Tag Archives: food

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.


What vegetables do you have to find creative uses for?


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!

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! :)

Curried Rice with Apples and Coconut

I have been having a great time looking at recipes in The Food Matters Cookbook.  I unfortunately have not been spending as much time cooking as I have reading! (Do you ever have those weeks?)  But I do have one amazingly delicious recipe to share.  This is a baked rice, cooked in coconut milk, seasoned with fragrant spices, and with the addition of juicy pieces of apple.  This is the first time I have ever baked rice, as opposed to cooking it on the stove, and I must admit I was a little sceptical. (Especially since the coconut milk I used was a little thicker than the brand I usually buy…)  But I need not have worried.  The rice was beautifully cooked, fragrant, and delicious.  I know I have found a good rice dish when hubby isn’t tempted to smother it in some type of sauce. And this was a winner!  There were even exclamations of “This is amazing!” a the table.   It will definitely be added to the list of recipes I make again and again.  (and I can’t wait to try more recipes from the book!)

Baked Curried Rice with Apples and Coconut

From the Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • salt and pepper
  • 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tart apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I used what we had frozen from our summer garden)
  • 1/4 cup yogurt, optional (I did not add any to my rice)
You will need an oven proof pot with a lid to make this recipe.  Turn your oven on and set to 350 degrees.  Heat the oil in the pot and stir in the curry and ginger, stirring for a minute or so.  Add in the rice and salt and pepper, and stir that until everything is nice and fragrant and shiny.
Add in 1 3/4 cup coconut milk.  Bring to a boil, cover and put in the oven for 45 minutes.
While the rice is cooking, toast the coconut in a dry skillet until lightly brown.  (Do not walk away while you do this or, like me, you will end up having to do it twice!) :)
Take your rice out of the oven and stir in  the coconut, apples, and cilantro.  Pop the lid back on and let it sit for about ten minutes.
Serve with yogurt, if desired.

Cookbook Review: Ripe From Around Here

I have spent all March cooking from this cookbook:

Ripe From Around Here: A Vegan Guide to Local, Sustainable Eating (No Matter Where You Live) by Jae Steele.

I shared with you some of my culinary adventures with Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes, Roasted Applesauce, West African Stew, and, what I called, the Best Ever Vegetarian Split Pea Soup.

I loved all of these recipes and I know I will make them again and again.

I also tried several other recipes from the book with mixed results.

Oatmeal Raisin muffins were delicious, but crumbly.  We made the most of their crumbly nature by cutting them in half and using them like the biscuit in strawberry shortcake, topping them with yogurt and berries.

I was really excited to try the baked beans, as we love our baked beans around here, but sadly they just didn’t work out for us.  I kept having to add a lot of extra water as they thickened to the point of burning, and they ended up lacking in flavour.

Coconut Curry with Seasonal Veg was also disappointing.  In this case, it may not be the recipe’s fault, as I had to play around with the spices a bit to use what I had on hand.  We ate the curry with “Naked Oats” also called “Rice of the Prairies” which was also a new venture for us.

Coconut Curry with Seasonal Veggies over Rice of the Prairies


Ginger Miso Almond sauce was another recipe that I wasn’t happy with – until I changed a few things. :)   I found the original recipe to be overpowered by the almond butter (but someone else might think it’s fine!)  It’s not perfect for us yet, but it’s a recipe worth playing around with.

There are still several other recipes in the book I want to explore.  I want to try making my own oat and nut milks, and have all the ingredients for making the dried fruit compote, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet.  And because this book works with seasonal ingredients, I only made recipes that used winter ingredients.  There are so many other recipes I want to try when our garden is producing again, including Blueberry Peach Pancakes, Raspberry Millet Muffins, Herb Garden Hummus, Homemade Ketchup, White Bean and Lovage Soup, Roasted Fiddleheads with Garlic, and two different Pad Thai recipes, to name a few.

Curried Golden Split Pea Soup


Despite a few so-so recipes, I generally loved this book.  I especially love the way it is organized.  So many cookbooks that focus on seasonal ingredients are organized by season.  This one is organized like a traditional cookbook, but uses symbols beside each recipe to show you in what season the ingredients will be available.  I like the interesting descriptions for each recipe (it’s fun knowing the history behind things!), and like so many vegan cookbooks, it is packed with other useful information, such as how to start your own vermicomposter, which house plants to buy to purify the air inside your home, and recipes for simple household cleaners.  The fact that it is Canadian makes it even more useful to me, as it is based on seasonal ingredients I can find right here (and the author does an excellent job of offering a wide variety of produce, and mentioning when a certain ingredient might not be available locally.)  I am sure anyone in the Northern part of the United States, with their similar growing season, would find the same thing.

The recipes are not overly fussy, although some look quite beautiful, which makes this a perfect, all-around cookbook.  And although it is a vegan cookbook, I think the recipes have appeal for a much wider audience (after all, my meat-loving hubby enjoyed these dishes too!)  The recipes are very easy to adapt to your own tastes and preferences (I will admit to using butter and milk when trying out some of the recipes!)

This is a book I will definitely keep out of the library as long as I can! :)  And when the librarians won’t let me keep it any longer, it will definitely be added to my “to buy” list.

This month I am cooking my way through “The Food Matters Cookbook” by Mark Bittman.   I was inspired by the Food Matters Project and can’t wait to try out some of the recipes!

Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes

It is hard to believe the end of the month has come so quickly!  I have had a lot of fun cooking my way through Ripe from Around Here, and this will be the last recipe I post (although I have tried many, many more!) before the final review this week-end!

I am a huge pancake fan.  So when I discovered a pancake recipe in the cookbook, it was a definite “must try.”

I loved the lemony flavour of these pancakes, and although I at first was a little sceptical of poppyseed pancakes, I loved the final result and will definitely be making these again.

Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes  (from Ripe from Around Here)

  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup poppyseeds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about one lemon)
Begin by zesting your lemon.  If you have never done this before, it is really quite easy if you have the right tools.  For years I used this:

This type of zester does tend to give you longer lengths of zest, but it is easy to chop them finer with a knife if you need to.  Although I still use this tool now and again, I most often reach for this:

I love this tool for grating ginger just as much as I love it for zesting citrus.  It is sharp, so you do have to be careful, but it consistently creates beautiful, fine, zest.

Now that your lemon is naked, it’s time to juice it.  There are two tools I usually choose for this job:

The wooden tool is a reamer.  You simply put it into half of the fruit and twist.  You actually do the very same thing with the fork.  It’s a little harder to extract all the juice, but definitely do-able!

Ok…now that you have your zest and juice ready, you are ready to mix together your pancakes.

Place all of the dry ingredients (the first five) in a large bowl and mix well.  Add the wet ingredients (except for the juice and zest) and gently mix together until the flour is mixed in.  Then stir in the lemon zest and juice.

Cook on a greased pan until golden brown on both sides.  (You know it’s time to flip when the sides seam set and there are bubbles starting to form.)  If your pancakes are darker than you would like them – don’t panic!  Just turn the heat down and try again.

These pancakes are tasty served with fruit on top, a dollop of yoghurt, and a drizzle of maple syrup.   They are also yummy heated up the next day (or even grabbed as a snack right out of the refrigerator), just as they are.




Roasted Applesauce

Here is another amazing (and simple!) recipe from Ripe from Around Here.

Applesauce is pretty standard fare around here.  It often finds its way into baking, and I also enjoy it for a snack or dessert.  I have always made it the same way – peel and chop the apples, put them in a pot and simmer until done.

But this recipe puts a new twist on things by making the sauce out of apples that are roasted in the oven, then put into a blender.  The recipe with variations can be found on the author’s website, here.

Begin with peeling and chopping your apples.  She suggests using two different varieties, I made mine with Spartan and Cortland as they are two varieties that are still available locally grown.

Lay them out on a baking sheet, lined with parchment, drizzle with fresh lemon juice and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Pull them out and stir and flip the pieces of apple over, then bake for another 25 minutes.

Give it a few minutes to cool off, then purée in the blender.

This is absolutely the smoothest applesauce I have ever eaten.  And yummy.  I will definitely be making applesauce this way again and again!

What is your favourite way to make applesauce?

Sweet Potato Cookies

I was lucky enough to enjoy two Christmas dinners this year with all of the trimmings.  One with my husband’s family on Christmas day, and one with all of my family on New Years Day.

In my family, Christmas is the one time of year when there is not a bit of room in the fridge, and the fridge in the basement gets stuffed full too.  Dinner is always a feast, with lots of leftovers (which we like to call “encore presentations.”)

There are a few creative cooks in my family, and we enjoyed many variations on the theme, with lots of creative dishes featuring key ingredients found in various containers in the fridge. 

But there were still sweet potatoes left over.  I thought of making muffins, but we already had sweet potato bannock as well as several other types of bread.  I thought of making some type of fritter with them (maybe with some finely diced apple and cinnamon?), but as I had just made a batch of fritters with the white potatoes, it seemed like something else would be better suited.  (although I kind of like the idea of an apple/sweet potato fritter and might still try it sometime….)  In the end, I went looking for a recipe for Sweet Potato cookies, as with several cookie monsters in the house, our Christmas cookie selection was quickly dwindling.

I found a recipe, made a few changes (of course) and yum!  We had some beautiful, moist, cookies.  I especially enjoyed them warm for the oven, but they kept well in a cookie tin for a few days (and the sweet potato flavour intensified as they aged.)

Sweet Potato Cookies

based on this recipe

  • 1 cup cooked, mashed, sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Turn oven to 375.  Mix potato, milk, butter and egg and beat until smooth.  Stir in remaining ingredients.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet (or cook on a non-stick mat).  Bake for 15 minutes. 




I am very influenced by the books I read and the movies I watch.  I am not sure whether it is because I have such a wild imagination, or if I just love a good story, but I come out feeling like I know the characters personally (or wish I did.)

For instance, after seeing “You’ve Got Mail” I really wanted to open a bookshop (I know, I know, in the movie the bookstore goes out of business, but it didn’t stop me wanting to have one of my own!)

Reading “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy had me wanting to throw on an elven cloak and head out on an adventure. 

And let’s not begin talking Harry Potter….. :)

Today, while working on a crochet project, I sat down and watched Julie & Julia.

You have perhaps already guessed what I feel inspired to do.  Read more about Julia Child, try some recipes from her cookbook, write a blog about it (oh, wait, that’s already been done….)

What it really reminded me of was how much I enjoy cooking and reading cookbooks, and how I really would like to do more of it again.  I never actually finished working my way through my Nana’s recipes, and I also have a shelf full of cookbooks with delicious recipes just waiting to try.

Not so long ago, I used to try to make one new recipe each week.  I did this for a long time, but when life is busy sometimes it is just easier to go with the old standbys.  But I am inspired today to get back in the habit of trying new things.  It probably won’t be Beef Bourguignon, but hopefully it will still have me saying “Bon Appetit!”

Do you ever get inspired by a movie?

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