Welcome to my crazy world of real food cooking ...

Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants. -- Michael Pollan

I wish I could take credit for that because I think it sums up how we should eat. Simply -- eat stuff that really is food, instead of stuff that is food like substance. The supermarket is almost entirely food-like-substances, and, my friends, you should probably never ever eat them.

Fortunately, there is a world of deliciousness out there, and it can all be had in a way that not only doesn't harm your health, but in a way that benefits you hugely.

I think it's important to eat stuff that satisfies you, that keeps your blood sugar stable, and that gives you stuff your body really needs to run optimally.

But baby, it's gotta taste good.

I really like getting experimental in the kitchen. I love cooking, I love layering flavours, and I love coming up with really super yummy food. I have very strong opinions about what constitutes food, and there are a lot of things I won't touch in the kitchen. Bottom line? Pretty much everything I make is ridiculously good for you even if it tastes decadent. Although there are occasional big fat cheats ... but even those stick to real food, my friends.

For food that is usual gluten free, usually free of cane sugar, usually super low on the glycemic index, full of protein, fiber, flavour, and excellent energy, join me and Alice down the rabbit hole.

Every recipe on this blog is my own original effort and idea, so please pass 'em on, giving credit where credit is due.

Many thanks, and come back often. I'm really glad you are here!


Monday, 27 June 2011

Goji Cookie Bars -- gluten free, vegan, and yummy

I'm not altogether excited about chocolate, so I did a little fancy dance with our cottage cookie bar recipe, and came up with these cookie bars that play with goji berries, walnuts, and pecans, a touch of raw cacao, some chia seeds, and our usual spices and seasonings. To my surprise, my husbands likes them a lot -- he's definitely a chocolate chip cookie kind of guy, so I wasn't expecting him to. I find them to be a tasty and satisfying snack, and especially like the way the texture gets chewier by the next day.


1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup flax meal
1 cup boiling water

1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut nectar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground vanilla bean
black pepper
1 tsp ground whole leaf stevia (optional)

1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup raw cacao
3 cups almond meal

1 cup goji berries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped pecans


1. combine the chia, flax, and boiling water, and let sit for 10 minutes (at least)
2. mix in the coconut oil so it melt
3. add the apple cider vinegar, and the coconut nectar
4. add the sea salt, cinnamon, black pepper, stevia and vanilla
5. add the coconut, hemp seeds, and raw cacao
6. add the almond meal
7. stir in the goji berries and chopped nuts
8. press the batter into a parchment lined rectangular baking dish
9. bake at 345 for 45 minutes
10. cut into bars
11. store in an airtight container when cool

Cottage Cookie Bars -- version 2.0, the home version

These are still gluten free, still vegan, still grain free, and still good for you. With my whole complement of ingredients available, I tweaked the ingredients, however. Copious amounts of saigon cinnamon and ground vanilla play a little flavour game with a dash of apple cider vinegar. The nuts of choice this time are walnuts, and instead of going shy on the add-ins, I anted up a full cup of each for extra texture and taste. There you have it!

You know you want it. These gluten free, vegan goodies are good for you. The main ingredients are almonds, walnuts, flax, hemp, and raisins. It's like trailmix in a bar, with a delectably cookie taste. This is a reprisal of the recipe I came up with at the cottage. Being at home I could throw in some of my faves like ground vanilla, so taste is a little different.

My cookie memory from childhood is of the walnut, raisin, and chocolate chip combo in the oatmeal cookies my mother made, and I have to admit I think they really bring out the best in each other. They certainly play nice in these cookie bars.


1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup flax meal

1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp saigon cinnamon
2 tsp ground vanilla
black pepper

1/2 cup hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
3 cups blanched almond flour

1 cup raisins
1 cup callebaut chocolate morsels, bittersweet
1 cup chopped walnuts


preheat the oven to 345

1. combine the flax meal and boiling water and let sit for 10 minutes
2. add the coconut oil, coconut sugar, and apple cider vinegar
3. add the cinnamon, vanilla, sea salt, and black pepper
4. add in the hemp seeds
5. add the almond flour
6. add the raisins, chocolate, and walnuts
7. press into a rectangular baking dish lined with parchment
8. bake at 345 for 50 minutes
9. cut into bars
10. store in an airtight container when cool

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Apple and Strawberry Pie Filling -- naturally gluten free, vegan, and delicious

I seem to have an embarrassing interest in pie filling. First the apple rhubarb, now this.  Hi Berry had such cute strawberries, so pie them we did. 


1 1/2 lbs organic royal gala apples, cored and diced
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup coconut sugar
pinch sea salt
1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
dash cinnamon


1. combine all the ingredients in an oven proof, open dish
2. pop the dish in the oven until the coconut oil has melted (a couple of minutes
3. toss everything together well, and return to the oven for about 1 hour at 345
4. enjoy as is, with ice cream, with friends, in the dark, with secret shame, with happy smiles, or with your very adorable 3 year old who loves pie filling as much as do you.

Oven Roasted Baby New Potatoes

These are easy to make!

Choose the teeniest potatoes you can find. Turn on your oven, and put the potatoes and some coconut oil in the oven in a baking dish. After a few minutes, take the dish out, and toss the potatoes well with the coconut oil. Add some sea salt, pepper, herbs, cumin, or whatever you like, and toss well. Return to the oven for around 45 minutes on 345. 

Ta da!

So cute.

Dinner Pancakes -- gluten free, dairy free, and great with Maple syrup

These pancakes are a good dinner food. High in protein, and light and fluffy in texture. We enjoy pancakes as a dinner food, not so much for breakfast, but these could do well for either. Heck, they would even be nice with blueberries. Sorry, vegans, these are not for you. But if you are paleo, primal, grain-free, gluten-intolerant, dairy-sensitive, or just like yummy pancakes, these just might rock your boat. They did ours.


4 eggs
1 cup water

1/2 cup flax meal
1/2 cup hemp seeds (no shell)
1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour

1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt
dash cinnamon
black pepper


1. Begin to heat your cast iron skillet. If you are not using cast iron, you can wait until after you make the batter to heat your pan
2. beat the eggs, and mix in the water
3. stir in the seeds
4. add the sea salt, cinnamon, and black pepper
5. add the almond flour
6. pour 1/4 of batter for each pancake, and cook for 2 minutes per side

Serve with maple syrup if you your pancakes a little sweet.

Dinner at the Cottage -- This is how we roll

There's this place called Hi Berry that is a farm between Port Elgin and South Hampton, on Lake Huron. They sell produce right off their farm, and it's great fun to stop in daily for fresh veggies for dinner. Right now they have new potatoes, asparagus a plenty, swiss chard and spinach, strawberries, and just yesterday, kohlrabi. We made many meals of tiny tiny roasted sweet potatoes (think the size of marbles) and lightly sauteed asparagus (with garlic scapes, yum). Pancakes are a ubiquitous favourite of my family, and we made a grain and gluten free version containing lots of almond flour, hemp seeds, and flax seeds that were abso-fab with the local maple syrup. Dessert was strawberry apple pie filling (yum yum)

gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, protein-rich pancakes made with almond four, flax meal, and hemp seeds

ubiquitous sauteed broccoli ... we are so predictable

mini roasted potatoes with herbs and cumin ... or nothin' at all

asparagus season is short lived, so eat up ...

pie minus the pi

and there you have it!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Cottage Cookies Bars -- vegan, gluten free, sugar free (except for the chocolate chips)

Rainy mornings in Port Elgin always make me feel like baking. The challenge is to create with very limited ingredients, because I didn't bring much with me!

What I came up with is sort of my take on a granola bar, I suppose, minus the granola. These are suitable for those who need help keeping their blood sugar stable, are vegan, can't eat gluten, or just want a healthier alternative.

I would probably make 'em with more cinnamon next time, and some vanilla. And chopped walnuts instead of chopped almonds. But they are very nice, and quite successful for something rustled up from very limited ingredients.


1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil
1 cup boiling water + 1/2 cup flax meal, combined and allowed to sit for 10 minutes
1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
black pepper
pinch cloves

3 cups almond meal
1/2 cup hemp seeds

1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (up to 1 cup for true chocolate lovers)
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1 cup raisins


preheat the oven to 345

1. combine boiling water and flax meal and let sit for 10 minutes
2. mix the flax seed water concoction with the coconut oil, coconut sugar, sea salt, and spices
3. mix in the almond flour and hemp seeds
4. add your chopped almonds, raisins, and chocolate chips (or whatever else you like!)
5. press into a parchment lined baking dish (large rectangular one)
6. flatten with your hands (you'll need to oil 'em up for this)
7. bake for 45 minutes on 345
8. remove from the oven, and cut into bars
9. cool thoroughly, and store in an airtight container

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Rhubarb and Apple Bake -- naturally gluten free, vegan and absolutely delicious

I'm not a big fan of pie. I probably shouldn't confess it. But I love the baked fruit that goes inside the pie. Baked apple? Delish. 

Well, I had a bunch of rhubarb just begging to be pie-d, but instead I did a bake with apple, and boy I gotta tell you it's super yummy. Now, I would be very happy with a crumble topping made of roasted pecan, or a crust of almond meal. But, I have to be honest, the filling to me really is the very best part. So, here I indulged my inner immature self, and basically made some rhubarb and apple pie filling. And smiled with every bite. ;)


2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
3 cups chopped rhubarb (1 bunch)
4-5 cups chopped royal gala (4 medium apples, skin on (organic))

1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground vanilla bean


preheat the oven to 345

1. melt the coconut oil in an oven proof baking dish (I used a cast iron one)
2. add the other ingredients and toss well to combine
3. bake open for 45 minutes to 1 hour in the upper half of the oven

Enjoy! If you are inclined, this would make a lovely accompaniment to vanilla ice cream. For me, however, it's all about the pie-less pie bliss.

Dinner -- It happens every day ...

vegetable and chickpea saute

sauteed kale

the saute on red rice

Colin's fave: oven 'frites'

I'll be all over you like red on rice ... doesn't quite have the same ring ...
Colusari Red Rice. Yummy.

Baked Rhubarb and Apple -- like pie without the crust.
oh, yeah, baby.

I really like kale. My husband really likes oven-frites. But we can all, including my son, agree on the vegetable and chickpea saute on red rice. And we all get to have our little indulgence (my son's was 2 morsels of Callebaut bitter-sweet chocolate after dinner). And the rhubarb and apple pie without the pie thang was sooooo gooooooood.

Naughty and Nice Fudge Cookies -- gluten free, grain free, optionally vegan, sugar free

Hey kids, these cookies will just about kick you in the butt with their profoundly dark and dirty fudgey goodness. If you hate chocolate, don't even bother reading any further. There is so much raw cacao in these cookies that you'll plunge into a blissed out state of cacao induced euphoria from just one. They are not nut free, and they are not free of coconut. I've done my best to piss off everyone with these ones. You can substitute vegan egg-replacer and have cookies that work just fine, but the flavours will be different without the almond butter, pecan meal, and shredded coconut. However, if you want to make it your own with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and hemp seeds, be my guest. Just let me know how it goes! I will be posting some coconut free and nut free options, as well. We made some cookies with sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds yesterday. I thought they needed ... something. It was my first time to use pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds as the body of the batter, and I think they need a bit of a kick in the seat of the pants. Not quite stultifying, but heavy and ponderous.

Anyway, for fudge and fun, these will give good gluten-free entertainment.


2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
2 tbsp almond butter, smooth (roasted)
2 tbsp warm water
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 egg
6 tbsp coconut sugar

1 tsp ceylon cinnamon
1/2 tsp saigon cinnamon
1/2 tsp korintje cinnamon
(or 2 tsp whatever cinnamon)
1 tsp ground vanilla
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp stevia leaf
black pepper

1/2 cup ground flax
2 tbsp chia seed
1/2 shredded coconut
6 tbsp raw cacao
2 tbsp ground carob
1/4 tsp baking soda
6 - 8 tbsp pecan meal


preheat the oven to 345

1. combine almond butter, coconut oil, and hot water, and melt together
2. add the apple cider vinegar, and coconut sugar
3. mix in the eggs
4. add the cinnamon, vanilla, sea salt, pepper, and stevia
5. add the cacao and carob
6. add the flax and chia
7. add the coconut and baking soda
8. add the pecan meal
9. drop the cookie dough by teaspoon full onto lined cookie sheets, and flatten with a wet fork
10. bake at 345 for 14- 16 minutes

When the cookies are cool, store them in an airtight container.
Makes 2 dozen.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

A Colourful Crepe Filling -- naturally gluten free, vegan, and yummy

Come on, how pretty is that? I know what you are thinking: can I come over for dinner? Absolutely, you can. I always make enough to share. Unless what you were really thinking was that I must be daft. In which case ... um ... on to the next.

I used very little seasoning in this, just a little sea salt, a touch of black pepper, and a wee bit of dried marjoram. The combination of flavours gives a bright and savoury taste that wants for nothing. I was thrilled with the outcome, and am already looking forward to the left-overs tomorrow. Yum! In the house I grew up in, we all hated left-overs, but now to me they are practically a gift. One hour preparation on a meal that then lasts for three dinners. How awesome is that. If you are someone who likes to make a fresh meal every night, well, my hat is off to you, and unless your family is quite big, you might want to reduce the quantities. ;)


1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
1 small onion, diced -- about 1/2 cup
1 garlic clove, minced -- about 1 tbsp
1 med carrot, sliced
3 small tomatoes, diced -- about 3/4 cup
1 cup kidney beans (already cooked)
1/2 cup frozen corn (organic)
1/2 cup frozen peas (organic)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tbsp marjoram

250 g broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces (about 1 1/4 cup)


1. begin to saute the garlic and onion in a large saute pan with the coconut oil
2. add the carrots, tomatoes, peas, corn, kidney beans, and sea salt, and cook until the tomatoes start to break down, and the onions are nice and translucent.
3. add the marjoram
4. add the broccoli, and cook just until the broccoli is as tender as you like it

Serve as a filling for our fabulous crepe recipe, or eat it by the bowlful with grunting noises and glances over your shoulder.

Crepes, the recipe. Dairy free, high in protein, but not nut free and not gluten free.

I really like crepes. I apologize to my gluten-free readers that this recipe is not for you, unless you have a handy flour you can sub in for the kamut. It is dairy free, but not vegan, although I can assure you our eggs come from very happy pastured chickens who live a good fowl life. Yes, we get them from The Milk Man.
I really like crepes, but I wanted a version that is lower in grain than our old standby that I'd make with milk and eggs and whole wheat flour. These ones use almond meal and chia seeds, and have a lovely taste and texture.

If you've never made crepes before, I will tell you right off that they are both easy and hard to make. Don't let the word hard stop you, because you will quickly get the hang of it. 

You need a good non-stick pan. I prefer my big square cast iron skillet for this, but I'm sure you'll have your fave.

There are 4 main things that make crepes tricky:

1. Getting the temperature just right for perfect cooking
2. Rolling the pan as it were to spread the batter when you pour it on
3. The sacrificial crepe -- more on that later
4. uh ... I forgot what 4 was for ... 

1. Now, cast iron pans take a little time to heat up, and I find that my first couple of crepes need 2 minutes per side, but after that 1 minute per side is fine. You want to keep your eye on the heat, and tweak it so that you can brown your crepes slightly without burning them in the alotted time. Usually pretty low -- 2 to 4 on the temperature dial seems to work best for me, but that also depends on the element.

2. You scoop the batter by 1/4 measure on to the middle of the pan, and then pick it up and tip it around and around to allow the batter to spread in a circle. This is how you get a nice thin crepe. If you are using a cast iron pan, it will be heavy, and you'll need to use 2 hands. If it has a helper handle, that can be very helpful for this. You'll need oven mitts after a while as the cast iron gets hot and distributes its heat.

3. Your first crepe will stick, fall apart, be both overcooked and undercooked, and must not be taken as discouraging or significant. Quite frankly, it's part of the process both in pancakes and in crepes. Around here we call it the sacrificial crepe or the sacrificial pancake. The first one in the pan is not a good indicator of things to come.

4. Dang. I still don't know what 4 was for ...

Onwards and upwards.


1 1/2 cups water
4 eggs
1/2 tsp sea salt
black pepper

1 cup almond flour
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup kamut flour


1. whisk together water, eggs, salt, and pepper
2. add the almond flour and chia seeds
3. add baking soda
4. add kamut flour
5. allow the batter to sit for at least 20 minutes
6. heat up your crepe pan/ griddle/skillet etc after liberally coating with coconut oil
7. when the pan is up to temperature, scoop 1/4 cup of batter on to it, and tilt around and around to spread batter
8. set the timer for 1 or 2 minutes
9. flip with a spatula when the crepe is ready, and set the timer again for 1 or 2 minutes
10. remove the crepe to a plate and repeat until all the batter is gone.

If you are less ocd than I, you can skip the timer, and just wing it, flipping at will. But I can't guarantee the results if you do.

These crepes would be lovely for sweet with the addition of some vanilla and cinnamon in the batter. 

As they are, I might try grinding the chia seeds next time, instead of putting them in whole. I found it made for an interesting texture, but I'd also be interested to see what the other way is like.

Crepes for Dinner!

It's a simple thing, really. But almost everyone loves crepes. You can fill them with whatever you like, savoury or sweet, and it's a very pleasing meal.

At four o'clock I realized I didn't know what to make for dinner. So, I thought of crepes. I whipped up this batter, then let it sat while I began to compile the filling. For the uninitiated, crepe batter (especially one with chia seeds in it) needs to sit for a while before using. The filling was a result of a quick scan of the freezer, and some of the lovely tomatoes sitting in a bowl on the counter. Kidney beans, tomato, onion, garlic, corn, peas, carrots and broccoli made a bring and very very tasty filling. By five o'clock, all the crepes were finished, and the filling was cooked and ready to fill. The crepes were interesting, comprised mainly of almond flour, water, and eggs, with some chia seeds (I might grind them next time) and a wee bit of kamut flour. They are thin, with a delicate and yet fluffy texture. I wish I had a gluten-free flour to sub in that would keep the same sturdiness and flexibility. If you know of one yourself that you like to use, please let me know how it goes. 

These high protein crepes and their veggie-full filling make a very satisfying, belly filling meal that's nicely colourful, and full of deliciousness.  And enjoyable for all ages. The recipes for both the crepes and the filling will follow on the heels of this one.

Kasha! a gluten free old world dish

My great grandmother used to make kasha. I wasn't a huge fan, because I found it quite dry. She also cooked zucchini with tomato sauce  -- or was it ketchup. Her poppy seed cookies and apple cake were legend, as was she. Little old bossy boots. I miss her.

I made kasha, because it's not something we've had much. I had a nice juicy saute of greens and beans to go on it, and I made it with sauteed onions. Kasha is buckwheat groats. Buckwheat isn't a grain, unlike our other 'cereals' which are grasses. Like quinoa and amaranth, it is a broadleaf plant whose seeds are used much like cereal grains. It does have a bit of a dry texture and taste to it, but to go with our saute it was perfect, and the sauteed onion that I used in it gave it a very nice flavour.

If you squint at the above photo, you'll see the kasha peeking around the greens and the beans from the saute we ate with the kasha.


2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
sea salt and pepper

2 cups buckwheat groats, toasted (kasha)

2 cups water


1. saute the onion in the coconut oil with a little sea salt over low heat
2. when the onion is translucent, add the kasha, and saute until completely coated with the oil
3. add water and a little sea salt and pepper, stir well, and cover
4. when the water has absorbed completely, remove from heat.

Works as a nice accompaniment to our Greens and Beans Saute. I bet any leftovers would work well in a savoury pancake batter ...

Greens and Beans Saute. But no green beans. Gluten-free, vegan, full of yummy.

What do you make when you have a some bok choy, spinach, broccoli, chickpeas, and black eyed peas? This! 

Yummy :)


extra virgin coconut oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup carrot, sliced into medallions
1/2 cup celery, sliced

1 1/2 cups chickpeas (cooked)
1 1/2 cups black eyed peas (cooked)

150 g spinach, chopped

1 bok choy, sliced

250 g broccoli, cut into florets

salt and pepper to taste


1. saute the garlic and onion in some coconut oil in a large saute pan
2. season with a little salt and pepper, and add the carrots and celery
3. cook until translucent, then add the black eyed peas and chickpeas
4. add the bok choy and spinach, and sprinkle with sea salt
5. when the other vegetables are cooked well, and the water from them has been absorbed by the peas, add the broccoli and toss well. cook until bright green, and season with salt and pepper to taste
6. serve atop something yummy, such as the savoury kasha dish we made. Quinoa or rice etc would also be nice. But it really was ab-fab with the kasha. That's buckwheat, yo.