This blog is all about Food. Real Food. Food that Nourishes, Heart and Soul.

Real Ingredients, Organic and Locally sourced whenever and where ever possible, shared with love.

No packages, no ingredients that are impossible to pronounce.

Real, honest food, from my kitchen to yours. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Grain Free Zucchini Loaf

Some days, you just need to bake (well...I do anyway...!!!) Those who know me well are aware that when my stress level gets high, nothing calms me like some kitchen time, with the music cranked (and sometimes a glass of helps with the whine :) )  

We have alot going on right now, with buying and selling a house, packing, 
and renovations on the newly bought house starting very soon.  
So, after a crazy day of work...and meetings...and lawyers... and house stuff... 
I came home with a SERIOUS need to de-stress. 
With my zucchinis going crazy in the garden (no one in their right mind should ever plant 4 zucchini plants!!!) 

I decided to play with my 
recipe and turn it into a zucchini loaf. It worked well enough to share, 
so here it is! 

I made up a batch of this Maple Cashew Cream Frosting (I had envisioned a lemony cream cheese topped loaf, but...that would have entailed a trip back out to the grocery store...and that was NOT happening lol!!)  A bit of searching for a recipe,  and with all of these ingredients on hand, I bravely unpacked my food processor and gave it a go. It matched the flavour of the loaf perfectly, and was not too rich or sweet. I will definitely use it again! 
Thanks CotterCrunch for a great topping for my loaf! 
Pictured here with this amazing Maple Cashew Frosting

Grain Free Zucchini Loaf

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/3 cup of kefir or yogurt

4 eggs, preferably pastured

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1/3 cup coconut sugar

1/3 cup organic coconut oil, softened

1 tsp organic cinnamon

¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Pinch of cloves

Whiz all of these ingredients together with a stick blender (or whisk if you are feeling particularly ambitious!) until very well incorporated. 


1 cup grated zucchini, (with liquid squeezed out as much as possible!!)

½ cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup organic  raisins

Mix well, ensuring ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Let batter stand for 5 minutes to thicken up.

Scoop into parchment lined or well greased loaf pan.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
(my pan was quite large, 9X5 I think?  If yours is smaller, you will need to adjust your baking time until it is cooked thru!)

Let cool 5 minutes in pan before removing to a rack to cool.

Keep at room temp for the first day, refrigerate after that for a few days, if you have any left!!

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Espresso Panna Cotta

Coconut Milk version,
 using a 1/2 cup Mason Jar
pan·na cot·ta
ˌpanə ˈkōdə,ˌpanə ˈkädə
  1. -"a cold Italian custard, often served with fruit sauce or caramel syrup".

Panna Cotta translates from Italian to mean "cooked cream", and has become my favourite summer dessert this year. 
Elegant in its presentation, and simplistic in its preparation, its a win win dessert that doesn't even heat up your kitchen! It does require some time to set properly, so plan accordingly if you want it ready for dessert!

"Richer" version, using a 1 cup  Ramekin, filled 3/4 full
I have made multiple versions of this espresso version this summer, and decided to post my three favourite variations, as they all shine in their own way, and deserve a wee bit of the spotlight, depending on your tastes and dietary needs!
The lighter version is great when you want a dessert that is a bit less substantial, but every bit as lovely and tasty as the other versions. The "richer" version has a much creamier texture and velvety smooth mouth-feel that ups the ante a notch or two, making it just that wee bit more decadent. In the dairy free version (created just for my foodie friend Ken!) the coconut milk marries so well with the coffee flavour, it just might be my favourite... if I was ever forced to choose just one...  

Although I haven't tried it yet, you can also make Panna Cotta with fruit juice...picture a lovely mango Panna Cotta topped with a blackberry thyme coulis....I can see many more versions being created before summer is over!

This recipe does make quite a few Panna Cotta's, depending upon the size of container you choose. You will end up with approx 6 cups of liquid Panna Cotta, so choose your serving sizes accordingly. (feel free to cut the recipe in half, but the extras are a lovely indulgence to keep in the fridge ;) ..... 

When I am making it for company, I will choose several straight sided containers that will un-mold well (short mason jars, ramekins etc) and then pour the rest into various mason jars with lids, to be eaten straight out of the vessel as a treat in our lunches.  

A few quick notes on my choice of ingredients:
  • For the espresso flavour, I like to use Mount Hagen Organic  Instant Coffee. They have a regular and decaf version, that gives a seriously impressive coffee flavour to this dessert. 
  • Coconut sugar is almost always my sweetener of choice, for its lower glycemic rating, and its caramel like flavour. The darker colour will affect the end colour of your Panna Cotta, so if you were making a plain version of this without the coffee granules, you may want to substitute with an organic white sugar or honey to eliminate the caramel colour that this will give. So, feel free to substitute with your sweetener of choice. (I am thinking maple syrup may work well with the espresso flavour as well...hmmmm....)
Enough of my rambling, lets get to the recipe!! 

Espresso Panna Cotta, 3 Ways: 

Lighter Version
Full Fat “Richer” Version
Dairy Free Version
6 cups milk, your choice of lower or full fat
4 cups full fat milk PLUS
2 cups , full fat sour cream
3 cans (400ml)  full fat coconut milk
2 ½ TBSP gelatin powder
2 ½ TBSP gelatin powder
2  TBSP gelatin powder
½ cup Coconut sugar
½ cup Coconut sugar
1/3 cup Coconut sugar
3 TBSP Instant Coffee Granules
3 TBSP Instant Coffee Granules
3 TBSP Instant Coffee Granules

Method: (for all three versions)
In a small saucepan, measure out ½ cup of the milk, and sprinkle the gelatin powder over the top. Let rest for approx 8-10 minutes.

While the gelatin is sitting, measure the rest of the ingredients into a large blender and whiz quickly until well combined. Set aside.

When the gelatin/milk mixture has finished resting, turn the heat on medium low and heat gently, stirring often, until the gelatin is dissolved, approx 5-8 minutes. Do not boil!

When dissolved, remove from heat, and, with the blender running on low speed, carefully remove cap from blender lid,  and pour the hot gelatin mixture into the blender with the rest of the ingredients. Replace lid and turn on high to blend for 30 seconds.

Pour into desired serving dishes*** and chill for a minimum of 2 hrs or until fully set.
Round jars like this will not un-mold, but...will fit nicely in your lunch bag :)

If your ramekins have a small lip as
mine do, only fill to the bottom of this lip
or it will not come out easily. 

***Serving options
A: To eat as is:
pour into ½ or 1 cup mason jars, or other small vessels, and chill as above.
B: To un-mold:
Lightly grease small straight sided ramekins or other like vessels.
SIDES MUST BE STRAIGHT (or flare gently outwards) FOR THIS TO WORK!!
Pour into ramekins and chill as above. To Plate: Carefully run a knife around the edge of the Panna Cotta,  making sure you get right to the bottom of your vessel. Take care to be as smooth and even around the edge as possible.  (if doing this for the first time to serve to company, you may want to practice with a few to get the hang of it!) Carefully turn ramekin upside down over serving plate and using the knife carefully dislodge the Panna Cotta onto the plate. 
Garnish as desired.
(chocolate Sauce recipe pictured here can be found HERE)

Friday, 7 July 2017

Garlic Scape Lemon Compound Butter

I love garlic scapes. They are the yummy precursor to the lovely garlic that gets harvested towards the end of summer in my garden.,,,kind of like a bonus harvest on a garden staple, fleeting but delicious! Many farmers markets and stands sell them if you don't grow your own garlic so be sure to look for them from mid June to early July.
I do tend to stick to my favourite recipes with scapes, (like pesto, and this recipe below for compound butter) but they are very versatile and can be used for many different recipes if you are creative! (do a pinterest search...they are used in absolutely  EVERYTHING!!! ) I chopped a bunch this year in my food processor and froze them in an ice cube tray so that we can hopefully enjoy the harvest for way longer than we usually do. (see pics below!!)

This compound butter can be used for a multitude of things, from buttering my grain free baguettes, to topping baked potatoes, to searing a cast iron cooked steak. It's lovely vibrant green colour and garlicky bite  transform a multitude of foods to a completely different level of flavour.

Try this recipe before the scapes are gone again for the season!!

Garlic Scape and Lemon Compound Butter

Approx 8-10 garlic scapes, roughly chopped (you want to end up with about 1/ 2 cup when finely chopped)
¾ cup butter cut into 6 chunks (mine was not quite room temp but not cold either!)
Zest of 1 lemon (ALWAYS organic!!)
Juice of 1 lemon
S&P to taste (if butter is salted, as mine often is... add less salt!!)

Pulse garlic scapes in food processor until finely chopped.  (shown with LOTS of scapes, I scooped out a bunch to be left with 1/2 cup)
With machine running, add butter 1 chunk at a time until smooth and incorporated. 

Stop the processor, add the lemon juice, zest, s&p, and turn back on until incorporated, stopping to scrape down sides as needed 

Scrape out of processor and shape into log on plastic wrap. (shown on waxed paper, but plastic wrap works best)

Refrigerate until firm and slice as needed. For storage longer than 5 days, keep in freezer.
Shown on my  grain free baguette :)

chopped and prepped for freezer

covered ice cube tray is perfect for freezing :)

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Curried Millet and Veggie Salad

At the beginning of May, the health food store that I work for (Goodness Me!) ran a Community Cleanse Challenge, both for the community to join in, as well as staff. (my store won for best overall store participation...woot woot team Brantford!!!)

Anyhoo, both my husband and I jumped on the cleanse bandwagon, and for two weeks have been eating clean and healthy. Our diet is already pretty clean, but its sometimes good to check in on all the little habits that creep back into your diet and linger. A cleanse is a great gives your digestive system a great spring cleaning!! 

I was looking for something different to cook for dinner one night, and saw millet listed on the chart  of "ok" foods. So I cooked a big batch pot of this delicious little seed (yes, it is technically a seed, not a grain!) for dinner and then had to come up with a use for the rest. I had a fridge full of veggies for eating on the cleanse, so I started chopping and this salad was born!

It keeps really well in the fridge for 3-4 days, and is great warm or cold. We  topped it with both salmon and chicken to add some protein, and I think it would be great with chickpeas for a vegan version. It makes enough for a crowd, or for several meals during the week. Definitely a keeper recipe, cleansing or not!! If you don't have any millet, cooked quinoa would be a great alternative!! 

Curried Millet and Veggie Salad

3 cups cooked millet (I toasted mine first, follow this link for cooking instructions! )   
3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
4 cups chopped kale (green, red, black or a combo!)
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup diced red pepper (red, yellow, orange…mix it up!!)
1 cup diced zucchini ¼ - ½  cup cilantro, chopped (optional if you hate it!!)

1/4 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed if you can!)
4 Tbsp avocado or olive oil
1-2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp herbamare or sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste

Mix veggies, seeds and millet in a large mixing bowl.

Measure dressing ingredients into a mason jar, shake well and toss with other ingredients. 
Eat as is, or add your choice of protein (pre-cooked chicken, salmon, beans...the choice is yours!)
(Its also delicious heated!!!)
Store covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. 
All ready for lunch with some leftover salmon!

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Orange Chocolate Chia Donuts (Grain Free, Gluten Free, Sweetened with Honey)

These little heavenly morsels were created for two reasons. The first being that I was ever so kindly given a bag of Salba Chocolate Chia Seeds a while back to see if I could come up with a recipe to incorporate them into (thanks Deb!) They have been sitting staring at me for way too long, awaiting a burst of inspiration for a new recipe. 

On to reason number two… We have been house hunting as of late, and our wonderful agent-who-is-also-my-sister-in-law has been driving us around kingdom-come for a number of weeks. We were embarking on another road trip and I wanted to surprise her with some tasty treats for the drive. (She is celiac, so cooking for her, with all of my own dietary issues, is a proverbial piece of cake!) So on went my thinking cap. My brain jumped to donuts pretty quick, and these lovely little chocolate coated chia seeds were screaming at me to use them. I also had some beautiful organic cara-cara oranges, for further inspiration. Chocolate and orange is such a classic combination that is so well represented in these lovely little morsels, I was absolutely thrilled with the results! The texture is not unlike a poppyseed muffin or loaf, with a delightful bit of crunch, and the mix of flavours conjures
 a little happy dance in your mouth!  So, to Deb and Jo, a labour of love, and a brand new recipe!

This is also my first post using pictures taken with my son Mac's amazing camera..I am totally enamored with it..(so much that he had to buy me my own memory card so I quit filling up his...)

Orange Chocolate Chia Donuts

½ cup tapioca starch
½ cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
3 eggs
Zest from 1 orange (make sure its organic!)
Juice from one orange (3-4 tbsp approx)
¼ cup melted coconut oil (***see end of post for handy tips to melt your oil!)
¼ cup honey
¼ cup kefir, yogurt or non dairy alternative
¼ cup chocolate chia seeds (Salba brand)

Preheat oven to 350F

Grease the donut pan with coconut oil or butter and set aside.
I love my silicone baster for greasing pans!!

Measure all ingredients except chia seeds into a large mixing bowl and mix with an immersion blender until well blended. If you measure your coconut oil first, and then use the same scoop for your honey, it will slide right out of the cup, no scraping required!! 
Handy dandy kitchen rasp is awesome for zesting citrus fruits!
be sure to zest first, and then cut and juice your orange !

 Ensure no lumps are left.

Stir in the chocolate chia seeds and let stand for 5 minutes to thicken up.
Scoop batter into a zip top bag, squeeze out the air, zip, and cut off one bottom corner of the bag (alternatively use a piping bag with no tip), 
fold the edge of your zip bag down when filling to keep it clean!

and squeeze evenly into pre-greased donut pan.
Bake in preheated oven for approx 10-12 minutes or until cooked thru.
Tip out onto wire cooling rack to cool completely before enjoying!
Store at room temp in an airtight container for 2-3 days. 
Alternatively freeze for later enjoyment!

***How to melt your coconut oil with ease!!
I keep my coconut oil in a mason jar, and melt it one of two ways: 
1. in-front of the vent on my
gas stove-top

2. immerse jar in your hottest tap water until
melted enough to pour out your measurement!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Butter Chicken

We love curry in our house, and butter chicken is definitely a favourite, and not at all difficult to whip up for a weeknight dinner. (if you add all the other selections pictured on the plate, you're into a marathon cooking session with masses of dirty dishes, spatters of yellow yumminess all over your kitchen and a very happy belly at the end!) but, I am only sharing the butter chicken recipe at the moment, and it stands alone very well.

I used chicken thighs, as I feel they have more flavour, but breasts could easily be substituted (2 large ones would probably suffice). Just to note, I have also made this with leftover rotisserie or roasted chicken, deboned and chopped up, and added at the simmering stage below. Just start the recipe where you saute the onions, and you're good to go!

With any recipe, a bit of pre-prep is always a good idea, but I find with curries, there are so many spices for the layering of all that yummy flavour, having them measured out and ready to add helps alot! If you like a spicier dish, feel free to increase the cayenne! As it stands this recipe has a nice mild heat with a ton of flavour.

I will include the links at the bottom for the other recipes if you are into marathon- kitchen-destroying-but-oh-so-much-fun cooking sessions , and I promise I will also add a link when I finally get my grain free naan recipe posted as well.

Butter Chicken

8-10 skinless boneless chicken thighs
2 tbsp butter 

4 tbsp of butter, divided into 2 tbsp chunks(yes...MORE butter :) )
4 smallish cooking onions, peeled and chopped (a generous cup ish)
3 tsp of garam masala
1 tsp of chili powder
1 tsp of cumin
½ tsp cinnamon 
½ tsp of cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1 Tbsp. of grated ginger (use a kitchen rasp or fine grater)
3 garlic cloves, minced
S&p to taste

796 ml canned diced tomatoes
½ small can of tomato paste

1/2 can full fat coconut milk( approx ¾ cup)

Chop into chunks and then saute chicken thighs in 2 tbsp butter in a large cast iron pan until browned on all sides. I gave a quick grind of sea salt and black pepper while the chicken was browning. 
Remove from pan and set aside. Depending upon the size of your pan, you may need to do this in batches. If your pan is crowded they will steam rather than brown. 

In the same pan, Sauté onions in 2 tbsp butter over medium heat until slightly softening and just starting to brown, approx 5 min. 
Add spices, garlic and ginger, sauté for 2-3 more minutes. 
the amount of spices included
in this recipe is CRAZY, but
oh so yummy!!
Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, stirring well to combine. 
Add the chicken back to the pan, bring to a quick boil, and then reduce to a simmer for approx 15 minutes. (if you are serving rice, this is a good time to put on a nice pot of basmati rice to accompany your butter chicken!)
Stir in the coconut milk and last 2 Tbsp. of butter and 
additional salt and pepper to taste if needed. 
sorry for the steamy picture but the 
saag paneer was cooking on the 
front burner and tried to take over 
the shot!

Warm thru and serve with hot basmati rice or naan.

Other recipe links:

This recipe includes both a recipe for the paneer, and the recipe for the delicious saag paneer pictured on the plate above. I used fresh spinach instead of the frozen suggested in the recipe, just adding it to the pan in batches and tossing with tongs as it cooks down.

These lovely little samosa patties were divine, although we tweaked them as we all felt they needed a deeper flavour. I added a 1/2 tsp each of garam masala and coriander, and 1/4 tsp of cumin to the curry powder, and added an egg as it seemed to need some glue to form the patties.

This raita is a wonderful palate cleanser and cooler between bites of different curry dishes.

prepped ingredients ready to add to the pan!