Saturday, 23 November 2013

Back to Basics: Homemade Applesauce in Half an Hour!

My sister’s mother-in-law has several apple trees in her yard which means every fall I get a big bag of yummy organic apples. Some of the apples are, well, how can I put this? Not pretty. And maybe a bit mushy, and there might be a worm or two enjoying the fruit. One of my favourite things to do with this bounty (sans the wormy ones) is to make applesauce.  The lovely looking apples make their way into something more showy, like a beautiful apple upside-down cake.  But that's for another post.
 I love that I know what’s in it my homemade applesauce, and my daughter loves getting it in her lunch as a ‘treat’.  Applesauce is also a great way to use up apples that are just getting a bit soft.

If you choose to, you can peel the apples before you make the sauce or leave the peels on and then pull them out after it's cooked.  I usually just peel them first unless the skins are super smooth.  I also find that, depending on the type of apples used, sugar is often not needed.  Just taste it first and then decide.

Homemade Applesauce

  • 6 medium organic apples
  • Stick of cinnamon or ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2-4 TBSP cane sugar or coconut sugar (if needed)
  1. Chop and core the apples, you can leave the peels on if you like.  Put them in a medium sized saucepan over a medium heat.  Add the cinnamon stick or powder.
  2. Once lots of juice is running out of the apples turn down to a low heat.  Taste to see if you need sugar and stir it in now if you do. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the cinnamon stick and any peels and mash.

    I make heaps of applesauce and freeze it in 1/2 cup portions for snacks and recipes.  I have never had it in the freezer longer than about 3 months but I would think it will be good for up to six.  


Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Pumpkin Spice Mix


Why buy Pumpkin Spice Mix at the store when you probably have all the ingredients you need right in your pantry? Making this mix could not be easier and it contains no extra junk or mystery ingredients.  All you have to do is find a nice jar with a lid and put all the spices in and voila, pumpkin spice mix.  It's that easy. Really, I can't believe it took me so long to make my own.  Quite honestly I feel like a bit of a sucker for buying the packaged stuff.  Don't feel like a sucker. Join me on the "Aren't I clever I made my own Pumpkin Spice Mix" team.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Festive Holiday Granola with Pumpkin and Cardamom

I discovered this recipe when I was looking for something new and delicious to make with pumpkin puree.  I changed it up a bit to reflect Grandma's real food outlook and gave it a new name.  I think it tastes like Christmas and it would make a wonderful homemade gift in a simple canning jar with a beautiful bow.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Pumpkin Muffins

One of the joys of autumn is the many beautiful varieties of pumpkin.  I love them all, not to mention the fabulous tasty treats we can make with the rich sweet flesh hiding inside.  I prefer to make my own puree for a few reasons (how to make your own homemade pumpkin puree).  One, I know what's in it. Two, I don't have to worry about BPAs leeching into my food (post on BPAs). And three, it fills the house with a wonderful smell that  just screams Autumn!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Pumpkin time - Make your own Pumpkin Puree


 Pumpkin time! 

On our recent trip to the pumpkin patch I decided to try a couple of different varieties.  I fell in love with a beautiful red pumpkin, a French variety called Rouge Vif d Etampes, and had to have it.  The green one, that my daughter calls "the brain" pumpkin, is actually called a Triamble.  Both are good for Halloween and for eating so they came home and sat on our porch for a few days and then came inside to warm up, in my oven!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Strawberry Vanilla Crumble Pie (Gluten Free)

Strawberry Time! 
 A few days ago I went strawberry picking for the very first time.  The adults picked as much as we could while the kids played wagon races and ate as much as they picked.  The sun was out and there was ice-cream for everyone when we finished. If you have never gone berry picking before I highly recommend it.  What a great day.  And best of all we had loads of berries to eat.  So when I got home I created this little number.  I call it Strawberry Vanilla Crumble Pie.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Why My Daugher Won't Be Selling Girl Guide Cookies and How You Can Help to Change Things.

Last year my daughter joined the Girl Guides of Canada.  She loves going to Brownies and I love the experiences that she has there.  She learns about safety, giving to her community, and respect for herself, her friends and their environment. She has great role-models and loads of fun.  Many of the camps and other activities that they do are paid for by weekly dues, by parents, and significantly by the sale of cookies.  Cookie sales are a vital part of the Girl Guides.  Without the sale of cookies many things the Girl Guides do would not exist.
So why did I tell my daughter that she can't sell cookies next year?  Simple: they are full of GMOs.  I spend much of my day avoiding GMOs, helping my daughter avoid GMOs, and explaining to others why they should avoid GMOS.  I simply cannot then turn around and ask my daughter to sell them to her friends and family.

So what to do?  Girl Guides needs the money they make from cookie sales to keep the organization going, but selling GMOs is not an option for our family and I imagine for many others as well. 

Enter Linda Cirella, a mom and Guide Leader from Victoria BC.  Linda wants to support Girl Guides but doesn't want to sell cookies full of GMOs.  Her solution?  Change the cookies. And to that end she has started a petition to the Girl Guides of Canada to remove the GMOs.
I have signed the petition and I encourage you to do the same. 
Just follow this link and help the Girl Guides of Canada to see that GMOs are an important issue and that selling unhealthy food is no way for this esteemed organization to make money. 
Thank you for your support and be sure to share this with your friends and ask them to sign too!


It has come to my attention, through the comments below, that I have neglected to make clear that we are financially compensating our Brownie Unit in lieu of selling cookies. We consider it our responsibility to pay for our daughters activities and would not expect the other parents/girls to have to pick up our financial slack, so to speak.  We adore the Brownies and The Girl Guides of Canada.  It's the GMOs that we abhor.

I have also attached a photo of the ingredient list from the back of the GG Cookie box.  My grandma would not recognize most of those ingredients.

Friday, 21 June 2013

How's Your Hummus Mojo?

I lost my hummus mojo about 2 years ago. No matter what I did I couldn’t make a decent hummus. I tried adding red pepper, chili, yogurt, more garlic. Nothing worked.   So, last week I started looking for some inspiration and lucky for me I found a great looking recipe in an old copy of Vegetarian Times Magazine.  I was so excited to try it.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Sesame Asparagus Spears


I love these little gems.  I serve them in the spring and summer as a nice cold appetiser or as a side with a BBQ. They are super easy to make and look quite impressive.  I love the salty crispness. Yum.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

How Do You Make Gluten-Free Pancakes that Actually Taste Good?

I had heard about these pancakes. How easy they were to make.  How good they tasted. And I have to say I was suspicious.  I didn’t think they would be any good.  You see, they are made without flour. No flour at all.  No almond flour, no oats, nothing.  The basic recipe calls for only two ingredients. Two! 

Monday, 22 April 2013

Commercial Canned Foods and BPA

We all eat canned food, it's something at we are all used to and comfortable with. It's super convenient and most of us couldn’t imagine doing without at least one item that comes in a can.  Canned foods have been around for generations so why is it a problem now?  The answer is a resin coating that lines the cans.  Almost all food cans are lined with a resin that contains Bisphenol A (BPA).  That means that BPA, an endocrine disruptor which can mimic estrogen, may leach into the food in those cans and then into the people eating that food.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Delicious Flourless Two-Bite Brownies

OK, these things are delicious and they also just happen to be gluten free.  I’d eat these babies all day long if I could.  The almond flour (also called almond meal) gives them that yummy brownie texture that makes your mouth want more!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Taco Tuesday with Homemade Re-fried Beans

Almost every week we have Taco Tuesday. Sometimes we have it as a vegetarian meal or sometimes I’ll include some ground turkey or beef cooked with a bit of chili powder. It is a great meal that kids love because they can add all the ingredients themselves.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Garden Pie Casserole

This is my vegetarian version of Sheppard’s Pie. It is a great choice for Meatless Monday, or any other day of the week for that matter. It strikes that fine balance between healthy goodness and yummy buttery potatoes cooked to a golden crisp.  Ahhhh…. So good.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Nut-Free Gluten-Free Granola Bars

I have been looking for a ‘granola’ type bar that I can send to my daughter’s nut-free school and that my gluten-free husband can also eat.  I found about a dozen different recipes and couldn’t find what I wanted.  I finally came upon one from that I tweaked just a bit to make  "Grandma" friendly. No sulphur in the dried fruit and no Soy Lecithin in the chocolate.  I used a brand of organic chocolate chips that don’t have soy in them at all. There are no oats in this recipe so I guess technically these are not granola bars but .... po-tae-toe, pot-ta-toe. . .

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Veggie Chili

Veggie Chili is a hearty way to have big bowl of comfort food during long cold nights and leftovers make a great addition to homemade nachos or a taco salad. Served with crutsy bread, rice or organic corn chips it's perfect.  Because I don’t make mine too spicy (for young eaters) we always have hot sauce and/or chili flakes on the table for those with more adventurous taste buds.  You can also serve it with lime wedges and yogurt. 

Monday, 4 March 2013

Back to Basics - Cooking Beans From Scratch

Many people think that cooking dried beans is difficult and time consuming.  In fact cooking your own dried beans from scratch is very easy and requires almost nothing of the cook. A nice bonus is of course that they are extremely economical.  But for me the most important reason to cook beans from scratch is to avoid BPA in the cans.  So let's get started.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Canning Tomatoes

Why would I can my own tomatoes?  Well, almost all food cans have Bisphenol A (BPA) in the lining.  That means that BPA, an endocrine disruptor which can mimic estrogen, may leach into the food in those cans and then into the people eating that food. Canada became the first country to declare BPA a toxic substance but still allows it to be used in cans.  I cannot imagine why.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Rich and Chewy Coconut Macaroons


This is my most requested recipe, and it is no surprise why. Macaroons are not only rich and chewy deliciousness, they are also naturally gluten free and (big secret)….. they are EASY to make. When my husband brought them to work his colleagues asked if the recipe was on the blog. So, for them and for the many others who have asked, here it is.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Creamy Carrot Soup

This is the perfect comfort food for long cold winter nights.  Carrots have just the right amount of sweetness that couples with the ginger and curry to make my mouth water.  This is a filling soup and can be served as a main dish with some yummy crusty bread or homemade croutons. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Butternut Squash and Red Chard Rissoto

This was my first foray into the world of risotto and I was a bit apprehensive.  After all risotto is not a dish that you can dash off in 20 minutes. As it turns out it really wasn’t difficult, just a bit time consuming.  But what a reward! A creamy, delicious and comforting dish bursting with colour and flavour.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Cocoa Almond Yummies

Some people call them Larabars or energy bars. I call them Cocoa Almond Yummies and I don’t eat them for workout fuel although I’m sure you could.  These puppies are dairy free, gluten free, soy free and delicious.  Whenever I make a batch of these in this house they are gone, gone, gone.  I love that they are a ‘treat’ but have no junk in them.  Plus they are as about as easy to make as you can imagine.  Four simple ingredients go in the blender and then in the fridge.  That’s it.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Veggie Packed Pasta and Cheese

I have always made my daughter’s mac and cheese from scratch and I’ve always added veggies to it. She thinks that “other stuff”, the kind that comes in the box is “yuck”.  I have to agree with her.  About a year ago I decided to try the old cauliflower trick, adding cauliflower to the cheese sauce.  I really didn’t think it was going to fly because she HATES cauliflower. 

It totally worked.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Two Types of Quiche


The other day we had some friends over for dinner and I decided to make a couple of quiche.  I like quiche because they are quick to make and you and use almost any type of filling you have on hand.  I wanted to make one vegetarian and one meat option so I went with spinach and feta and ham and broccoli.  You can use anything you have in the fridge.  Mix two types cheeses together, add caramelized onion, sundried tomatoes, or asparagus, whatever you have.  Just stick to the basic quantities of egg and milk and try something new!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Easiest Banana Bread Ever


Not only is this the easiest banana bread ever it is also yummy, moist and completely addictive. I don’t know where I got the original recipe but I am eternally grateful to the author. I have tweaked it, hugely decreasing the sugar and adding in some brown flour. Most recipes do not need nearly as much sugar as called for. This one originally called for 1 whole cup of sugar. Way too much in my opinion especially since overripe bananas are already quite sweet. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does.  Enjoy!