Green Goddess Salad

Green Goddess Salad


I haven`t updated lately due to a combination of house hunting, moving and feeling rather uninspired to make new things.  Finally, we are settled in our new place and I ordered a subscription to my favourite food magazine to help motivate me to cook more new things.

This salad was the perfect side dish for some barbecued chicken.  Apparently, it was a trendy salad in the seventies.  It was so delicious.  I especially liked the dressing which tasted very fresh.   While I liked the bacon, you could easily leave it off to make the salad vegetarian and lower in fat.

Recipe for Green Goddess Salad

Cook 4 slices of bacon until crispy.  Set aside until cool and either crumble them or cut into smaller pieces.  I prefer a larger piece of bacon as you can see from the picture.

In a large bowl, toss 5 oz of fresh spinach with 3 diced avocados and 1/2 cup of fresh or defrosted frozen peas.

In a food processor or blender, blend 2 green onions (the whole thing) with the juice from half a lemon, 2 tbs of mayonnaise, 2 tbs of water and a handful each of fresh basil and fresh chives.

Drizzle the spinach mixture with the dressing and top with the chopped or crumbled bacon.

This recipe serves 4 people with 360 calories per serving.  It contains 7 g of protein, 13 g of fiber and a huge amount of vitamins and minerals.

Kids’ Verdict

The older two liked it a lot.  The youngest one prefers his veggies to be separated and not coated with dressing of any kind.

Lentil-Rice Salad

Lentil-Rice Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

I saw the original version of this because a friend posted it on Facebook.  It’s from a blog called Oh She Glows.  I have tried a few of her recipes and enjoyed them all.  Her photos are beautiful. This was very easy to make, cheap and the leftovers made a fantastic lunch.  I served it with some pita bread at suppertime.

I would estimate this salad to serve 5-6.  Based on 6 servings, each serving contains 325 calories, 16 g of protein, 12 g of fiber and is a good source of essentially all the vitamins and minerals.

Recipe for Lentil-Rice Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

Bring 2 cups of water to boil.  Once it’s boiling, turn down the heat and add 1 cup of brown rice.  Cook for 35-45 minutes or until the rice is done.  At the same time, bring 3 cups of water to boil in another pot.  Once that pot is boiling, add 1 cup of dried green lentils and cook until they are tender.  Drain the lentils and set both the rice and lentils aside until you are ready for them.  You could definitely cook these the night before and refrigerate them until supper the next day.

Chop up 2-3 cups of veggies of your choice.  I did red cabbage, bok choy and an orange pepper.  Heat some olive oil in a skillet and saute the veggies until they are tender.  Add to the  rice and lentils.

Squeeze the juice from 2 lemons.  Place in a food processor with 1/4 cup tahini, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 2-3 tbs olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic and a pinch of salt.  Blend until smooth and add to the rice/lentil mixture.  Toss until everything is well-coated with the dressing and serve.

Kids’ Verdict

None of them wanted to try this.  They have this bizarre dislike of rice and other cooked grains.  Their father and I gleefully ate their shares.

Chocolate Beet Cake

Chocolate Beet Cake

photo (26)I spotted this in a restaurant recently and was keen to try it but it wasn’t gluten-free.  I did a search for some recipes and found a few different gluten-free options.  I thought it was appropriate for Valentine’s Day with the combination of red beets and traditional chocolate.

This is a great recipe to make with kids.  They really enjoyed watching the egg whites getting fluffy and learning about soft peaks versus stiff peaks.  The flavour of this cake is lovely and rich.   Unfortunately, the beets were shredded too coarsely and you got strings of beet in the cake.   So, you either need to shred it finely or be okay with that kind of texture.  If it came down to this cake or my chocolate zucchini cake, the chocolate zucchini cake wins hands down.

The recipe serves 12 with each serving containing 225 calories, 6 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fiber.  The ground nuts add a nice nutritional punch to it.

Recipe for Chocolate Beet Cake

Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare a springform pan (20 cm).

Melt 200 g of dark chocolate in a double boiler or microwave and stir until smooth.  Set aside to cool.

Grate 250 g of peeled beets in a food processor or with a hand grater.  Move into a large mixing bowl.  Separate 4 large eggs and add the yolks to the beets.  Place the whites in a large bowl.

Add 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 120 g of ground almonds, 1 tbs of cocoa powder, 1 tsp of baking powder and the melted chocolate to the beets.  Stir until well-mixed.

With an electric mixture, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and gently fold into the beet mixture.  Pour into the springform pan and spread so that it’s even.  Bake for 50 minutes or until skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cool for a few minutes and then turn out onto plate.  We served it with a dollop of vanilla yogurt but whipped cream would be nice too.

Kids’ Verdict

The two year old doesn’t like chocolate so he wouldn’t try it.  The older girls didn’t like the texture of the beets and left their pieces on the table after a bite or two.

Maple Pecan Bourbon Squares

Maple Pecan Bourbon Squares

Maple Pecan Bourbon Squares

Maple Pecan Bourbon Squares

This is a nice decadent post to end the year with before people start their New Year’s resolutions.  I made these because my husband wanted pecan pie but I find GF pie crust to be a disappointment most of the time.

These were incredible.  Rich but not too sweet.  You need to wait until they are completely cool before slicing them or they fall apart.  The recipe makes 16 servings.  Each piece contains 270 calories, 3 g of protein, 2 g of fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals due to the large quantity of nuts.

Recipe for Maple Pecan Bourbon Squares

Preheat oven to 350 F and line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper.

In a food processor, pulse 1 cup of GF all-purpose flour with 2 tbs of white sugar, 2 tbs brown sugar, 1 tsp xanthan gum and 1/4 tsp cinnamon.  Add 1/3 cup of butter and pulse until the butter is integrated into the flour.  It will look a bit like the texture of oats.  Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and pat down until it appears flat.  Bake for 10 minutes and then remove from oven and set aside.

In a saucepan, melt 1/3 cup of butter with 2/3 cup of white sugar and 2/3 cup of maple syrup.  Whisk until it’s well-mixed and the butter is completely melted.  Remove from heat and whisk in 2 eggs, 2 tsp vanilla and 1 tbs of bourbon.  Add 2 cups of coarsely chopped pecans and stir until the pecans are coated with the syrup mixture.  Pour onto the crust and bake for 35 minutes or until the center is set.

Cool and then slice into squares.

Kids’ Verdict

One loved them, one didn’t care for them and one wasn’t interested in trying them.

Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad

Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad

photo (22)I made this a few weeks ago.  We joined a community-supported agriculture program this summer so we are rich in beets and carrots. It’s been great getting the fresh veggie delivery every 2 weeks but I need to be a bit more imaginative as I’m not used to eating so many beets.

The recipe is from Martha Stewart’s new cookbook Meatless which I don’t own but would like to (if anyone’s looking to get me a Christmas gift).  😉 I was a vegetarian for a long time and I love vegetarian cookbooks for fresh ideas on meatless meal planning.

My husband and I loved this.  I’m planning to make it again tonight.  It’s really nice if you have a mixture of candy cane and golden beets.  The purple ones tend to turn the goat cheese purple.  I didn’t have endive so I served it on a bed of spinach.

Recipe for Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Peel 2 lbs of beets and six carrots.  Dice into 1″ chunks.  The carrots should be a bit smaller than the beets because I found they took longer to cook.  Toss with 1 tbs of olive oil and place into a roasting pan.   Cook for 40-45 minutes or until veggies are tender.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Whisk together 3 tbs of orange juice, 1.5 tsp of white wine vinegar, 1.5 tbs olive oil and some fresh chopped tarragon.  Toss the veggies with the dressing and then place in large bowl.  Add 1 cup crumbled goat cheese and 1/3 cup toasted chopped pecans.

Kids’ Verdict

They love goat cheese and pecans so they happily ate those parts of the salad.  The oldest one ate a few beet pieces but the younger two weren’t interested.


Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

photo (19)

I had some leftover canned pumpkin from Thanksgiving so I decided to try making these.  I added some cranberries from the freezer for a real Thanksgiving taste sensation.   They look pretty too with the red berries in the orange muffins.

They are lovely and very cake-like in texture.  I made them dairy-free by using coconut oil but you could use melted butter instead.  Each muffin contains 230 calories with 2 grams of protein, 2 grams of fibre and 60% of your daily vitamin A needs.  The recipe yields 17-18 muffins.

Recipe for Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare 18 muffin cups.

In a large bowl, whisk 2.5 cups of GF all-purpose flour with 2 tsp of baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt.  Add 1.5 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp ground cloves and 1/8 tsp ground allspice and whisk again.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk 2 eggs with a 15 oz can of pumpkin, 1.5 cups of granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil or butter.  Add to the dry mixture and stir until well-mixed.  Add 1 cup of fresh or defrosted frozen cranberries and stir again.  Divide into muffin cups and bake for 20-22 minutes.

Kids’ Verdict

These were very popular.

Rhubarb Earl Grey Jam

This jam is so amazing.  I made 4 jars of it a couple of weeks ago and we are currently halfway through the third jar.  I got the recipe from the same cookbook as the pumpkin apple butter.  It’s easy to make and requires minimal special equipment since the quantities are small.

Recipe for Rhubarb Earl Grey Jam

In a large pot, place 8 cups (3 lbs) of chopped rhubarb with 1 cup of strong Earl Grey tea and 4 cups of sugar.  Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Once the rhubarb is cooked and it’s a nice liquid mixture, add 1 package of pectin powder and cook until set.  You’ll know it’s set by dipping a spoon in the liquid and holding it up.  If the liquid pours off the spoon, it’s not ready.  If it drips off slowly, it’s set.

You can either process this jam and can it or you can freeze it in freezer-safe jars.

Kids’ Verdict

This is the only jam I’ve made that they really like.  Probably because it’s sweeter than my usual.

Braised White Beans with Rosemary

I got the original recipe for these from a new cookbook.  It called for the white beans to be braised in olive oil on the stovetop.  “Ooh,” I thought, “That will be so delicious.”  I soaked some beans overnight and then gave it a shot.  Apparently my electric stovetop does not go down to low enough temperatures.  The beans were hard and crunchy and essentially a complete disaster.  I had to throw them out (and all the olive oil!).

I decided to try cooking them in water instead and then tossing them with the garlic and herb infused olive oil after cooking.  They worked much better and were a delightful side dish to our steak and cruciferous veggie slaw.

Recipe for Braised White Beans with Rosemary

Soak 1 cup of dried white beans overnight or use the quick soak method of bringing 1 cup of dried beans and 6 cups of water to a boil.  Turn off the stove and let them soak in the hot water for 2 hours.

To cook, bring the soaked beans and 6 cups of water to boil.  Turn the heat down low and simmer for 45 minutes or until the beans are soft.  While the beans are cooking, pour 1/3 cup of olive oil into a small bowl.  Add 1 clove of minced garlic along with 1 tsp of dried rosemary and another of thyme.  Set the oil/herb mixture aside.

Once the beans are cooked, drain them and toss with the olive oil mixture.  Serve.

Kids’ Verdict

The younger two did not care for these but the six year old loved them.

Pumpkin Apple Butter

Pumpkin Apple Butter

I have recently discovered fruit butters as a result of reading many, many cookbooks about canning.  I tried an apple butter that was to die for and then came across a recipe for pumpkin apple butter in this cookbook.  My recipe is different because I wanted to use some maple syrup for sweetness.   Fruit butters can be tricky because they scorch so I used the slow cooker on low for 12 hours.  No scorching and it was easy.

The end result was eaten on my hot cereal this morning.  It was divine.  A bit like having pumpkin pie for breakfast but with more nutrients.  Unfortunately, you can’t can pumpkin apple butter because it’s not acidic enough so I froze it.  I also love fruit butters with some vanilla ice cream for dessert.

Each serving (~1/4 cup) contains 40 calories, 1 g of fiber and 20% of your vitamin A needs for the day.  Add some cooked buckwheat cereal to it and you’ve got a breakfast packed with good stuff.

Recipe for Pumpkin Apple Butter

Core 5 lbs of apples and place in a large pot with 4 cups of water and 1.5 cups maple syrup.  Bring to a boil and then simmer until the apples are very soft and separating from the peels.  Remove from heat.  Using an immersion blender,  blend until the apples and peel are a smooth mixture.

Transfer the apple puree to a slow cooker along with a 15 oz can of pumpkin, 1.5 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp ground allspice and 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg.  Blend with the immersion blender again until everything is well-mixed.  Turn the slow cooker on low and cook for 12 hours.  Stir when you can but it’s not crucial.  Leave the lid slightly askew so the liquid can evaporate.

Kids’ Verdict

They tell me that they like regular applesauce better.  I think this is a bit intense for them.

photo (17)


Blueberry Vanilla Chia Jam

I made a ton of blackberry chia jam last summer and it was fantastic.  They didn’t have any jam blackberries (read squished, cheaper blackberries) at the farmer’s market so I decided to try blueberry jam this year instead.

I used this recipe as my starting point but was using much, much bigger quantities as I’m trying to make enough jam for the entire year.  We ran out in March or April this year.  Her recipe is perfect for someone starting out though since it makes a small quantity.  Her food photos are lovely to look at as well and helpful in determining the desired thickness of the jam.

I started canning last year so decided to process the whole batch this year.  I am using the canning procedure (along with a few of the recipes) described in this book.    For those of you who would like an online resource, the USDA provides a great, free PDF on the proper procedures to follow.

Each 15 ml serving of this jam provides 17 calories with 0.5 g of fiber.  It’s not as sweet as commercial jam.

Recipe for Blueberry Vanilla Chia Jam

In a very large pot, put 10 lbs of blueberries with 450 ml of maple syrup and 30 ml of vanilla extract.  Bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add 1 cup of chia seeds and simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes.

Pour into hot, sterilized jars and process as per proper home canning procedures.  Store.

Kids’ Verdict

The two year old loves it on his toast in the morning.  The older two tell me that they prefer the jam my mother makes.  :)