Monday, September 3, 2012

Peppermint Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Peppermint Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


1 can Black beans, rinsed
1 cup egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant coffee
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1-2 teaspoons peppermint extract (depending on taste)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins


For a real holiday treat omit the walnuts and raisins and replace with 1 cup chopped candy canes :) Save some for when the cake is done to sprinkle on top.


1. In a food processor, blend all the ingredients except the walnuts and raisins, until smooth.
2. Pour the batter into a bowl and then fold in the raisins and walnuts.
3. Line a 9" cake pan with parchement paper and grease the edges.
5. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

To Harvest or Not to Harvest......

It's September 3rd, and that time of year when even the warm sunny days feel a bit like fall. The mornings are cooler, and the evenings shorter. I love fall, I like the food, the clothes, the smells, the upcoming holidays. All of it just makes me feel cozy. All of it but one thing.

At about this time every year, I start to become slightly OCD - wait, all year I'm a little OCD about certain items - just as Business about his missing dishes, or many To Do lists. What I'm referring to here is my seasonal OCD regarding watching the weather - particularly the over night forecast temperature. You see, in Alberta, and even more so in my small town, it's common to have days of plus 24 degrees and sunny, dropping to 2 degrees over night. So what right? Wrong.

I have 42 tomato plants outside. Each of those tomato plants have more than 10 tomatoes on them. Green tomatoes.

 So, for the month of September I play a game with the weather, trying to balance the risk of leaving the tomatoes out long enough to get them to ripen but not at the risk of losing all my perfect lil green toms to a nasty frost.

Last year, one Sunday at about 4pm, the weather network posted a Frost Warning and with the nip in the air already at 4, I knew they were right about this one. Business was out of town for the day visiting his Mom. I was the their only hope.

I could have covered them, posted PVC pipes around their raised beds and pulled the thin plastic sheets out over them, taking time to clip the sides, secure the bottoms. It was windy that afternoon though, and I wasn't confident the sheets would stay. So with a heavy sigh I decided to pull them out, cages and all and hang them upside down in my garage where they could take their time ripening on the vine in the warmth and shelter of our insulated garage.

This  decision paid dividends, right until January. I picked many tomatoes off those vines, first perfectly juicy ones for slicing and eating, then some best for cooking with, sometimes pulling in so many I would make 4 or more litres of sauce in a day to can. Finally in the first week of January I pulled off the final few tomatoes, with these I made the most delicious, oven roasted tomatoes.

Anyhow, back to today, today I begin the waiting/balancing game of what to do to protect my tomatoes from the sure to arrive frost this September.

For all of you though who have great weather, and cooperating tomatoes, check out my

Tomato Harvest Marinara Sauce

to use up your abundance of tomatoes.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Spicy Black Bean Dip

Three and a half weeks ago I got married. Things have since become well, normal :) I love my husband very much and I think more everyday - including all 24 days since we got married. I also have loved how post wedding, life returns to normal.

We had a long engagement - about 18 months. I had so many plans and so many ideas for the wedding and for leading up to the wedding. You would think with all that time everything would have made it from the To Do List to the Done List. Many things did, certainly all the most important. We had our marriage license, the rings and we both showed up on time. Well, 20 minutes late is on time for the Bride right?

Anyway, with all that time planning I felt comfortable hosting the reheasal BBQ at our house, with all food made by me. I wanted something healthy and unique and of course tasty. I made some of the usuals, hummus, deviled eggs, potato salad. They are turned out good, but also everyone has had them before.

The one dip I made that stood out the most was my Spicy Black Bean Dip. It's a spicy, Asian take on hummus. I have had enough requests for the recipe that I thought posting it here would be easier than sending out individual emails, after all what I need to be working on is my Thank You Cards :)

Spicy Black Bean Dip


1 can of black beans, well rinsed and drained
1/4 cup tahini
2 tbsp. sesame oil
1-2 tbsp. Sirachi sauce (depending on desired heat)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp. soy sauce ( I use Braggs Soy Seasoning as it is GF)
1 tsp. fish sauce (If you do not have on hand you can omit and use 1 tsp. more soy sauce)
1 large handful cilantro, stems and leaves
Water if needed


1. Add the black beans and tahini and sesame to a food processor and process until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth. Add water to achieve desired texture.
2. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or ideally overnight beofre serving.
3. Enjoy with crackers, chips, as a sandwish spread or my favorite - with jicama sticks!

Monday, July 16, 2012


Previous to last night I'm not sure I've ever had ratatouille before, so I'm not really sure why I decided I had to make it - but on Sunday afternoon, when the last of our wedding guests left, I decided I must make it.

Ratatouille is a delicious, beautiful dish. It's super savoury and satisfying, but also really light. It's only veggies, but eats like a meal. I want to eat it tonight again, but we finished the whole pan yesterday. I'd make another pan, but although easy, it is a time consuming dish. Perfect for making on Sunday afternoon.

I added the richness of goat cheese and some homemade GF breadcrumbs that made this dish over the top yummy and clearly irresistible.

Ratatouille My Way


Vegetable Stack:

2 green zucchinis
2 Chinese eggplants
(I'd also add in yellow squash if available)
6 fresh tomatoes - Roma's work best but any will do
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Tomato Base:

1 can of diced tomatoes (or your own canned marinara sauce)
3 cloves of garlic
1 onion
Olive Oil
Red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper


1/2 slice GF toast
1-2 oz. soft goat cheese, crumbled


To make the tomato base, rough chop the garlic cloves and dice the onion. Cook both the onion and garlic over medium heat in the olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Once the onions have become translucent add the tomatoes, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Turn the heat up to medium high and bring the sauce to a simmer. I like to let the sauce simmer for at least an hour, but even longer will help develop the flavours fully. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To make the vegetable stack, slice all the zucchinis and eggplant and the tomatoes into 2-3 mm slices. I used a mandolin. Toss the zucchinis and squash and eggplant in a large bowl with olive oil and salt and pepper. Heat a large saute pan with a small bit of olive oil in it. Sear all the zucchinis, squash and eggplant slices on both sides until slightly browned.
To make the crust, brush the GF toast with butter and rub with a clove of garlic on both sides.  Toast in the oven until dried out. Turn the slice of toast into crumbs in a food processor.


In the bottom of a 12 X 12 pan, add about 2 cups of tomato sauce - to the depth of about 1/2 an inch. Then layer the veggies, alternating the squash, zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes.

 Repeat the pattern until the whole dish is filled. Top with the breadcrumbs, then the goat cheese crumbles.

Bake for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Turn the broiler on for the final few minutes if you desire a crispy crust.

Enjoy :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chicken and Dumpling Soup

This is another one of those recipes that I never made before my gluten free days and also that I wouldn't have thought of had Business not put the idea in my mind.

I make the soup base so much it was really just the dumplings that I had to play around with. I thought they would fall apart but these dumplings have a surprising texture, you'd never guess there isn't any gluten in them! I like the way they beef up the soup, making it just a bit heartier but still keeping it well balanced and light.

If you try these dumplings with other flour, please let me know how it turns out. I'm thinking of trying quinoa flour in place of the potato starch and coconut flour.

Chicken and Dumpling Soup



1 whole chicken, roasted, meat off the bone and chopped
8 cups homemade chicken stock
2 large carrots, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Olive oil


3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted
1/4 cup potato starch
1/2 cup almond flour
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of sea salt and black pepper
1 tsp. poultry seasoning


For the soup:

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
2. Add the minced garlic and onions. Cook until softened. Add the carrots and celery. Cook until softened and slightly browned.
3. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken. Before adding the dumpling bring the heat up until the soup is nearly boiling.

For the dumplings:

1. Sift the coconut flour and potato starch into the beaten eggs. Whisk until well combined. Add the olive oil and whisk again.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the seasoning into the almond flour.
3. Add the almond flour into the wet mixture and stir until well combined.
4. Using a teaspoon, scoop slightly larger than teaspoon size portions of the dough using a spoon. Roll the dough quickly between your palms (the dough will be very sticky - I find refrigerating it for 20 minutes helps - or try lightly oiling your hand with olive oil).
5. Drop the dumplings into the simmering soup. They only take a few minutes to cook - but get better with time as they absorb the flavour from the soup.

This post has been linked to: Not "Baaad" Sundays, Sundae Scoop, Sugar Free Sunday, Real Food 101, Makin' You Crave Mondays, Your Recipe Kitchen, Mouthwatering Mondays, Melt in Your Mouth Mondays, Mangia Monday, Market Yourself Monday, Savvy Homemade Monday Party, Homestead Barn Hop, Monday Mania, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Fat Tuesday, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, FAmily Time Tuesday, Tasty TuesdayHearth and Soul Hop, Tea Party Tuesday, Delicious Dishes, Tuesday's Tasty Tidbits, Show Me What Ya Got,

Monday, January 16, 2012

Julia Child Inspired Beef Bourguignon

It's freezing cold in Alberta right now. And I don't mean just sorta cold. It's minus 31 degrees right now! That's nostril freezing, toe numbing, breath catching cold - AND - it's forecast to stay this way all week.

I think that a cold week like this calls for something indulgent and rich, comforting and warm.

Most soups and stews and chilies fall into this category, but there must be one that stands out. I started thinking about all the stews and soups I wanted to make yesterday. I came up with a whole host of ideas including Chicken Chili, Sausage and Mushroom Soup, I thought about making a batch of Split Pea Soup, as that seemed like a top contender in the comfort food category.

Then, like many things on this blog, Business challenged me to make Beef Stew. I've never actually made Beef Stew, and I don't remember my Mom making beef stew when I was growing up. I liked the idea, and decided to run with it.

That's when a brilliant idea hit me. I would use Julia Child's famous Beef Bourguignon recipe as inspiration.

Julia Child Inspired Beef Bourguignon


1 lbs. stewing beef, cut into cubes
6 slices of bacon
1 onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 carrot, sliced into dimes
4 tbsp. chickpea flour
Salt and Pepper
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1 cup red wine
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 cups low sodium vegetable juice
2 cups vegetable, beef or chicken stock
20 button mushrooms
15 pearl onions
Bay Leaves


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. In a large, heavy pot, brown the bacon over medium heat. Once the bacon is cooked through, but not crisp, remove it from the pan and place on paper towels.
3. Heat the bacon fat to almost smoking. Add the pieces of beef into the pot one at a time. Turn the beef once, only once it's become easy to flip. The beef should not stick to the bottom of the pan once properly seared. Remove each piece of beef as it cooks and place with the bacon. Cook beef in batches until all it seared.
4. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, onions and carrots to the pot. Cook until softened and slightly browned.
5. Meanwhile, combine the flour, salt and pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
6. Add the beef and bacon back to the pot. Sprinkle with the half the flour mixture.
7. Place the pot, uncovered in the preheated oven for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, remove the pot, sprinkle with the remaining flour and place back in the oven for another 4 minutes.
8. Remove the pot from the oven. Reduce the oven to 325 degrees.
9. Place the pot back over medium high heat, and add the wine, scrap the bottom and sides of the pan to release the little bits,
10. Bring the wine up to a boil, then add the tomato paste, vegetable juice and the stock. Bring up to a boil.
11. Place the pot, covered in the oven. Cook for 4 hours. The beef should be melt in your mouth tender, and the broth should have thickened.
12. Thirty minutes before the end of cooking time, take a large pan and heat 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms. Cover. Remove the lid after about 5 minutes. The mushrooms should have released all their water. Continue to cook over medium heat until the water evaporates. Shake the pan to turn the mushrooms and onions. The mushrooms and onions should brown on all sides. Add the mushrooms and onions to the stew and cook for the final thirty minutes.
13. Serve with a full bodied red wine and enjoy your very indulgent, worth the wait stew.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Roasted Beet Soup With Coconut Creme Fraiche

About a month ago, beets were on super sale and cost only .33 cents a pound at my grocery store. I couldn't resist the deal and so I bought what must have been 15 lbs. My plan was to steam and freeze them for later use. A great idea not only to save money, but also because having beets mid week is much more appealing when you don't have to deal with the hassle of scrubbing, slicing and steaming them - all the while making sure not to cover yourself in the red juice.

When I got all the beets home, I decided I needed to deal with them pronto while my inspiration was still high. I scrubbed all the beets, then top and tailed them. Next, I pulled out my mandolin and started slicing. As I had enough sliced, I would do a batch in my steamer and then keep slicing.

Four large batches in, and I was bored. I still about about 15 beets left.

I decided I would quarter and wrap the rest in bundles or tin foil, then roast. Wayyy faster then slicing.

I roasted my beets for about 90 minutes, making sure they were all the way tender. I let the beets cool in their little tin foil bundles, then wrapped them in newspaper flyer bags (I always save them thinking they would come in handy!). Popped them in the back of my freezer, and waited for an idea to cross my mind to use them.

This soup took about 15 minutes to make with my already roasted beets. I still have three bundles in the freezer and so I this recipe will be any easy go to next time I'm crunched for time.

Roasted Beet Soup



5-6 Beets, quartered
3 Cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 red onion chopped
4-6 cups of stock
2 tbsp. Olive oil
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Coconut Creme Fraiche

1/4 cup Coconut cream
1 tbsp. Lemon juice
Chopped green onions or chives


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Scrub the beets and cut into quarters. Wrap the beets in tin foil, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour or until softened.
3. Heat the olive oil in a medium size pan. Add the garlic and red onion. Saute until soft and slightly browned. Bring up the heat to high and add the balsamic vinegar. Scrap the bottom of the pan to release any bits that have stuck to the bottom.
4. Add the  3 cups stock and beets to the pot. Bring up to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
5. Puree the soup in batches in the stand up blender or use an emulsion blender until smooth. Add stock as needed.
6. Mix the coconut cream with the lemon juice.
7. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with a dollop of coconut creme fraiche and sprinkle with green onions or chives.

Note: You could also use plain yogurt or sour cream as a dollop on top to create the same effect.