Tag Archives: Cooking

Parsnip and Apple Muffins – Yum!

This is a picture I took late one frosty November evening after I completed the final fall harvest.  Carrots, parsnip and salsify.  And yes, that is quite a bit of parsnip.  And yes, some of them seem to be monstrous in size. (I couldn’t wrap my hand around a few of them!)  And no, hubby does not like parsnip and with its distinctive flavour it is a hard vegetable to hide.  Trust me.  I’ve tried.

So I gave some away to some parsnip-loving friends, and still my fridge drawer is full.  I love them roasted in the oven with a little olive oil, garlic and spices.  But there is only so much parsnip a girl can roast!

Enter parsnip muffins.  I found a great recipe through Whole Foods, and then, of course, I changed it.  My version is made with a mix of whole wheat and spelt flours, uses butter instead of oil, and honey instead of sugar.  And they are yummy.  Spiced like carrot cake, moist, but not too moist, with the sweetness of raisins and the heartiness of nuts.  If you don’t have parsnips, I am sure you could substitute carrot and still have stellar results.

 

Parsnip and Apple Muffins  

Makes 18 muffins

  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 cup whole white flour
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup almond milk (or any milk)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and grated
  • 1 large apple, peeled and grated (without the core, of course!)
Roast nuts at 350 until browned and fragrant, about 8 minutes.  Let cool and chop.

Grease muffin pans or line with paper liners.  Combine flours with baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.  Stir in raisins and nuts.  In separate bowl combine eggs, melted butter, milk, honey and vanilla.  Add into flour mixture along with parsnip and apple.  Stir until just mixed.

Fill muffin tins and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy!

What vegetables do you have to find creative uses for?

 

Dark Chocolate Pudding made with Coconut Milk and Honey

One of the benefits of all of the crazy things that have been going on with my health lately is that I have discovered  that I no longer have an allergy (or at least a reaction) to chocolate.

This is one thing that has been fun to add back to my diet (in small amounts of course) and I am enjoying being able to try out some new recipes that I would have had to pass by only a few short months ago.

But I am still eating mostly dairy-free, and now that I have managed to go several months without refined sugar I am reluctant to fall back on baking or cooking with it.

Enter Dark Chocolate Pudding made with coconut milk and honey.  Dairy free, and free of refined sugar.

This is a very rich pudding, slightly bitter, and full of dark chocolate flavour.  The original recipe called for just 2 tablespoons of honey, but I added a couple more for a slightly sweet dessert.  Hubby added spoonfuls of sugar and a drizzling of chocolate sauce to his bowl and it still wasn’t to his liking, so this might be one for dark chocolate fans only!

Dark Chocolate Pudding made with Coconut Milk and Honey

The original recipe comes from this cookbook .

  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate (I used an organic dark chocolate bar)
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 2 large egg yolks
Combine the first three ingredients with a few tablespoons of coconut milk and whisk together.  Heat the rest of the coconut milk over medium heat until simmering.  Stir in the chocolate until melted, then whisk in the cocoa powder mixture.  

Whisk egg yolks.  Pour in a small amount of the hot coconut milk mixture, whisking continuously, then pour the eggs into the pot and continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth and it coats the back of a spoon.  (I use a candy thermometer to make sure the pudding has reached at least 160 degrees to kill any bacteria that might be hiding in the egg yolks.)

Pour into ramekins or small bowls, place a piece of plastic wrap against the surface so it doesn’t form a skin, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Enjoy!


 

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies

I LOVE these cookies. I love what they don’t have in them (no oils, no refined sugar, no dairy, wheat) and I love what they do have in them (oats and spelt and honey and peanut butter), but most of all I just love them because they taste good. And Hubby gives them the thumbs up too, which is saying a lot for a generally healthy cookie.

They are based on this recipe, but adapted to exclude wheat and dairy.   The original recipe calls them “breakfast cookies” but I think they make a yummy dessert or snack too.  And change up the nut butter, the dried fruit, and the liquid and the possible variations are endless! (How about cashew apple raisin?  Or almond orange cranberry?)

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1/2 cup mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1  tbsp almond milk (or other liquid)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour (or other flour)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup raisins (or other dried fruit)

Combine the banana, peanut butter, honey, vanilla, and almond milk until smooth.  In a small bowl, stir together oats, flour, cinnamon and baking soda and then combine with the peanut butter banana mixture.  Fold in raisins.

Drop spoonfuls onto greased or parchment-lined pans, and flatten with a wet spatula.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Cool on wire racks.

Enjoy!

 

 

Applesauce Muffins – Gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and honey-sweetened

 

I am slowly getting the hang of this new way of eating.  One of my friends said to me the other day that watching me do this has made her more aware of just how much wheat she eats.  All I can say is, me too.  Bread, muffins, biscuits, cookies, fruit crisp, cake, oh how I miss my baking!

I have also discovered that there is definitely a learning curve to baking without wheat.  Especially when you also aren’t eating eggs.  But…ta-da!  Some moist, delicious, yummy, muffins!  The inspiration came from here.  I used ground flax instead of eggs and after reading a lot about guar gum and xanthan gum I have decided they aren’t something I want to add into my diet.  But chia seeds to the rescue!  I read here that you can substitute chia (or ground flax) for gums – hooray!  And so, muffins are back into my life!  I made this batch with raisins and almonds, but think I might experiment with some fresh fruit for the next batch.

Applesauce Muffins

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 water
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of ground flax seed mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons of water
  • 1/2 tsp chia seed mixed with 1 1/2 tsp hot water
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 cup nuts or seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit
Combine oil, applesauce, honey, water, flax and chia mixtures (this is very easy to do in a measuring cup!)  In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients.  Stir the wet mixture into the flour mixture until moistened.  Fill 6 greased muffin cups with batter and bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes, or until done.  Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack.  
Enjoy a happy snack!

Adventures in Allergy-Free Eating

Ever been sick and not known why?

Ever have a doctor tell you that since your blood work came back normal, you must be feeling fine?

Ever try to keep yourself really busy as a way to cope with constant pain that people in the medical field try to tell you doesn’t really exist?

This has been my life, on and off, since I was ten years old and caught my first “mystery illness.”  I still remember being awake late at night, with my stomach in knots and the room dipping and swaying as if I were on a boat in the ocean instead of in my bedroom.  And my mother read “Little Women” to me until I could finally escape into sleep.  No doctor we went to had any answers for us and we “waited it out” until months later the stomach cramps stopped and my bed was no longer a dipping and swaying yacht.

Fast forward 6 years and once again I was plagued by tummy troubles, insomnia, and nausea.  I missed a lot of school that year.  I saw a lot of doctors that year.  I read books on IBS.  I cut out dairy, then eggs, then red meat.  I learned how to stay really busy as a way to work through pain.  I learned to function on less sleep.  I finally cut out all meat and ate as a vegan vegetarian for many years.  I have experienced the easing of some symptoms, and then new ones appear.

It’s a roller coaster I don’t want to ride any more.

So I have taken matters into my own hands, and switched my MD for an ND (naturopathic doctor).  Although not covered by my health plan, it was worth every penny to have someone actually listen to what I had to say, look at all my symptoms together, and come up with a plan of action.

Which brings me to why I am posting about this here.  Because one of the action steps was to change drastically how I eat.  No more dairy.  No more wheat.  No more eggs.  No more refined sugars.  No processed foods.  No oils from nuts or seeds. And although at the moment this is a “for now” diet, and not a “forever” diet, it has certainly dictated the kinds of recipes I have been trying out lately and the kinds of foods coming out of my kitchen.  And I have been spending A LOT of time in the kitchen.

Spicy Bean and Quinoa Burger on a lettuce “bun.”

 

But it is not all a “no” diet.  It means yes to whole foods.  Yes to grains like rice and millet and quinoa.  Yes to fruits and veggies.  Yes to nuts and seeds and legumes.  Yes to coconut and olive oils.  Yes to honey and maple syrup.  Yes to trying fish, and grass-fed lamb, and duck, maybe even bison.  And although I do still sometimes stare at the fridge and wonder what I am possibly going to eat, for the most part there have been more cooking successes then failures, and, of course, I will be sharing my new culinary adventures with you.

For all those times I wanted to go sugar-free and failed, for years of trying to eat only whole, real foods, this has been trial by fire.  No easing in.  But it’ll be worth it.

So…are you ready to get creative in the kitchen this summer?  Here’s to healthy eating!

Fresh Thai Green Curry with vegetables and almonds over rice noodles

More Yummy Pinterest Recipes

As we are coming to the end of my Pinterest experiment I found I still had a lot of random photos of recipes I have tried, but that do not necessarily lump together well as I have done in other Pinterest posts.  So, in no particular order, here is some more Pinterest recipe love:

Skillet Lasagna

Considering how labour intensive lasagna making can be, this was quite easy.  I used cottage cheese instead of the Ricotta, and regular cheeses instead of the skim versions, but other than that made the recipe as written. It cooked quickly enough to be a week-might meal, and will definitely grace our dinner table again!

Pinned Here              Blogged Here

Taco Seasoning

The taco seasoning we used to buy at the grocery store was full of ingredients I could not pronounce (always a sign that something isn’t quite “real” food.)  So when it comes to seasoning meat or tofu for our favourite Mexican meals, I always make my own seasoning.  But having lost the recipe I was using (I am sure I put it somewhere “safe”) I quickly turned to Pinterest for a new one.  I liked this mix and will use it again!

Pinned Here            Blogged Here

Sourdough Burger Buns

I have been wanting to make my own burger buns for a while.  And I am always looking for uses for my sourdough starter.  In comes this recipe.  I actually have made this one twice.  The first time the buns were absolutely perfect. The second time they were a little crumbly.  But both times they tasted good – even Hubby ate them!

Pinned Here             Blogged Here

Raspberry Oatmeal Smoothie

I have become an oatmeal smoothie convert.  And the raspberry flavour is wonderful in this version.  I made mine with almond milk in place of the coconut water.  And I’ve been making variations on this recipe ever since….

Pinned Here            Blogged Here

Pineapple Coconut Popsicles

This was a bit of a vague recipe (how large a can of coconut or pineapple chunks?) but I just kind of threw things together and poured them in popsicle molds (and the leftover mix I put into a smoothie – yum!).  Both Hubby and I have been enjoying them on the hot sunny days we have been having.

Pinned Here             Blogged Here (scroll down to find the recipe for the popsicles)

Grain Free Brownies

Although I do not eat chocolate, Hubby does and loves it.  So a while back I started testing out some healthier versions for him.  This was the winner.  The base is black beans, but with all of the chocolaty goodness in there, you would never know. They are definitely better the second day (otherwise Hubby says they taste a bit “eggy”) and Hubby prefers them cold from the fridge.

Pinned Here             Blogged Here

That’s it!  I am going to reorganize my pin boards so that the recipes I have tried have their own boards, which will hopefully make them easier to find.  And then I will know what I still have yet to try…..

For the next three weeks, in the interest of improving my health,  I am going to be eating meat-free, dairy-free and wheat-free.  Anyone know of some great vegan and wheat-less recipes I should try?

 

“Pinterest”ing Sauces and Beverages

I am having so much fun working my way through my Pinterest boards.  The only problem is, just when I think I’ve made it through a whole bunch of them, I pin more!

Today I am going to share with you some of the sauces and drinks I have been experimenting with lately.  And this time – not one pin to remove from my pin boards!  That’s right, every single sauce and drink recipe I have tried so far is a keeper!  Go to love it when that happens! :)

Strawberry Lemonade

Sweetened with Stevia, this is a healthy, sugar-free drink for a hot summer day.  Both hubby and I loved it.  It was a little on the sour side after following the recipe (my frozen berries are a little bitter) but an extra bit of Stevia solved the problem.  I will be making this all summer long!

Pinned Here       Blogged Here

Sore Throat Tea

I often make a honey and lemon “tea” to soothe a sore throat, but had never thought to add cinnamon, ginger and mint.  I actually didn’t have any cinnamon on hand, but even the addition of the fresh ginger and a handful of mint from the garden added a little extra dimension to this already soothing drink.

Pinned Here      Blogged Here

Awesome Sauce

OK…that’s not its real name.  But hubby and I renamed it as its given name includes a word we try not to use in daily conversation.  Whatever you call it, it’s good.  There are two versions, the original and a chipotle.  I am partial to the heat and smokiness of the chipotle, hubby prefers the original.  Either is beautiful over a bowl of rice and veggies, or as a topping for a quinoa burger.

Original Pinned Here      Original Blogged Here          Chipotle Pinned Here      Chipotle Blogged Here

Peanut Sauce 

Many of you already know that my beloved hubby is not a big fan of vegetables.  I am discovering, though, that if I can find the right sauce, it makes a lot of the veggies I love to eat more palatable to him.  This thick, nutty, and slightly spicy peanut sauce had him eating rice, kale and green beans and loving it!  I would say it is a winner!    I found it took quite a bit more water than the recipe stated, and it was still a little thick, but I know I will be making this again and again.

Pinned Here      Blogged Here

Catalina Dressing

We enjoy a good taco salad around here.  And our recipe calls for Catalina dressing.  So when I saw this recipe for Catalina dressing, created by someone trying to please her husband’s fondness for a traditional taco salad, I knew I wanted to give it a try.  The photos I took were fuzzy, but the dressing (and salad) were a hit!

Pinned Here      Blogged Here

 

What have you been cooking (or pinning) lately?


Pinteresting Recipes – Main Meals

So it seems cooking through my Pinterest boards has extended into another month.  I’m ok with that.  There are so many great ideas filling up my boards (and I already have such a backlog of recipes to share with you!)

Once again, I have included links both to the pin itself, and to the site, so those of you who are not on Pinterest can check out the recipes too.

Quinoa Burgers

Pinned here.  Blogged here.

These were really good.  Mild tasting enough that even hubby enjoyed them on a burger bun with all of the fixings (as a side note, the burger buns were a pinterest recipe too, I’ll share those soon!)  I still have some stored in the freezer and they heart up well in the oven, too.

Baked Onion Rings

Pinned here.  Blogged here.

Onion rings are one of my guilty pleasures.  I don’t eat at fast food joints very often, but when I do, I want to eat at a place with onion rings.  Yum.  So I was quite excited to try out this baked version I could make at home.  The end result was good, crunchy, and full of onion flavour.  But they definitely tasted, um, healthier.  Which means I can enjoy them more often.  But I have to admit, I think I will still crave that greasy deep-fried taste.

Hail Caesar Salad

Pinned here.  Blogged here.

This is a recipe from the TV program “Eat, Shrink, and be Merry”  and it was darn good!  I grilled the chicken on the BBQ and it was beautiful, moist, and full of lemon flavour.  (My first attempt at BBQ chicken was a charred disaster so I was really proud of myself for this one!)  The caesar salad dressing was to die for.  Creamy and garlicky and so good.  Except that I used a really large garlic clove, which was a little too much for hubby.  And yes, we were still tasting garlic the next morning.  So next time I will cut back on the garlic a wee bit (but not too much!)  I also used homemade croutons (recipe to follow) instead of the store-bought they suggested.

Homemade Croutons

Pinned here.  Blogged here.

Making your own croutons is really easy.  And you don’t really need a recipe.  But sometimes I like guidelines (and then I feel free to do my own thing anyway!)  I liked the garlic herb combination on these.  But I did find mine took a lot less time to cook than the recipe stated (10 – 15 minutes, instead of the stated 20 – 30 minutes.)

Quinoa Mac and Cheese

Pinned here.  Blogged here.

I really enjoyed this unique dish.  It certainly had that unique quinoa flavour, but the cheesiness and crisp breadcrumbs on top were a nice addition.  Hubby enjoyed this one hot out of the oven, but did not appreciate it reheated in his lunch box the next day.  I liked it both the night of and as leftovers, so I would definitely make it again.  I halved the recipe for our small family and it worked out beautifully in and 8 x 8 pan.

Recipes I tried and am removing from my pin board:

Healthy Egg Salad      Pinned here.

I love egg salad.  And I am used to substituting yogurt for a large number of creamy things.  But this recipe just didn’t work for me.  Maybe it was the mustard flavour, and maybe just the tangy yogurt itself, but it was missing that traditional creamy egg-salad taste.

Other main meals on my pin board I have tried and loved:

Onion Gratin, peanut noodles, Best Ever Pea Soup, Spinach and Feta Filo Pie

Have you found any great recipes on Pinterest lately?  Feel free to leave links!

Pinteresting Breakfast Recipes

This month I have decided to work my way through some of the recipes I have pinned on Pinterest.  I am a great collector of recipes, and wanted to actually try some of these out before my boards got too big.

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, so seemed like a good place to start!  For each recipe I include a link to the original source (in case you aren’t on Pinterest) and the pin.

Overnight Oats

I absolutely love this recipe.  It was incredibly simple to put together, and it was so wonderful to wake up in the morning and have a hearty breakfast all ready to go.  I was a little worried that the oatmeal would be a strange texture but I needn’t have worried – smooth and creamy would be the best way to describe it!  I had mine with banana and a spoonful of mixed fruit jam – so good!  I did find it made enough for two, but it was just as good for breakfast the second day.  The second batch I mixed with coconut milk and pineapple, also very yummy.   Found here and pinned here.

Banana Oatmeal Smoothie

I love smoothies but I would never have thought to put oatmeal in one.  I halved the recipe so it would just serve one, and true to its promise I really did keep me filling full.  Rather than cook up oatmeal, I just soaked the oats in the yogurt overnight, like I did for the overnight oats.  I also added a little almond milk when I blended it to thin things out.  I will definitely be making this again!  Found here and pinned here.

Quinoa For Breakfast

I wasn’t sure I would like this one but was presently surprised.  I used quinoa I had left over from another meal, mixed it with almond milk, fresh pineapple and coconut.  Found here and pinned here.

Recipes I won’t make again

Pineapple Ginger Smoothie

Not all recipes are worth keeping, and this was one of them.  It certainly didn’t live up to its beautiful picture on Pinterest, and although I loved the ginger flavour, the pineapple flavour really didn’t come through, leaving it a little bland.  I love the idea of ginger in a smoothie and will definitely try that on my own.  Pinned here.  

More Yummy Breakfast Ideas from this Pin Board

A few of the recipes on this board I had already tried.

Sourdough Pancakes – truly the best sourdough pancake recipe I have tried!  Found here and pinned here.

Cheesy Potato Cakes  - with a little minced onion thrown in I think these are perfect.  Found here and pinned here.

Zucchini Waffles – like zucchini bread, only in a waffle.  Found here and pinned here.

Enjoy!  If you know of any other “pinteresting” breakfast recipes, feel free to link to them in the comments! :)

Fruit Snacks and Nut Snacks – Healthier Snack Foods

It seems to be all about food here at Artisan in the Woods this week.  I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and under motivated lately – does this ever happen to you?  But we do have to eat, so things are still happening in the kitchen! Here are two more favourites inspired by recipes in The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman.

We’ve been munching on these for the last week and they are the perfect snack (and we’ve even had them for dessert!)  Hubby likes nut snacks best, I’m more partial to the fruit, but they are both good.

Both call for cereal.  I almost never buy cereal but happened to have just bought one for hubby that he ended up not liking.  It was one of those cereals that is a mix of flakes and other assorted pieces of all shapes and sizes and it worked well, so I think just about any cereal would work.  Next time I might sub in some nuts and/or seeds or more dried fruit instead.  Hubby has also asked for me to make a batch of nut snacks with chocolate chips.  Not quite as healthy, but I am sure they would be good!

Fruit Snacks

Adapted from “Fruit and Cereal Bits” from The Food Matters Cookbook

  • 1 1/2 cups dried fruits  (include some soft fruits like dates, figs, or prunes)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • Water or juice, as needed
  • 1 cup cereal
  • shredded, unsweetened coconut (or cocoa)

Puree fruit, oil, and honey in food processor, adding water if necessary.    Fold in cereal.  Roll into balls and then roll in coconut.  Store in the fridge.

 

Nut Snacks

Adapted from “Crispy Rice Treats” from The Food Matters Cookbook

  • 2 cups cereal
  • 1 cup nut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts or seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried fruit
  • 1 tbsp spice (optional)  curry, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, etc.
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Combine.  Use wet hands to form into balls.  Roll in coconut.  Refrigerate.

What healthy snacks do you enjoy?

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