Sweet and Chewy Granola Bars April 5, 2010

Always on the hunt for tasty new versions of homemade and healthy bars, I love trying newly discovered, soon-to-be classics.  These oooey-gooey-chewy sweet nuthins will dazzle your tastebuds and satisfy your sweet-tooth.  They have some great ingredients, but as with all typical granola bars, are a wee bit high on the sugar factor – so no finishing the entire batch in one sittin’ ya hear?  Well, try not too at least … and if you falter (don’t feel guilty, these things are like crack) just up the laps around the park that night, or maybe shave off a glass of vino (oh for the love of Pete why did I just say that?).



3/4 cup oats (not instant)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup unsalted sunflower OR pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup spelt flour (you could substitute whole wheat)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground

Pinch of nutmeg OR Allspice

1/2 cup canola OR sunflower oil OR almond oil

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup dried blueberries (or whatever your fave dried berry is)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a square baking pan with parchment paper OR simply grease pan slightly.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt until well combined.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl combine canola oil, brown sugar, and maple syrup until  smooth then stir in egg and vanilla extract. 
  4. Combine dry mixture with wet until it just incorporated then add in dried blueberries.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and spread evenly, and bake bars until set (about 25-30 min). 
  6. Remove bars from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire, then cut into desired sizes and shapes and serve!

Much Ado About Mache: Avocado, Grapefruit & Mache Salad March 24, 2010

I am having a love affair lately with MACHE.  What’s that you say?  It’s a delicat and gorgeous little leaf that is soooo good for you and so yummers that you’ll be calling it old spinster spinach’s younger, prettier, healthier little sister.  It may not be readily available in your area (also goes by Lambs Lettuce), but if you find it…GET IT!  No regrets.  Trust me.  Why all the fuss? Mache is not only a natural anti-stresser, thanks to its high vitamin B9 content (160g B9 per 100g), but it is also has natural anti-fatigue and anti-depressive properties!  Brills!

Just take a look at this 100g breakdown:

* At 160mg, it contains almost half the recommended daily amount of vitamin B9

* Dairy-free?  No problem.  Mache has almost 40g of calcium.

* Low on the iron? 2.2 mg!

* With 39 mg of vitamin C, you can skip the sugary juice in the morn and not feel bad.

* 4g fibre = happy innerds!



1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

4-6 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 medium pink grapefruit, peeled, sectioned and de-membraned

1 medium avocado, sliced

2-3 cups mache (no stems)




For the mustard dressing =

In the salad bowl, mix mustard well with oil; add juice and continue to blend until thoroughly blended (salt to taste).

For the salad =

1) Place grapfruit sections and sliced avocado in a med-large bowl, then gradually add a few handfuls of mache leaves at a time and toss gently.

2) Pour dressing over and toss gently, then serve.


The Weekly Soup: Tomato Dill December 23, 2009

I went a little over zealous last week at the grocers with a sale of cherry tomatoes.  I am a sucker for a sale and when these little gems were 2 pints for $3 I just had to get some (okay more than some).  I then found myself with too many little red rubies staring at me every time I hit the kitchen. There was only so many Greek Salads I could eat in a week, so I decided to soup it.  I forgot how nicely dill and tomato go together.  This is a fresh style soup – and it can be served smooth or rustic – your choice.  Good for any time of year!!  I loved this with super crusty bread and tasted incredible the next day too.  I assume it would freeze pretty well, but mine didn’t make it that far. 



1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 TBSP canola or olive oil

1 tsp butter

2 medium tomatoes, sliced (or 1 pint of cherry tomatoes)

1 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

Pepper to taste

1/3 cup tomato paste

2 TBSP (all-purpose) flour

1 1/4 cups cold water, divided

1/3 cup cream

1 tsp minced fresh dill (or 1/2 tsp dried)



1) In a small saucepan, cook onion and garlic in oil and/or butter over low heat until translucent.

2) Add tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper, and cook over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, then remove from heat then stir in tomato paste.

3) In a separate small bowl, combine flour and 1/2 cup of water until smooth, stir into tomato mixture, then gradually stir in remaining water until smooth (you can add more water if you want a thinner consistency).

4) Return saucepan to heat and bring to a boil, then continue to cook and stir for 2-3 minutes longer.

5) Place a sieve over a large bowl, pour soup into sieve, and press with the back of a large spoon to remove tomato seeds and skin.  NOTE – you can skip this step if you want a more rustic or chunky soup.

6) Return puree to pan and add cream and dill, and cook over low heat just until heated through (do not boil!!!!!!!).

7) Serve HOT!


Healthy Peach Muffins August 27, 2009

It’s that time of year again where the fruit basket on the counter and the top shelf in my fridge is overrun with peaches.  Glorious, mouth-watering, chin dripping fresh Ontario Peaches.  Unfortunately, there are only so many I can eat in a day, and so I have had to find creative ways of using them all up.  Enter baking!  These are a healthy alternative to the usually fat-laden muffin realm, and if you’re feeling like you’re not in the peach zone, you could easily swap any berry of your choice here.  The fat here is replaced mostly with yogurt, so it’s a bit friendlier to your hips and tummy.  This batch was even 100% kid approved by my discerning neighbours, 8 and 5 respectively, and by my Grandpa, 89.  Now if that’s not an endorsement, I really don’t know what is.



2 cups flour (I used 1 cup rye flour, and 1 cup all purpose – but you could use rice or chickpea flour to make this Gluten-free)

1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 cup low-fat plain yogurt (you could use full fat or even peach flavoured if you want)

1/4 cup 1% or skim milk

2 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup salted butter, melted

1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (or even almonds)

2 cups fresh peaches, cut into very small pieces (skin on)



1) Preheat oven to 350°F, and place paper baking cups in muffin pans (or lightly grease pans).

2) Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon; set aside.

3) In a separate bowl, combine milk and yogurt; set aside.

4) Beat eggs and sugar at high speed for about 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy, then add melted butter and vanilla and beat until well blended, about 1 minute.

5) Add flour mixture alternately with milk mixture (start and finish with flour mixture), mixing only to completely combine, then stir in chopped nuts and peaches. DO NOT OVERMIX!

6) Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans, and bake on centre rack for 25-30 minutes (or until cake tester comes out clean).

7) Remove finished muffins from pans immediately, and cool on wire rack.



SOUPS UP YO! Potato-Leek & Brocolli-Cheddar April 21, 2009

Some people enjoy a TV marathon, some enjoy a movie marathon.  I seem to gravitate towards cooking marathons, and last night was no different.  I was in a soup frenzy, and happily spent a few wee hours abusing my brand spanking new Le Cruset stock pot.  The result was not one, but 2 separate batches of delicious, soup, much to the delight of my hungry cousin and fiance.  Lucky duckys.



1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil

2 leeks, white & light green parts washed and sliced into 1/4-inch slices

2 cups yellow onion, chopped

1/2 TSP sea salt

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 large Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled & cut into 1/2-inch cubes

4 cups veggie stock

1/2 cup white wine

2-3 tsp fresh rosemary leaves

pepper to taste


1.  Heat a LARGE soup pot over medium heat and add the oil.

2. Add the leeks, onion, and salt and sauté for about 5 min, stirring often, until  onion begins to turn translucent.

3. Add garlic and stir well – and cook for 1 min more.

4. Add potatoes, veggie stock and wine, cover, and bring to a boil – then reduce heat to simmer for about 20 min.

5. Remove soup from heat and using either an immersion stick to blend the soup in the pot OR ladle soup into a blender and blend soup with the fresh rosemary leaves until smooth and free of chunks.

6. Pour smooth soup back into pot (if in blender) and warm over low heat until heated through – serve hot with a sprinkling of fresh pepper and a grating of cheddar cheese on top for garnish.




1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil

1 head of broccoli, washed and sliced into 1/4-inch slices (florets and stems included)

2 cups yellow onion, chopped

1/2 TSP sea salt

1 clove garlic, minced

4 cups veggie stock

1/2 cup white wine

2/3 cup milk

1/2 cup old cheddar, shredded

salt and pepper to taste


1.  Heat a LARGE soup pot over medium heat and add the oil.

2. Add the onion and salt, and sauté for about 5 min, stirring often, until  onion begins to turn translucent.

3.  Add broccoli and stir well – and cook for 5 min more (until the broccoli is vibrantly green(.

4.  Add veggie stock and wine, cover, and bring to a boil – then reduce heat to simmer for about 10 min.

5. Remove soup from heat and using either an immersion stick to blend the soup in the pot OR ladle soup into a blender and blend soup  until smooth and free of large chunks.

6. Pour smooth soup back into pot (if in blender), add in milk and grated cheese and warm over low heat until cheese is melted and soup is heated through.

7.  Serve hot with an additional grating of cheddar cheese on top for garnish!



Blueberry Buckle August 13, 2008

An old-fashioned dessert with a modern VEGAN twist. This goes amazingly with ice-cream or a dollup of home-made whip cream (obviously not vegan at that point then). Use spelt or rice flower to make nice with your gluten free friends.



3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or spelt flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

5-6 tbsp canola oil


1 cup whole wheat pastry or spelt flour

1 cup regular flour

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup canola oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

4 cups fresh blueberries, washed and dried

1) Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9-inch spring-form pan ( you can also wrap bottom with foil for easier removal).

2) Topping: Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in bowl and stir in oil 1 tbsp at a time until mixture looks crumbly (you may not need all the oil).

3) Cake: Sift flours and baking powder into bowl, and in a separate bowl whisk together syrup, oil, vanilla and salt.

4) Stir syrup mixture into flour mixture, then gently fold in berries.

5) Pour cake batter in prepared pan, then sprinkle topping over top.

6) Bake for 70 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

7) Cool for at least 30 minutes on wire rack, then unmold, and serve.

– dash a few blueberries around the ‘buckle’ when plating
– drizzle a few drops of maple syrup or honey over top for that really sweet tooth of yours
– can be re-heated slightly in the micorwave
– freezes well ONLY if cooled completely, then securely wrapped in plastic (but only for a few weeks tops)