The Garden

The garden is producing! I have been waiting all winter and spring for this. So far we have eaten three kale salads and today I ate four peas. Tomorrow there may be a strawberry ready! Because the bounty is small in size and amount it is enjoyed that much more. It is relished and savoured with every sense. I breathed deeply the smell of those four small peas before eating them. There is nothing like it.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

As a kid rhubarb was a thing eaten by dunking in white sugar. To be honest, it’s the only way I’ve ever eaten it, until a friend gave me a big armload of it from her backyard. It was a bit too much to just eat raw so I decided to bake into something. I went with a crisp, mixed with strawberries to take some of the edge off the sourness.

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Here is the recipe I used. I followed it, except for leaving out the orange zest and just using about a quarter cup of juice from a carton. I also used frozen strawberries and left out the spices.

I was kind of worried about how it would turn out. I didn’t know if it would be sour, mushy, soupy or something else less than wonderful. Luckily, it was just wonderful! A little tart, but in a super flavourful way.

If you don’t have rhubarb in the backyard, you can usually find it at farmer’s markets this time of year. Give this recipe a try, it’s different, but fantastic! Try it for breakfast with a little strawberry yogurt on top, delicious.

Strawberry Lemonade

This weekend the weather was beautiful. We were sitting out on the patio enjoying the sun and longing for a cold drink. We didn’t really have anything that fit the bill so I made due with what I had.

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I took a couple of handfuls of strawberries out of the freezer and put them in a pitcher with a few squirts of lemonade. Next I filled a pot with water and added about a quarter of a cup of sugar. I heated it on the stove until the sugar was dissolved. I added this to the pitcher. I took a potato masher and mashed up the strawberries as best as I could then filled it up with water. You can either let it sit for a while, then strain it or just strain it as you pour each glass.

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If you don’t have frozen strawberries, fresh would work, you would just have to cook them a little to help draw out the juice.

And of course, fresh lemons would be preferably to bottled lemon juice, but as I said I was making due.

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This is the perfect drink for sipping while enjoying the sun!

Weekday Fried Rice

This is a super easy meal that I’ve been leaning on lately. You can make it with whatever you have and it only takes about 10 minutes to make, as long as you have some leftover cooked rice (or quinoa) in the fridge.

Here’s what you do:

Put a little oil in a pan. Add two eggs.

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Use a spatula to scramble them, then cook.

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Once finished take the onions out of the pan.

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Chop some vegetables, or use frozen vegetables. Good choices are beans, cabbage, carrots, onions, spinach, and peas, but anything works. Just don’t forget the peas! I did and I had to add them in later once I realized.

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Add the vegetables in the pan and saute for a few minutes.

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Add the rice.

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Throw the egg back in. Sprinkle a little salt and you are good to go!

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Everyday Granola

I call this everyday granola because I eat it everyday for breakfast. It’s my super simple, quick pared down recipe for granola. I make a big batch once a week. The method goes as follows:

Dump a bunch of oatmeal into a bowl. Add pumpkin seeds, oat bran, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, ground flax and almonds. Stir it up and then add a couple drips something sweet. I use maple syrup. As well as a couple drips of oil. Stir it up again and then spread it out onto a pan (I cover mine in a silicone sheet) then pop it into a 250 degree oven for an hour. Let it sit until cool. Store in an air tight container.

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You can change this recipe, adding and subtracting whatever you want. It’s is crunchy, healthy and delicious!

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Protein Pancakes

I generally don’t worry about getting enough protein. We very rarely eat meat, but we eat a lot cheese, nuts, eggs and beans. Lately I’ve been trying to train for the CN Tour Stair Climb, so I’ve been trying to eat some extra protein. These pancakes really make it easy. They are pretty much pure protein, but still taste like pancakes.

Whisk together:
1 cup of cottage cheese
3 eggs
splash of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 cup sugar*
3/4 cup flour (I used a mixture of spelt and white)

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It will look a little gross, but don’t worry.

Cook in a frying pan with a little bit of oil. Make them small otherwise they are impossible to flip.

*I don’t usually put sugar in my pancakes, but otherwise you can taste the egg

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Eat with fruit, syrup or whatever and enjoy the proteiny goodness!

Marbled Chocolate Banana Loaf

I wanted to make banana bread since my freezer has more bananas in it than a Costa Rican market. I looked for a recipe to use, but I didn’t really find anything appealing, so I just made one up. It turned out surprisingly well. To make it special I melted a little chocolate and mixed that in. I tried to ‘marbelize’ it, but as you will see I didn’t do a very good job.

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Here’s the recipe:

Mix together:
3 ripe bananas, mashed well
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
splash of vanilla

Mix together:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup spelt flour (or other whole grain flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
sprinkle of salt

Mix the two together, just until combined.

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Melt some chocolate in a double boiler over water. I used a chunk of chocolate easter bunny, but use whatever you want. If you use really dark chocolate you may want to add some more sugar. I added a splash of milk to help it smooth out. You will want to end up with about half a cup of chocolate.

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Once the chocolate is melted, stir in about half of your batter.

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Pour the two batters into a greased loaf pan, and then run a butter knife through to (hopefully) achieve a marble effect. You may prefer to add spoonfuls of each batter to better marble them.

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Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees. Let it cool, then slice and eat!

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Very moist, and super delicious!

Chocolate Pudding

These days I don’t have much spare time to try new recipes, but this recipe is pretty quick and uses ingredients that we always have. I used 2% milk (from the freezer) instead of whole milk, I had to add about a tablespoon more cornstarch, though I’m not sure if this is related.

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The verdict? It was good, very creamy and smooth. I don’t think it’s as rich and chocolatey as the pudding I used to make (which I never used a recipe for), but some people like that.

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Pudding is such a great thing to make because it’s easy, quick and a crowd-pleaser. It’s one of those things, I think, that people don’t really make anymore since it’s so easy to buy. but it is so worth it to make your own.

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English Muffins

I love making breads. The are fairly simple as far as ingredients go, and though they generally take a lot of time, much of it is spent waiting. Making bread is a great lazy day activity, especially since there will sandwiches at the end of it.

English muffins are no different. There are many steps, but they take place over a long period of time. People also seem really impressed when you tell them you made english muffins.

I adapted this recipe to work for me. I used a mixture of spelt and all purpose flour, and butter instead of shortening. I ended up with 8 good sized english muffins.

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You basically mix the dough, then knead for a while. Let it rise, then divide it into balls, rise again. Cook each side in a pan, then bake. So it sounds like a lot of steps, but each one is easy and quick.

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The result was great. They looked very much like english muffins (I think sprinkling them with cornmeal helps with this), and tasted great. We’ve been eating them with sandwiches, hamburgers, and eggs. Yum!

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Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

This is something I’ve been meaning to make for a while, but I put it off thinking it would be a lot of work. Turns out stuffed peppers are quite easy to make.

All I did was cook a pot of red quinoa and amaranth (you can use whatever you want: rice, lentils, couscous, millet, etc.). Once it was all cooked I added in some chopped onion, chopped tomato, chopped spinach, frozen corn, black beans, tomato paste and hot sauce. You can really add whatever you want. I let it all cook together for a bit, then threw in some cumin and chili powder.

While the mixture cooked I chopped the tops off of two red peppers, and cut out the white stuff, then knocked out the seeds (actually Kurt did all this). Once the peppers were ready I scooped the mixture in, then topped them with cheese. My peppers weren’t flat at the bottom, so they wouldn’t stand up. Next time I will trim them so that they are flat.

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I put them in a pot (to try to hold them up), in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes (until the peppers get soft). I didn’t get a picture of them after they were cooked because they were kind of a mess since they fell over while cooking. So you will just have to take my word for it!

This is really a simple meal, and you can even freeze the mixture, for a super quick meal.

It was delicious, healthy (lots of veggies!) and filling. Plus it’s kind of fun eating something out a edible bowl.

Give it a try!