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!


Saturday, 31 December 2011

Our New Year's Feast

Our New Year's Festivities involved going to Riverdale Farm and making mud angels, followed by careening down icy mud covered hills. Much fun. We returned home hungry and boisterous, ready to celebrate in style. Because I prefer just having fun with my friends when they are over, nearly the entire dinner was already prepared, and just had to be heated up. I rolled the sushi just before eating, but the feast was on the table not too long after we walked in.

We were fortunate to spend NYE with great friends. Thanks, great friends. I don't have a picture, but our great friends brought a fabulous dessert wrap using a tapioca wrapper filled with dragon fruit, lychee, pomegranate, etc, and decorated with mango puree, crushed cashews, basil leaves, and whisper thin slices of ripe star fruit. Stunningly gorgeous, my friends, as well as super yummy.

I am truly lucky to have such a wonderful family and friends to see the old year out with.

1. green onion pancakes
2. avocado sushi
3. wakame and carrot salad with sesame seeds
4. soup with coconut milk and lime juice
5. tofu and broccoli saute in lettuce leaf roll ups
6. truffles again!!!

The soup, pancakes ,and tofu can all be made ahead and heated up (I heated the tofu dish and the pancakes in the oven)
The salad can of course be made the day before and served cold or room temperature
The sushi is best made when you need it, and served at room temperature, but if you need to you can make it ahead and cut it just when you want to eat it. Hint -- for littlies, cut the pieces in half! (of course the rice can be made ahead). Serve with tamari and wasabi for those who like it.
The truffles can be made ahead and stored in the fridge or freezer until needed.

Wishing you all health, happiness, discovery, and peace for 2012.

Friday, 30 December 2011

About Gratitude, mostly.

I forgot to eat breakfast the other day. 

Gentle readers, you may also be in the position to occasionally forget to eat breakfast. The day gets suddenly busy, your routine deviates slightly from the norm, or you just have more to do than usual. And since your last meal was dinner the evening before, your cellular fuel stores are still stoked, and although you probably even feel hungry, it is in the back of your mind, and you don't really notice it. Your morning is busy enough that you don't realize you haven't eaten, because it's just part of your routine. Like toothbrushing or shaving. Or yoga. You think you've done it.

When 12 rolled around and I was picking my son up from pre-school, my stomach gave an uncharacteristically hollow yowl -- nothing so dignified as a growl for me -- and I realized I felt unusually ... depleted.  I thought for a moment, then realized I'd completely missed breakfast. This made me smile because it made me grateful. Grateful to live in a situation in which survival is so easy that it has become mundane and I don't even think about it. Grateful that my challenges don't include sustenance and shelter. Those are, quite simply, assumed (without making a you know what out of u and me). I pretty much take breakfast -- and every other meal I eat -- for granted.

Mising breakfast is unusual for me. I'm not usually a meal skipper. I'm definitely not a breakfast skipper. I don't necessarily buy into the idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I certainly believe in eating when I'm hungry, and usually, after 12 to 14 hours without eating, I am.

I've been thinking lately about food. Perhaps not a newsflash, since I do write a food blog, do nearly all our grocery shopping, cook all our food, and eat three times a day. But I've been thinking about the larger connotations of food.

Food has become so easy for most of us. We don't need to struggle to survive here in our warm homes, most of us any way. Most of us can take three squares for granted, and not even think about it. Most of us are drowning in a sea of excess -- not wasting away, desperately trying to find a few calories to shove into our offsprings' mouths.

My small son has never known hunger.

There are families the world over who exhaust themselves trying to eke out a living. There are families everywhere whose children languish despite their efforts. There are families down the street or around the corner who spend their welfare cheques on oreos, wonder bread, and ciggies. And here I sit on my voluptuous backside taking proper nutrition and whole foods for granted, feeling smug as my three year old demands sea weed for breakfast.

There are people who don't know where their next meal is coming from, and parents who are forced to watch their children cry from hunger.

We are so freaking lucky.  We eat when we are hungry. We eat when we are not hungry. We eat when we are happy or sad or to celebrate or to console. We are in the position of taking food for granted.

We have imbued food with powers of healing, love, celebration, comfort, so many things far beyond the simple nourishment it provides.

We are lucky enough that sometimes we can even forget to eat.

Just for a moment I will sit here feeling thankful that I can take food, shelter, and safety for granted. And then I will forget about them again and go about my busy day, so mundane have these things become for me.

Today I think I will bear my good fortune in mind and give food to the food bank and hope that others might be fortunate enough to forget to eat breakfast too.

Today I will think of the people world over who are starving, and maybe I will come up with a way to help them. Right now, I have no idea. I know it's an issue fraught with corruption and politics, and I have no idea what to do to help the starving babies.

The history of all societies is marked by times of strife, war, trial, famine, and then times of excess and success. Is it enough to just think about it, or can we actually do something to change the course of other people's lives?

I donate blood and give food and money to people who don't have in some small attempt to salve my guilt for having health and the means to earn a living when there are many who have not, or is it out of gratitude for having? Either way, does it make a difference? Are there people whose lives have been changed by what I've done, or is the biggest impact of my efforts only on me? Does it even matter?

I am trying to teach my child humility, pride, self-worth, and gratitude. I am trying to teach myself that.

I've read two books that changed the way food looks to me. I read 'In Defense of Food' and 'The Omnivores Dilemma' both by Michael Pollan. I had never considered the political ramifications of food before, the intrinsic greed and corruption of food production, and the importance of conscientious choice. After a while it's exhausting and overwhelming, keeping straight which food companies are actually owned by Big Tobacco and Big Pharma. I try to get everything I can directly from the farmers or their neighbours. That in itself is a political act, although I've never considered myself political.

In the end, it is simple. I am grateful that I can feed my family. I am grateful that my child has never known hunger, and probably never will.

I am grateful.

Now that survival has become so easy for us, we can focus our energies on other things. Acquisition of more wealth. Keeping up with the neighbours. Finding those perfect shoes. Or we can focus our competitive and spiritual energies on trying to make the world a better place not just for ourselves but for everyone around us. I won't pretend I know how to do that, and I'm not a believer in grand gestures. But I do think there is something to be said for baby steps, and taking opportunities where they arise.

And in the meantime I'm sending out warm wishes of happiness, health, serenity-- and of course gratitude -- to all of you and yours.

I am so freaking grateful.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Savoury Corn Muffins -- gluten free etc etc etc

I have a fondness for the savoury side of life. A lapse in concentration made these little muffins quite heavy on the chipotle. I am fond of chipotle, so that suited me just fine. Hey, I bet they would have been good with some mesquite ... I think next time I make them I will add 2 more eggs, to make them lighter and fluffier. However, I like them very much. They were a perfect addition to our breakfast feast.


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

1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp chipotle
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp marjoram
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tbsp dried oregano

1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup flax meal
1/2 cup organic cornmeal

2 organic eggs

1 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup corn kernels (go organic)


preheat the oven to 345

1. combine the coconut oil, spices, vinegar, flax meal, chia seeds, corn meal, and boiling water
2. let it sit for 10 minutes
3. add the organic eggs, the baking soda, and the almond meal
4. add the corn kernels
5. scoop the batter into prepared muffin cups
6. bake for 30 minutes at 345
7. while you are waiting for them to be done, have a dance party with your three year old. You will be better for it.

Store in an airtight container when fully cool.


These truffles are lovely.

I adapted this recipe, and although I might have to work a few kinks out, it's pretty darn amazingly delicious. Cream, chocolate, and butter -- how can you go wrong?

I made three versions, all starting with the basic chocolate truffle mixture. For the first, I used just the plain truffle mixture, and rolled the truffle balls in raw cacao. For the second, I mixed peanut butter into the truffle mixture, and rolled the truffles in raw cacao. For the third, I roasted whole hazelnuts to perfection and then wrapped each hazelnut in a coating of truffle, and rolled the truffles in a mixture of coconut sugar and raw cacao. Heavenly. And, coming from someone who is not a big chocolate eater, that's saying something.


1 cup of cream
2 tbsp butter (room temperature)

7 oz callebaut bittersweet chocolate
2 pinches of salt


2 tbsp peanut butter


approximately 25 whole hazelnuts, oven roasted to golden brown perfection, and skinned


raw cacao

coconut sugar


1. heat the cream until it comes to a simmer (with the salt)
2. pour the hot cream over the chocolate and butter, and allow to sit for 2 minutes until the butter and chocolate are melted
3. slowly and gradually stir the concoction until it is smooth and homogeneous
4. in a separate bowl, put in the 2 tbsp of organic smooth peanut butter with a pinch of salt and add 1/2 cup of the chocolate mixture. Stir until well combined
5. allow the mixtures to cool, and then chill in the fridge until solidified (at least 2 hours)
6. for the chocolate truffles,  scoop out small amounts of the mixture, roll into balls and then roll in raw cacao powder (put the cacao on a plate) 
7. put the truffles in an airtight container and refrigerate
8. for the hazelnut truffles, wrap each hazelnut in a coating of truffle, then roll into a ball. Roll the truffles in a mixture of raw cacao and coconut sugar (1:1 on a plate), then put the truffles in an airtight container and refrigerate
9. for the peanut butter truffles, scoop out small amounts of the mixture and roll into balls. Roll the balls in a mixture of coconut sugar and raw cacao. Put the truffles in an airtight container and refrigerate.
10. You might like to label the containers because they all look similar.

I ended up with 25 of each truffle, approximately, because of the size I made them. You can make them as large or as small as pleases you. I guess mine were smallish ...

Enjoy with good friends and loved ones, and enjoy their enjoyment.

Perfect Baked Vegetables

squash, carrots, and parsnips baking

king and portobello mushrooms baking

my large 'tossing' bowl

ta da

ta rah

with rosemary sprig after being reheated

super deliciousness my friends ....

My Uncle Ted and Aunt Sarah are past masters of baked vegetables. They hold the secret, but fortunately for the rest of the free world, they are willing to share it. The secret, my friends, when concocting a medley of roasted vegetables, is to bake each vegetable separately and then combine them at the end. This allow each type to be cooked to perfection as per their individual requirements, and guarantees no mushy sogginess or other unfortunate baking calamities.

Of course it helps to use farm fresh produce, and I would certainly advise to choose chemical free when it comes to any representatives from the dirty dozen. Even numbers thirteen through twenty, my friends.

Additionally, it's a good idea to choose ingredients that enjoy each others company.

I've decided to go a little crazy for our breakfast on the 25th, and roast up a slightly eclectic conglomerate of lovelies.

On the invite list:

squash, carrot, parsnip, mushrooms, leek, shallot, cabbage, and celery

Sort of a cozy autumny, wintery mix, methinks. With just a hint of spring thrown in there for brightness.


butternut squash -- 1 small, cut into pieces

parsnip -- 1 large, cut into pieces
carrot -- 3 medium, sliced

portobello mushrooms -- 2, chopped (don't cut your pieces too small, because
king mushrooms -- 4, chopped

leek -- 1 leek, chopped (fibrous parts removed, but most of the greens are actually quite tender, so don't be shy. Just make sure you rinse ALL the sand out ...)
shallot -- 1 shallot, chopped

green cabbage -- 1/2 small, chopped
celery heart -- 1, sliced

I shall use hints of chili powder, some fresh rosemary from my window garden, and of course sea salt and black pepper. Of course. I predictably put sea salt and pepper in everything, sweet or savoury.

To 'toss' the ingredients with seasoning and coconut oil, I used a very large earthenware bowl. I could put this in the oven for a few minutes to melt the coconut oil, then put the cut up ingredients in with the seasonings, and combine well. I then spread the ingredients on a baking sheet and put the baking sheet in the oven. A very large oven safe bowl will make things much much easier.


1. wash and cut butternut squash into pieces, toss with melted coconut oil, chili powder, sea salt, and black pepper. Spread on a lined baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes

2. wash and cut the carrot and parsnip into pieces, toss with melted coconut oil, chili powder, and salt and pepper, and put on a lined baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes

3. wash and cut the mushrooms into pieces, toss with melted coconut oil, salt and pepper, and chili powder, put into a baking dish (uncovered), and bake for 30 minutes

4. wash and cut the leek and shallot into pieces, toss with melted coconut oil, salt, and pepper, and place in a covered baking dish with a sprig of rosemary and bake for 45 minutes

5. wash and cut the celery and cabbage, cut into pieces, toss with melted coconut oil, sea salt, and pepper, put on a lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes

6. Put all the roasted ingredients into a large covered casserole with a sprig or two of rosemary.

Heat the casserole before serving.

I made this ahead of time, so all I had to do the morning of the 25th was heat this up.

on the day:
After having kept this refrigerated for 2 days, (or rather on the back porch in a cooler to protect it from marauding raccoons because the fridge was already full), I threw it in the oven for 45 minutes at 345.

Super yummy deliciousness!!!!!! I could eat this all day. Seriously.

Giving credit where credit is due, if you are lucky enough to have an Aunt Sarah and Uncle Ted, then maybe they are some of your favourite people too.

Thank you  Ted and Sarah, I love you.


Sunday, 25 December 2011

Breakfast on December 25th -- our annual feast

We are lucky enough to have loved ones who join us for breakfast on the 25th of December every year. It's a wonderful way to spend the day when no one has to go to work, and we can all keep our worries and stresses at bay for the day. I use the term breakfast loosely. People started arriving late morning, and by noon everyone was here. But it's still breakfast, not lunch, even if we didn't do pancakes this year.

on the menu:

1. coffee and tea
2. savoury corn muffins
3. blueberry muffins
4. pecan date muffins
5. perfect baked vegetables
6. baked apple
7. little oranges
8. Uncle Ted's smoked salmon (for the non vegetarians among us) and crackers
9. maple pecan bars
10.  truffles
11. peanut butter cookies
12. roasted cashews
13. tamari almonds
14. Vegetable soup
15. beautiful bread

I love this day. It's a day where pretty much no one has to be anywhere, and people can come, hangout, enjoy some wonderful time with friends and family, and enjoy some yummy food.

I forgot to take a picture of the spread, but trust me it was a sight to behold.

Happy Holidays, everyone. I hope you spent it with loved ones!

p.s. This year instead of gifting to each other, we got a bunch of gift cards from Winners and took them to a shelter for abused women in East Toronto. Each year we have chosen a different destination for gifts, but I think next year we'll do this shelter again. That way the women there can get what they need for themselves and their children as they start a new life for themselves.


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Most Awesome Vegetable Soup


2 tbsp coconut oil
1 - 2 tbsp minced garlic
1 shallot finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 (purple cooking) onion finely chopped (about 1 cup)

4 cups finely chopped green cabbage

3 cups cooked chickpeas
3 cups green peas 
1 cup organic corn kernels (optional)

2 - 3 cups diced carrots
2 - 3 cups diced celery hearts -- leaves and all

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tbsp marjoram
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
4 tsp sea salt

10 cups H2O (boiling)

1/4 cup fresh parsley, to add at the end


 turn on your crock pot to high and set the timer for 6 hours or whatever works for your crockpot.

1. add the ingredients in the order listed, layering them. This is important
1.5 add boiling water instead of cold water so as to not slow down your cooking process
2. let the crockpot do its thing whilst you indulge in a mani-pedi
3. think of all the people you will share the soup with on the 25th
4. smile
5. When the soup is done, add 1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley

Gentle readers, I will tell you a few little secrets. One, I was lying about the mani-pedi, but if that suits you go for it. Two, if you put the cabbage right near the bottom, it will virtually disintegrate by the end of the cooking, and merely go to inform the constitution of the broth, giving it a sweet and earthy depth, and thickening it up a bit. Three the actual quantity of vegetable ingredients you put in is not crucial. If you put in 1 cup instead of 2, or 1/2 a cup instead of 1, or 2 cups instead of 1, it will all be okay. I'm just telling you what I did. Although, a soup this good, who wouldn't want to recreate it?????

Friends and family join us for breakfast on the 25th. By late afternoon there are a few stragglers left, and we enjoy a light supper after a lazy stroll around the 'hood to enjoy the decorations. This soup, along with a freshly baked loaf of bread will be that light supper. Now, you know you want to join us, so come on over.

herbed savoury cookies

I wanted to make something that was like a cookie but not. Savoury instead of sweet. Rosemary and chili powder instead of cinnamon and vanilla. A little zip and a little herb. Delicious. I get tired of sweets at times, and this sort of thing is right up my alley. Like a soft cookie, but not sweet. How simple is that?


1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup ground flax
2 tbsp dried rosemary
1/4 cup ground chia seeds

2 eggs
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 tsp sea salt
black pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp chipotle

1/4 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups almond flour


preheat the oven to 345

1. combine the water, oil, flax, chia, rosemary, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, chili powder, and chipotle.
2. mix in the almond flour and baking soda
3. finally, stir in the eggs
4. drop the batter by spoonfuls onto a lined baking sheet, and flatten with a wet fork.

bake at 345 for 16-18 minutes

these are great. I love these.

Brunch with Friends

Some of you may be surprised, but I have friends. I have friends I've known for years and years.

Today, a friend that I've known for almost 30 years who is very dear to me brought his wife, who is a friend I've known for less than 30 years but also very dear to me, and their lovely 5 year old boy for brunch. Filling the house with friends and laughter and food and love is like a tonic, and I am still sated by it, and deeply grateful. Love you guys.

Our feast:

1. baked apple
2. blueberry muffins
3. peanut butter and honey muffins
4. savoury rosemary biscuits
5. coffee/tea/fruit tisane
oh, and lots and lots of butter to go on the muffins. Natch.

the remains of the feast

blueberry muffins

rosemary biscuits

peanut butter and honey muffins

baked apple -- aka apple pie filling

Seaweed and Carrot salad

Making some sort of Asian inspired dishes. Green Onion pancakes -- V2.O -- with dipping sauce, and seaweed and carrot salad.


equal parts wakame (rehydrated and squeezed dry) and grated carrot
sea salt
brown rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
sesame oil
black sesame seeds (or white ones)
umeboshi paste (optional)
chili powder (optional) -- if you like some zip and sing


1. combine the carrot and wakame
2. season with salt, sesame oil, umeboshi paste mixed into the vinegar, and black sesame seeds. Add the chili powder if you want a little heat
3. taste and adjust the seasonings.

Delish. Sorry for being vague. I have chocolate cake to make.

Baked Apple -- an old fave updated

We love pie filling. To me it's the greatest thing. Never been into pie because I'm not excited about the pie crust. But always liked the inside part. Since it's seen as bad manners to just eat the middle and leave the crust, we cut to the chase as it were, and get more bang for our buck. Ta da, pie filling!

I make this dish in a fabulous cast iron covered beast I call Nemesis, but I say it with great affection.


2 tbsp coconut oil
6 large organic royal gala apples (approx 8 cups cut into large chunks)
1 cup organic thompson raisins
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground vanilla bean
1 tsp ceylon cinnamon


1. melt coconut oil in covered oven proof dish that is large enough for all the ingredients.
2. combine the ingredients in the melted oil.
3. bake for 1 hour at 345.

This tastes like pie minus the pie of course. So yummy. Great for breakie or dessert.

Chocolate Cake -- Layer me up, baby

It will be baby Reya's first birthday, and she needs chocolate layer cake. Here are some baby cakes. But the recipe would make a lovely layer cake. Triple layer, methinks. Please imagine a truffle ganache between the layers, and perhaps a buttercream frosting ...

Yes, I am evil.

The texture is at once delicate, tender, and moist -- everything you'd hope for in a proper chocolate cake. The flavour is deeply, richly chocolate, the sublime flavours of raw cacao and callebaut elevating chocolate to new heights. I'm not a chocolate person, but I think it's fab.

Next time, I will try ground chia instead of whole. But please don't do that without adjusting the quantities, because they don't translate one to one. Just saying.


1/4 cup agave
1/2 cup callebaut chocolate morsels (or any other very high quality bitter sweet chocolate morsel you prefer)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup organic butter or extra virgin coconut oil
1 cup boiling water
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup chia seeds
1 tbsp ground vanilla bean
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ceylon cinnamon
pinch chili pepper
a little black pepper

1/2 cup raw cacao
1/2 tsp baking soda

4 eggs

3 cups almond flour


preheat the oven to 345, and prepare your cake pans with plenty of butter and line the bottoms with parchment

1. pour boiling water over room temperature butter/coconut oil and chocolate morsels to melt them
2. when they are melted, add the agave and coconut sugar, followed by the apple cider vinegar
3. add the chia seeds, vanilla, sea salt, cinnamon, chili pepper, and black pepper
4. add the raw cacao
5. add the eggs and mix well
6. add the almond flour, and combine fully
7. add the baking soda
8. pour the batter evenly into your cake pans -- you can do 2 larger layers or 3 smaller layers
9. bake for approx 30-40 minutes, until the cakes feel firm and springy to the touch
10. remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool before removing from the pan
11. if needed, run a blade between the cake and edge of the pan. the bottom won't stick because you lined it with parchment
12. when the cake is fully cooled, you can frost and fill at will
13 can also be baked as 24 baby cakes.

super yum.