Mushroom “Tom Yum Thai” Soup February 25, 2008

Filed under: Soup's on,Thai — s mcdowall @ 1:58 am
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I love having sweet/savory/hot soup from any Thai restaurant … and I just got a whack of mushrooms on sale … so I thought why not whip some up at home (plus it is ridiculously fast and easy). There are endless variations, but sometimes the nice and simple version is all I crave.
2 cups broth
2 cups sliced fresh Mushrooms (white, oyster, or crimini)
1/2 tsp finely grated lime rind
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp “fish” sauce althernative (you can use the authentic fish sauce if you’re not a veggie)
1/2 tsp Asian chili paste
1 cup rice vermicelli noodles, broken in pieces (I’ve been using brown organic ones … yummers and a heathier option)
2 green onions, thinly sliced

1) In medium saucepan bring broth to boil, and add mushrooms, lime rind and juice, fish sauce and Asian chili paste.
2) Cover and cook over medium heat for about 5 min or until mushrooms are tender.
3) Stir in rice noodles and bring to boil for 2-3 minutes (or until noodles are soft).
4) Serve in bowls garnished with green onions.

*Omit noodles altogether and serve over cooked jasmine or rice of your choice.
*Add diced medium/firm chunked tofu, cooked chicken, or small cooked shrimp.
*To add some heat, use more chilli paste or throw in some hot peppers (well chopped).
*Bamboo shoots make a nice addition too. The canned kind are really good, and easy to find.


Granola – the quick and easy kind February 22, 2008

I just made this and if I could guess what heaven smells like, I would bet on the aroma my house is bathed in right now. This healthy and delicious granola recipe is easy to prepare and will leave you snubbing store bought impostors.
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/4 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup ground flax
1/2 cup dried cranberries (you can half this with raisins too)
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
3 tbsp nut butter (I used a combo of peanut and almond)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup honey or agave syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla

1) Preheat oven to 300F
2) Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3) Combine all wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
4) Add wet into dry, and throughly mix until evenly blended.
5) Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for approx. 40 min.
6) Cool and serve!

*Store at room temp – no need to refridgerate.
*This makes an awesome gift. Wrap it up in an air-tight Mason jar or other glass/plastic container. Now, aren’t you swell!?


Is that a bran muffin? Yes, and a wicked recipe…

Everyone cringes at the thought of bran and bran muffin recipes. Thoughts of prunes, bowels and loads of fat come to mind … to name a few. I’m here to change your mind and turn you on to a new kind of bran muffin. Super tasty, low in fat (about 1 gram each!!), and very healhty indeed. They are sweetened without sugar, and evenpack a really good vitamin punch (wheat bran is to thank)! And while you’re at it, you just might be helping yourself to lower high blood pressue, decrease your risk of diabetes, and satisfy that savoury taste you’ve been hankering for!

1 cup wheat bran
3/4 cup milk (skim, rice, soy – whatever you decide make it plain)
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp each of baking soda and powder
pinch of salt
1 lg egg, beaten
1/2 cup fat free vanilla yogurt
1/3 cup of honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup pecans (optional, but add a nice crunch and extra protein)

1) Preheat oven to 375F and line or grease a muffin pan.
2) Combine wheat bran and milk in a medium bowl and let soak for 5 min.
3) In a separate large bowl, combine all remaining dry ingredients.
4) In wheat bran bowl, mix in beaten egg, yogurt, honey, and vanilla until combined (you can add in the pecans here too).
5) Add wet ingredients into dry and stir until just combined (as with all muffin mixtures, do not over mix).
6) Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake for 18-20 (or until tops are springy).
7) Cool and serve!


Y’all come back here!

Filed under: Cheers — s mcdowall @ 2:49 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I haven’t updated the drinking section here in a while, and seeing as I was dreaming of hot, lazy summer days, a southern classic came to mind. For any others of you out there that adore the movie STEELE MAGNOLIAS as I do, you just might want to take a minute this weekend to enjoy a mint julep. I know, they don’t actually have a scene with a mint julep or any julep for that matter, but that’s not the point. Just picture weeping willow trees, fancy dresses and hand fans, and the dearest southern drawl.

You will need:
3 shots of some seriously premium BOURBON, 86 to 90 proof
½ cup finely shaved or crushed ICE
a little confectioner’s SUGAR (about a tsp)
1 shot of sparkling WATER
A handful of the freshest MINT leaves you can find this time of year

How to:
Step 1 = In a chilled old-fashioned glass, crush five or six mint leaves along with a tsp of sugar and an shot of sparkling water (after a minute or two, a thick, gorgeous paste will form).
Step 2 = Add half a cup of crushed ice and mix/mush for a minute longer.
Step 3 = Fill the chilled glass to 3/4 with more ice, then pour in three ounces of bourbon (or four, if it’s that kind of Tuesday).
Step 4 = Garnish with a few mint leaves and sip through a straw.
Step 5 = Enjoy y’all!!!!!!


Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti February 20, 2008

I cook a lot of squash, but interestingly enough, I’ve never made spaghetti squash for some reason. With a winter warmer and my love of Italian pasta dishes in mind, I came up with this little diddy. Coudln’t be easier, and after inhaling something like 4 portions to myself, I think I’ve found a new favourite!


Olive oil
1 spaghetti squash (about 1 1/2 lbs)
1 med. onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
5-6 white mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp each dried basil, oregano
1/4 tsp each of marjoram, thyme, and sage
5 to 6 medium tomatoes, chopped (or 1 can of diced tomatoes)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)

1) Cut squash in hlaf lengthwise, rub flesh side with olive oil, and cook flesh side down on a cookie tray in 400F oven until tender (about 40 minutes).
2) Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a sauce pan, and cook onion, mushrooms and garlic over medium heat until vegetables are tender.
3) Stir in tomatoes and herbs and simmer uncovered 5 minutes.
4) Remove squash from oven once done, and slightly cool.
5) Remove spaghetti-like squash strands with two forks, and toss with a tbsp of oil and cheese.
6) Spoon tomato mixture over squash, and serve immedately.

You can add any tomato based sauce you may have on hand, but keep it simple. The squash have a very buttery and creamy taste to it naturally, but you can also add a tsp of butter instead of olive oil to it if you’d like.


Bean-free buritto February 13, 2008

I love Mexican food, especially burittos, but sometimes I like to have a day sans beans. Here’s a deeeeelish recipe that I threw together last night to satisfy my craving for a little ole! It’s very similar to a heurvos rancheros, but you can skip the egg if you want, and could even add a little cheddar cheese to make it oooey-gooey.


Tortillas – 1 or 2 per person (I found a tasty jalepeno and corn variety recently – yum!)
Olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
5-6 medium fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium zuchinni, chopped
1 eggplant, sliced in 1cm rounds
1/2 pint fresh grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup salsa
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp hot sauce
1 tbsp italian herb mix
salt and peper to taste
1 egg per tortilla, scrambled (this is optional)

1) In a large sauce pan, saute onions, mushrooms, garlic, zuchinni in a bit of olive oil over medium heat for 3-5 min until onions are transparent.
2) Add tomatoes and herbs and continue cooking for another few minutes (tomatoes will slightly wrinkle).
3) Meanwhile, grill eggplant on BBQ or indoor grill until cooked (about 5 minutes), but not mushy.
4) Chop the cooked eggplant and add into sauce pan, along with salsa, kethcup , hot sauce and salt/pepper.
5) Cook till combined and heated through completely.
6) Turn toaster oven to ‘TOAST’ setting.
7) Lay scrambled egg onto tortilla, and add a few tbsp of veggie mixture on top.
8] Roll into burritto, and cook in toaster oven for 5-10 min (until desired crispy-ness).
9) Serve hot, with guacamole or sour cream on the side.


Lemony Loaf

A dense, quick and tasty loaf smothered in a lemony glaze. Yummers! You can make these into muffins as well. Freezes brilliantly! My all time favourite loaf/cake. Incredible.


1 1/2 cups rice flour (I used brown rice flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
grated rind of 1 medium lemon
1/2 cups milk (I used rice milk)

juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup white sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Add butter and cream together.
4. Beat in sugar gradually until light and fluffy.
5. Stir in eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition.
6. Mix in the lemon zest and combine.
7. Stir milk gradually into the main mixture, and pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
8. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean.
9. Mix lemon juice and sugar and spread over top of loaf immediately (you can poke holes all over the loaf if you want the glaze to seap inside)
10. Allow bread to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.
11. Slice and serve.

You can also make this into 3 mini loaves or a dozen medium sized muffins.