed tuna, drained
1 cup of cooked chickpeas
1 stalk celery, cut in small (1/4-inch) dice
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives or 1 green onion, chopped
1 broccoli crown, steamed for 4 to 5 minutes and broken into florets
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp vinegar (red wine, sherry or white wine)
Salt to taste
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt

In a medium bowl, mix together the tuna, chickpeas, celery, bell pepper, parsley and chives/onions. Keep the broccoli separate.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and Dijon mustard. Whisk in the olive oil and yogurt, and toss with the tuna and chickpea mixture. Refrigerate in a bowl until ready to eat. Add the broccoli just before serving. Makes 2 to 3 servings. 

Adapted from allrecipes.com

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


When cooking rice,  I usually make enough servings for a few meals.  I have a fair size rice cooker so it is not onerous to cook the rice.  I also like cooking the rice in the oven in a covered pyrex dish versus cooking it on top of the stove.  Somehow when I cook it on top of the stove, the pot can boil over or somehow the stovetop gets cooked liquid over the elements.

I made the following recipe with 2 cups of rice so I halved the ingredients except for the eggs.  It is too hard to halve 3 eggs.  I used 2 eggs in the recipe.  I used brown rice.  I didn't have fresh ginger so I used dried powdered ginger.  The DH and I liked this dish and I will make it again.

Stirring the ingredients while cooking in a large frying pan.

Ready to be served.

Egg Fried Rice


2 tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp red chili flakes
¼ tsp pepper
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp oil and 2 tsp oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 large carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 green onions, chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup frozen peas
4 cups cold, cooked long grain brown rice


In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, chili flakes and pepper.  Set aside.  Heat on medium high,  the 1 tbsp oil in a wok or large frying pan.   Add the eggs and swirl around so that it spreads out like a pancake.   Cook until it is set and cooked.  Gently remove from the pan and place onto a plate.  Slice into shreds.

Add the 2 tsp of oil to the pan and heat to medium high.  Add the carrots, celery, green onion, ginger, garlic and peas.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Stir in the rice and the soy sauce mixture.  Cook for 3 to 4 minutes breaking up the rice with a spatula until heated through.  Add the egg shreds and cook for another minute or two.  Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Alive Magazine, October 2011.