These beautiful lemon ricotta cupcakes are so tender and moist they literally melt in your mouth. They are bursting with bright and sunny lemon flavour. For those of us who find lemon treats irristible this is a pretty healthy option as they have less fat and less sugar than a typical cupcake. The secrets are in some extra special ingredients: ricotta cheese and olive oil. Continue reading Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes
It is so exciting to make this cake, but hard to wait until it is finally set and ready to unveil. I was anxious to see all the layers. It is so pretty! I love this mix of pinks and purples with bright red strawberry sauce, and just a little dark chocolate. Perfect for Valentine’s Day.
The key to creating clean layers is to freeze each layer well before pouring the next so that the colours don’t blend together. I added some fresh raspberries and did a fun swirl pattern on the top layer by spooning drops of the strawberry sauce and using a toothpick to swirl them about. It only takes a few ingredients to make this healthy dessert: berries, yogurt, a little honey, dark chocolate and fruit spread.
Fruit spreads add sweetness and intensifies the fruit flavour and colour. They are made without pectin. Some brands are made without added sugar, and are a healthier choice than jam or jelly. Fruit spreads tend to be chunkier in texture and have a more spreadable consistency. Check the ingredient list and look for one that contains only fruit.
To add an extra special touch to decorate the plates we made some chocolate hearts and flowers. Melt pure dark chocolate, pour into a parchment cone, snip the end and draw your shapes onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Pop them into the freezer and they will be firm in only a couple of minutes. I saved this part for an after school activity because I know the kids love it.
Triple Berry Frozen Yogurt Layer Cake
1 cup frozen raspberries
2 tablespoons Raspberry Spread (All Fruit)
1 cup Greek yogurt, plain, unsweetened
1 cup frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons Blueberry Spread (All Fruit)
1 cup Greek yogurt, plain, unsweetened
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup Greek Yogurt, plain, unsweetened
2 cups frozen strawberries
3/4 cups water
1 tablespoon honey (optional, depending on how sweet your strawberries are).
Directions: In a medium saucepan combine frozen fruit and water and cook covered on low until strawberries are soft and mushy. Remove from heat and purée with an immersion blender until smooth. Return to heat and cook down until desired consistency. Add 1 tablespoon honey (or more or less) depending on the sweetness of the berries and your preference) and let cool. Prepare loaf pan by lining completely with parchment paper. In food processor or blender, process frozen berries, Greek yogurt and fruit spread. Pour info prepared pan and freeze for at least 30 minutes. Rinse out food processor and repeat with other berries and preserves, freezing in between layers for at least 30 minutes. After the final layer, freeze until solid, about 4 hours. Because I was adding in the strawberry swirl to the top layer I did not add as much fruit to the top layer and also did not add any of the fruit preserves.
To serve, remove from freezer and let sit out for approx 10 minutes before slicing. Drizzle with strawberry sauce and decorate with chocolate hearts or flowers.
I love the colours in stir fry dishes. This is one recipe where the vegetables are the stars of the plate. Crisp, vibrant colours of red, green, orange, yellow; they are a feast for our eyes and taste amazing! They are incredibly versatile and easy to change up based on what is in season, on sale or what ever strikes you to add. There are never any left overs and everyone has a satisfying meal made up of more than half a plate of vegetables and protein rich cashews, completed with rice, barley, noodles, or alternative.
There is a knack to making stir fries and it is all in the prep. Wash and chop all the ingredients and have everything ready right beside your wok. Have your sauce mixture ready to go in and start heating up the pan. Once the cooking begins, dinner will be on the table in less than 10 minutes.
I love my heavy stainless steel wok. It heats so well and so evenly. I recommend stainless steel or cast iron pans. It was an investment many years ago and was money well spent. Many woks are not suitable for high heat cooking and are coated with a non stick coating which can have health risks. For more information on non stick cookware see the guidelines from Cancer.ca
Vegetable Stir Fry with Cashews (Serves 4)
4 cups broccoli florets
4 carrots chopped
1 red pepper chopped (or mix of colours to make approx 1 pepper)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon grated ginger
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup vegetable stock
2 tsp corn starch
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
2 pinches red pepper flakes
1/2 cup roasted cashews
Rice, barley, quinoa or noodles of choice
Directions: In a small bowl stir together vegetable stock, corn starch, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Set aside while you wash and chop all the vegetables. Heat coconut oil in wok over medium high heat and add garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant. In order add carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, peppers and cook, stirring the vegetables gently so that they cook quickly, remaining firm and with bright colours. Add stock mixture which will thicken, glaze and coat the vegetables. Top with cashews. Serve with rice, barley, quinoa or noodles of choice.
This recipe is adapted from Whole Foods Recipes.
There is something about cardamom that is hard to describe. At first it is a spicy peppery taste that makes me think of savoury dishes, but then there is a hint of sweet and a nut taste too. It is a unique powerful spice that is very aromatic. I love it. I keep finding more and more ways to use it. Cardamom is delicious in coffee, hot chocolate, warm milk or of course chai tea. It is wonderful in combination with apples, pears and oranges and it goes very well with ginger and cinnamon. Much more commonly used outside of North America in India, Asia, Sweden and Finland, it isn’t a spice I know very well, but I am looking forward to trying more recipes with cardamom as it makes dishes extra special.
This granola is extra special. Spicy, sweet, crunchy, nutty; it is one terrific bowl of cereal that is hearty and satisfying. Perfect for busy mornings, it provides a nutritious breakfast that is completely delicious. Filled with toasty oats, coconut, pecans, just enough sweetness and lovely warm spice from cardamom, cinnamon and ginger it is great for cold winter mornings. I usually make a batch on the weekend to last for a couple of breakfasts throughout the next week or so.
Speaking of batch cooking and planning ahead, that is my January project. There is something about the New Year that makes me want to get organized. Determined to do meal plans, cook ahead, and organize the kitchen it helps us to save money and time, reduce our food waste, plan to include lots of colours and increase variety in our diets. Make ahead breakfasts, crock pot dinners, batch cooking – it all just helps so much to reduce stress and provide healthy food for our busy family even on the most hectic of days.
Pear Cardamom Granola with Pecans
Makes 12 servings (1/2 cup)
4 cups oats (Large Flake or Old Fashioned Oats) *
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup pecans
1 cup pear sauce (or apple sauce)*
2 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup brown sugar*
1 tsp ground cardamom
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees and prepare cooking pans by lining them with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix together oats, coconut and pecans and set aside. In a small saucepan mix together pear sauce, oil, brown sugar, spices and salt. Heat over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Pour sauce mixture into oats and stir well. Spread out onto prepared pans. Bake for approx 45 minutes until toasty. Stir every 15 minutes and add the dried cranberries during the last 10 minutes of baking. Let cool completely and store in a jar. Makes approx 6 cups granola.
*To make gluten free ensure gluten free oats are used.
*To make pear sauce, wash pears, core and chop. Add to small saucepan with a little water and cook on low until tender. Mash or blend.
*Substitute 1/4 cup honey or 1/4 cup maple syrup if desired.
Overnight Steel Cut Oats with Oranges, Carrots and Walnuts
1 cup steel cut oats*
2 cups 1% milk*
1 large egg*
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup grated carrots
1/4 cup coconut
1 whole orange (pureed in blender)
zest of an additional orange
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Butter an over proof dish that is approx 8 x 8. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and pour into prepared dish. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight. In the morning remove cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until browned, toasty on top and cooked through. Serve warm with milk or yogurt.
*to make this recipe vegan, use almond or coconut milk for the 1% milk, coconut oil for the butter and a flax egg instead of the egg
*to make gluten free, ensure gluten free oats are used. Oats are naturally gluten free, however can come in contact with gluten during processing.
Ever since I saw a video of this simple recipe on my Instagram feed I couldn’t wait to try it. But in the midst of holiday traditional baking and festivities I didn’t get to it until New Years Eve. It comes together so quickly, literally, it takes 5 minutes to prepare and then sets in the freezer for an hour. It is amazing, with just the right amount of sweetness from maple syrup, tartness from the raspberries wrapped in smooth, silky, rich chocolate that you have made yourself.
I have been experimenting with making chocolate for a while. Various recipes using cocoa butter, coconut oil, honey, cocoa powder etc with varying results. I like that this recipe includes some nut butter and nut milk and makes a soft chocolate that is a delicious fudge like dessert. A perfect sweet treat that is easy to vary based on seasonal fruit or what ever combination you like.
Although my family tells me they could eat this everyday, it is luxurious enough for special occasions. When liquid it would pour nicely into molds, such as hearts for Valentine’s Day or other shapes for other special days. Packaged up in a special box, what a lovely gift it would be.
Homemade Chocolate with Raspberries
100 grams cocoa butter *
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cashew butter or other nut butter
1/4 cup coconut milk or almond milk
Prepare small cookie sheet or pan by lining with parchment paper. In a small saucepan melt the cocoa butter with the maple syrup. When melted whisk in cocoa powder until well blended. Add nut butter and coconut milk and whisk until combined. Pour onto parchment paper and spread out a little (I simply tilted the pan to spread evenly) Sprinkle with fresh raspberries and freeze for one hour. Cut into pieces and serve. Store in the refrigerator.
*For those in the Metro Vancouver area, cocoa butter is available at Galloways.
This recipe is from feedfeed as part of Edible Holiday Gifts.
I have made a very conscious effort to include more lentils and other pulses in my cooking. There are just so many healthy benefits: they’re high in protein, high in fibre, high in iron and many other vitamins and minerals. Lentils are also very budget friendly – the cost of the protein in the meal will only be dollar or two. Through experimentation I have found pulses really work with many different herb and spice combinations, and it is easy to mix things up to avoid ho hum dinners!
I remember the first time I made these my family just loved them! Tacos in any form are such a fun, kid-friendly meal and great for casual family style dining where all the fixings are on the table and everyone builds their own. These are so delicious, with all the familiar flavours of tacos, yet the lentils make a lighter, healthier, fibre rich meal. Paired with a fresh green salad, this easy dinner is on the table in only 40 minutes. I usually make a double recipe so that I cook once and then have extra filling for another meal of taco’s, burritos, or other mexican flavoured dish. The filling freezes well. Simply defrost, heat and serve. This meal is gluten free and vegan (with a dairy free cheese).
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 cup brown lentils (rinsed and drained)
340 ml strained tomatoes
340 ml water or more
salt and pepper
10 Taco Shells *see note about TBHQ
Heat oil in large sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute a few minutes and then add garlic. Cook until garlic is fragrant. Turn heat down to low and add cumin, coriander, paprika and chili powder. Cook a minute or two. Add lentils, strained tomatoes and water. Simmer until lentils are cooked, adding more water if needed. Once the lentils are cooked (about 25 minutes) continue to simmer to thicken to desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place taco shells on cookie sheet and heat for about 5-7 minutes until warm.
Assemble taco’s with filling, lettuce, tomatoes or salsa, cheese and avocado. (vegan cheese product to make vegan)
TBHQ – When you shop for taco shells, check the ingredient list. One of the ingredients may be TBHQ. TBHQ is tertiary butylhydroquinone, a synthetic antioxidant that is used to extend the shelf life of packaged foods. It is to keep the fat in the product from becoming rancid. There are good qualtiy brands of taco shells on the market that do not have TBHQ and also have a very reasonable best before date.