Saturday, July 27, 2013


What is not to like about kale?  The combination of kale and quinoa and vegetables makes a great salad.  This salad keeps well in the fridge for a day or two and makes a great lunch to take to work.  Both the DH and I really enjoyed this salad.  The other thing I liked about the salad dressing was that the chia seed acted as a thickener in the dressing.  This salad is can be served any time of the year and is not just a summer salad.

Chopped carrots and pepper.

Baby kale before steaming.

Parsley has been added to the bowl.

Kale draining in the steamer.

Salad ready for serving.


1 cup uncooked quinoa
3 to 4 loosely packed cups of kale leaves, chopped
1 glove of garlic, minced
3 tbsp lemon juice
a bit less than a 1/4 cup of olive oil
1 tsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp agave
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 coloured pepper, finely chopped
1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste


Cooked the quinoa according to directions on the package.  Let cool.  While the quinoa is cooking, mix together the dressing of garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, chia seeds, agave and cumin.  The dressing needs to sit for at least 10 minutes in order for the chia seed to soften and thicken the dressing.  Steam the kale for three minutes in order to soften it.

To a large mixing or serving bowl, add the quinoa, kale, parsley and vegetables.  Combine.  Add the dressing and mix.  Serves 4 to 5.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


I recently purchased the cookbook by Dreena Burton titled 'let them eat vegan'.  I had bought this book based on reviews I had read.  I am not disappointed.  It is a wonderful cookbook.  Dreena Burton doesn't used processed vegan products in her recipes, like meat substitutes.  She creates healthy recipes, that are real food, and not difficult to make.  Her recipes stay away from using white flour and many of the recipes are wheat free and gluten free.  The recipes try to cover across section of tastes and nutritional needs.

What I also like about this cookbook are the tips, techniques and comments with each recipe.  There are  pointers called 'if this apron could talk, ingredients 411, kid friendly, savvy subs and adds and serving suggestions' alongside the recipes.  Each recipe does not have all of the pointers, just the ones that are relevant.

I made a lentil loaf recipe from the cookbook.  It tasted good, but I should have added less thyme.  When I told the DH what we were having for lunch, I used an analogy of a meat loaf.  He thought otherwise and was looking at it and said it is really about lentils and I am eating lentils.  He couldn't finish his portion as it is filling so the dog had a mouthful of the loaf and he did not hesitate in vacuuming in the remaining morsels.   I will definitely make the recipe again.

Here is the link for the recipe to make the Lentil loaf.

Putting the final touches on the loaf before baking.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


With the basil plants growing madly in this hot weather, I needed to trim the plants so that they would not start to produce flowers.  I picked a lot of leaves one night after work and ended up with 8 cups of fresh basil leaves.  Using my vitamix blender I went to work and quickly made this pesto.  I did not have enough pine nuts so I used pecans instead.  I never used pecans before to make pesto.  Because I made such a large batch I froze the pesto in ice cube trays and several very small containers.  Besides using the pesto with pasta, I also add it to soups.  A friend of mine told me that she adds pesto to cooked rice.  I am going to try that in the future with cooked rice.

This Eating Well recipe is available on the internet but I actually have an eight year old printed copy from the actual magazine.  The magazine did a whole series of recipes making pesto with different herbs and some vegetables.  Besides the basil pesto, the recipes include a chile pesto, tarragon pesto, goat cheese pesto using oregano, mint pesto, and a sun-dried tomato pesto.

Making pesto in the vitamix.

Freezing pesto in ice cubes.

Extra containers found to freeze presto.

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup walnut pieces, pine nuts or pecans toasted
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp water
1 large clove garlic, quartered
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper


Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and process for a few minutes until it is fairly smooth.  Makes about one cup.

You can freeze unused pesto in ice cube trays.  Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag.

Adapted from Eating Well, Aug/Sept 2005

Saturday, July 6, 2013


Over the past few years I needed to replace my blender and juicer.  Two years ago we got a Breville juicer and last year we got a Breville blender.  Both work equally well and of course take up counter space.  I haven't had to replace my food processor as a number of years ago we bought a Bosch system with all of the bells and whistles and a number of attachments.  I can blend, grind, knead, chop, mince, mix, grate, puree and even roll whole oats with this machine.  It is like a tank but has a soft throttle.  I have components of this food processor stored in kitchen cupboards and in the basement on shelves which holds a number of kitchen tools and toys.

About twice a year Vitamix is featured at Costco with a demonstration booth set up and samples to try. I contemplated getting one last year but instead got the blender.  The Vitamix booth was back at Costco recently for its one week stay.  When I first saw the set up I managed to stay away.  Costco sells the product for a price that is less than if you were to order it directly from Vitamix.  Volume sales says it all.  So what tipped me and spoke into my brain to sell out dollars to replace gadgets that are relatively new?  Frustration.  I had a new recipe that I wanted to try from Mark Bittman's new book VB6.  It is falafel and you have to mince the uncooked chick peas which already have been soaking for 24 hours.  I tried to mince the chick peas with the rest of the other ingredients in the Breville blender but it was too dry.  I then had to haul out the monster Bosch system to mince the chick peas and then blend all of the ingredients together.   My subconscious mind was already at work after washing all of the tools and gadgets that I used to make the falafel which by the way turned out great.  I was thinking about the Vitamix.

Sampling the soup and frozen strawberry dessert/sorbet at the Vitamx booth at a return visit to Costco had me sold on getting a Vitamix.  It was not a hard decision, just some guilt for now having to decide what to do with relatively new tools that I already had in the kitchen.  The Breville gadgets have now found new homes with some of my friends and I will keep the Bosch food processing system for awhile yet.

The following pictures show a vegetable soup I made using my new toy.  The colour of the soup may not look appetizing as it has spinach in it and the soup is green in colour.  It contains a lot of vegetables and it is delicious and very filling.  I followed one of the recipes in the material that was provided with a little bit of alterations.  Mixing the soup on high for six or so minutes actually heats the soup and it is ready to serve.

I can't wait to try other ingredients profiled in the material I got.