Somehow I ended up with 2 tubs of dates in my pantry. Not a
bad thing, necessarily, but I didn't want them to go to waste. I generally don't need an
excuse to bake, but this was a good one!
Dates make an awesome natural sweetener, being on the lower
end of the glycemic index (I believe they are a 9) means less of a blood sugar spike, great if you happen
to be diabetic. They are also rich in polyphenols and fiber, making them a smart alternative to
refined sugars that bring nothing to the table but sweet!
This cake is lovely for breakfast. (or any time of the day
for that matter!) Moist and flavourful, it is not overly sweet, and virtuous
enough in its ingredients to make having cake for breakfast an OK thing. (My
blueberry shunning teen even packed two pieces in his lunch today, a definite seal
The batter is made, start to finish, in the food
processor. If you don’t have one, I might suggest that you soak the dates to soften them, and whiz them with the banana and other
liquid ingredients in your blender, pour into a mixing bowl and proceed with
the recipe from there.
As many of you know, Jim and I are avid gardeners. Having our own veggies and herbs just steps
from our back door is one of our favourite things, and we try and make the most
of our Canadian growing season. We have pulled carrots and parsnips, in years
past, well into January, and, when we have planted enough kale, have pulled
kale just before Christmas. This year, however, the winter cold came on early and
hard, leaving a bunch of carrots, beets and parsnips unharvested. The ground
was just too hard to get them out, and we mourned the loss of the last of our
small root crops as we watched the snow get deeper… and deeper… and deeper.
who knew a pressure
washer was such an
effective veggie scrubber ?
Fast forward to this past weekend. After a very long, very
cold winter that seemed it would never end,
we were gifted with a warm spring Sunday that just begged to be spent
out of doors. Even though rain threatened off and on all day, and the wind
tried its best to blow us down, we spent most of our time in the yard and
garden getting things ready for spring planting. When I pulled the dead foliage
from the parsnip bed, I was surprised to
see little green leaves sprouting in nice tidy rows. (I have, in past years
pulled a few stray parsnips out of the ground in the spring, but they were few
and far between, and not very edible looking to say the least.) Not expecting much, I dug the pitchfork out of the
shed, and proceeded to dig up part of a row. When these marvelously perfect
parsnips emerged from their earthy home, I was tickled pink! Dinner plans were quickly
revamped to include these beauties. Nothing beats garden to table eating, and
having this surprise spring harvest made it that much better. I think Overwintering parsnips will become
part of our garden plan every year!
These "fries" have a nice spicy undertone, and a lovely texture. They were a perfect side for our rotisserie chicken and Bacon Scalloped Potatoes. (that recipe will be posted soon!)
Approx 9 parsnips, scrubbed and/or peeled
1 ½ tsp dried rosemary
¾ tsp smoked sea salt or other sea salt of choice
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
Preheat oven to 400F
Scrub parsnips well, peel if desired. Cut into 3-4 inch lengths, and then cut lengthwise
into “fry” sized sticks. (the smaller
you cut them the quicker they will cook, ours were on the chunky side) Toss in
11”x15” glass baking dish (or a parchment lined baking sheet, cooking time may
vary) with oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.
Roast for 20 minutes, stir and roast again for approx 15 minutes
or until they start to brown and crisp. Serve hot!
This was one of those improvisational dinners that turned out really well. Thumbs up from the teenagers, fast and frugal. Win Win Win!
When I make my bone broth, if my beef bones are meaty enough, I pull them out at the 10 or 12 hr mark, pull off the cooked beef, and put the bones back in for the rest of the time. The beef, by this time is lovely and tender, and is usually enough for an entire meal. I like to buy my beef stock bones from Oakridge Acres. I "stock" up(pardon the pun!) whenever we go out there to shop. They are meaty and big, and considering all of the wonderful goodness you get from them, a very frugal purchase. Two packages generally make about 10 cups of bone broth, and a meal from the pulled meat. For under 4$ a package, it helps to balance out the rest of our food budget.
I love my cast iron skillets for dishes like this, a quick saute and they can go straight in the oven, giving you time to toss a nice green salad and whip up some dressing, like this maple balsamic that is one of our faves! Feel free to substitute any leftover beef or chicken in this recipe, its a great way to use up leftovers!
Leftover Beef Skillet Supper
1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp sea salt or zesty Herbamare
1 cup Beef Bone Broth
1 796ml can of diced tomatoes (look for BPA free cans!)
4 cups pre-cooked beef
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400F
Heat coconut oil in a large cast iron pan over medium high heat until melted and hot. Saute the onion for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic, thyme and salt. Saute for another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and beef, and stir well to combine. Top with grated cheese and using an oven mitt (cast iron handles get hot!!) place in hot oven. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Remove from oven and serve hot, with a nice tossed salad.