Moroccan chicken stew

moroccan-chicken2

Vinny’s summer vacation

Summer is in the air and Vinny and I are heading for the great outdoors. That means you won’t likely be hearing from us here again till September rolls around.

We leave you with a one-pot dinner idea that you can make for a crowd over the summer. More

Yoda soda summer punch bowl

Punch bowl

May the fourth be with you!

Enjoy a replay of a recipe we posted a few years back for a summertime drink that’s as good for you as it tastes. Fresh lime juice gives this cooler its Yoda color, and sparkling water adds the bubbles. For a gourmet touch, add some lime sorbet.

Click here for the recipe.

Vinny’s on Yum Goggle

Ile de Re: Fish market

Vinny’s been updating older posts recently and putting them up on Yum Goggle. Yum Goggle features food photography from contributors around the world. The photos whet your appetite for the recipes you can get simply by clicking on the pictures or the words GET THE RECIPE. It’s a great site and we’re proud to be a part of the team. More

Healthier Happy Birthday cake-pie

Chocolate cream pie with figs

It’s Sharon’s birthday today, so Vinny brings you a rich, chocolatey tart with no  flour in the filling, that you can stick candles in and sing happy birthday around, merrily. With this dessert, you can enjoy a slice and know that along with your birthday calories, you are also getting a decent helping of nutrition.

If you are gluten intolerant, you must either not eat the crust, or make it without a crust, in which case it would be quite a different dessert, entirely.

It’s easy and reasonably quick to make, so your partner or kids should be able to whip it up in a flash.

I served this for my gourmet dinner group last month without candles, but with more fresh figs on the side, on crystal plates dusted with cocoa. Sadly, I forgot to get a picture. But I include a picture below, taken without decoration. I admit, I can’t make a decent pie crust, so I buy my crusts in the frozen foods section of the grocery store (hang my head in shame).

The gluten-free filling is like a French silk pie, AKA, chocolate ganache. It’s often served with whipped cream and more chocolate on top, but I think that is overkill. So good just as it is.

Chocolate-ganache-tart-ganache-chocolat

French chocolate-and-figs tart
Makes one 9-inch pie

Prepare the figs

  • 6 fresh figs
  1. Wash the figs and cut each fruit into quarters.

Bake the pie shell

  • 1 frozen 9-inch (23-cm) deep-dish pie shell, pricked with a fork
  1. Bake the shell on a cookie sheet at 375F to a soft golden brown or according to the package directions, about 15 minutes.

Mix the chocolate custard

  • 115 grams dark chocolate, cut into chunks
  • 90 grams coconut oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100 grams coconut palm sugar
  • 20 grams cocoa powder
  • 50 grams white chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons Grande Marnier, optional
  1. Melt the coconut oil in a pot suspended over a pan of simmering water.
  2. Add the chopped chocolate and stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is nearly melted. Turn off the heat and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the Grand Marnier to the chocolate when it is cool.
  4. Beat the eggs with the sugar in a large bowl using a hand mixer, until the batter lightens in color, and gets thick and bubbly (about 5 minutes).
  5. Pour the cooled chocolate over the egg mixture slowly, and mix in gently with a plastic spatula.
  6. Add the cocoa and fold in with your spatula. Fold in the white chocolate chips.

Finish the pie

  1. Pour the chocolate custard into the shell and shake it a little it to even it out.
  2. Arrange the fig pieces on top of the tart.
  3. Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes, just until the filling is set. It should lose its shine and not wobble when shaken.
  4. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Wrap in foil and refrigerate until time to serve.

Nutrition

I use coconut palm sugar because it has a lower glycemic index than granulated sugar. The protein from the eggs helps retard the absorption of the sugar into the blood, as well. The coconut oil has special health-giving properties. And cocoa is the healthiest form of chocolate you can buy, as it has no added sugar or fat. Click the links for more discussion on these foods. Did I mention the filling is gluten free?

Will's cake begins to erupt!

Happy birthday, from Vinny!

Rhubarb and Ginger Fool for April 1st

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What is an April Fool?

The only surprise I was treated to on April Fool’s Day was Alex Trebek, walking onto his game show set without his pants! I did, however, write this post for you on April 1st, which should entitle me to name my fruit pudding recipe April Fool. It’s a tasty British fruit “Fool,” in the traditional sense.

More

Shrimp gumbo rocks the year of the pulse

Shrimp gumbo with ancho chile spice rub

Year of the pulse…

In honor of this versatile food group, we present a dish starring beans, lentils and dried peas. We served our spicy shrimp gumbo as the opening course for our Spanish tapas gourmet dinner this year. But it works well in larger amounts as a main course, too. More

Vinegar, a great recipe for daily life

carafe vinegar

Carafe of white vinegar

My favorite use for vinegar is to make my own vinaigrette. No surprise! I’ve posted several versions over the years, as salad is now one of my favorite lunches.

But vinegar is good for so many things other than preserving or flavoring food. Here are five of my favorite nonfood uses for vinegar. More

Drink Agua de Valencia for some Spanish sparkle

Spanish tapas dinner party

Spanish tapas dinner party

It’s that wonderful time of year when we host our annual gourmet dinner, which has been going on for a very long time now. We never get tired of trying out new recipes for our friends.

This year we chose a Spanish tapas theme, with the hope that we could prepare many of the dishes ahead of time and just enjoy ourselves on the evening.

To welcome our guests, we served a cocktail originating from Valencia, where oranges reign supreme. More

Live it up with spicy ancho shrimp salad

Spice medley

Spice up your good health

I like to post on Tuesdays but this Tuesday I had nothing… nothing except a wonderful spice rub I put together on the weekend. It smokes! But I promise you, it doesn’t burn. More

Celebrate Pi day with this easy chocolate cake — only 3.14-ingredients

Pi day cake

A cake suitable for Pi day, photo by Tip Junkie

The story behind Pi day

Normally, I’d choose a pie to celebrate the math constant π (Pi = 3.14159…) on its special day, which is coming upon us soon. Scientists the world over will likely be tucking into a delicious slice of one, perhaps a banana cream or pecan pie, More

Watermelon cheers us up with coolers and salads

Watermelon

Watermelon is a mood food

As most of my friends fly south for the winter, I thought I’d inject a little sun into my own life with watermelon. Deep into February as we are, a food to lift our spirits seems in order.

I’ve covered some of this before, but for newer readers, are you surprised to learn that watermelon is a good source of  the mood vitamins B1 (thiamine) and B6 (pyridoxine)? I was. Turns out thiamine is important for maintaining electrolytes and transmitting nervous-system signals throughout the body. Pyridoxine works with enzymes that convert food into cellular energy.

Who needs warm weather… Let’s party!

Watermelon

Watermelon pepo

Watermelon is a berry

Another surprising fact about watermelon… its fruit is a pepo, a special kind of berry with a thick rind and fleshy center.

Watermelon pepos offer the most nutrition per calorie of any common food.

Red is the give-away. Bright colors signal a big pay-off in  lycopene, an antioxidant repeatedly studied in humans and found to protect  against a whole slew of cancers…  prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and colorectal, for starters.

Watermelon offers lots of  beta-carotene and another antioxidant, vitamin C. Besides helping lycopene to ward off cancer, these vitamins also battle heart disease, arthritis, and asthma.

Then there is the mineral potassium, guardian of our cardiovascular system, brain, and kidneys.

Finally, watermelon provides lots of the master mineral magnesium. Magnesium  is the big boss for over 300 cellular metabolic functions. Poor soils make magnesium scarce in today’s foods. Lack of magnesium is related to irritability, tension, sleep disorders, and muscular cramping, including the heart muscle (attack!).

How to enjoy watermelon

Watermelons retain most of their nutrition even after being cut and stored in the fridge. But watermelon is best eaten at room temperature when the flavor, plus the phytonutrient capacity, is at its best.

Watermelon

Eat plain

Just quarter a large watermelon berry and slice off slabs. Eat the flesh right off the rind and spit out the seeds.

Watermelon salad

 

Watermelon salad
Serves one

  • one cup watermelon cubes
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • one cup kale, ribs removed and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon avocado oil
  • 1 ounce goat cheese
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Chop the flesh into bite-sized chunks.
  2. Drizzle them with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or vodka. Let them soak it up for a few minutes.
  3. Use them to top a plateful of greens, kale in my photo, which I drizzled with  avocado oil and massaged well.
  4. Top with crumbled feta cheese or, my favorite, goat cheese.

 

Watermelon fizz cocktail

Vinny’s pink watermelon cooler
Serves four

  • 2  cups watermelon cubes, frozen
  • 4 ice cubes
  • Juice of one fresh lemon (1/4 cup)
  • Juice of one fresh lime (2 tablespoons)
  • 2-4 tablespoons of any sugar syrup you have. I used home-made red-current couli, But any fruit syrup, even grenadine (from pomegranates) or maple syrup, will do. I use an equivalent amount of stevia unless it’s a special occasion.
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 pinches of black pepper
  • 3-4 ounces raspberry vodka (optional)
  • ¼ to 1/3 cup club soda, depending on whether you add alcohol or not and the size of your glass
  1. Blend the whole works except for the club soda for a few seconds.
  2. If you want to serve some of the cocktails without alcohol, leave the vodka out and add it back to the glasses of  the folks who want it.
  3. Fill each glass about halfway with the watermelon fizz. Add 1 ounce alcohol to each glass if you didn’t include it in the mix. Top up with club soda. Adjust flavor with more lemon juice if needed.
  4. Spoon some of the pink foam into each glass and top with a raspberry or a mint leaf to garnish.
Watermelon

Watermelon

When the winter blahs get you down, break out some watermelon and smile:).

 

 

 

Heart-smart sweet potato pancakes for your valentine

 Luv U... B mine?

Luv U… B mine?

Here’s a terrific treat for the family on a day that celebrates all things close to the heart. It’s terrific because this valentine doesn’t involve candy, but it tastes wonderful, anyway.

My mystery delight involves sweet potatoes. They release their sugar gently, taking their time, so you don’t suffer from sugar spikes associated with refined white sugar that is added to most sweets.

I published this 4 years ago with all the good news about sweet potatoes. But I’ve since updated the photos and made the recipe even easier (there as well as here).

sweet potato pancakes

Light and fluffy!

Heart-y sweet potato pancakes
Serves 2 or 3

  • 3/4 cup mashed sweet potatoes (1 medium potato boiled until fork tender, then peeled, mashed, and measured)
  • 1/4 cup flour (whole grain if possible)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs (omega-3 if possible)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons liquid oil (coconut, if possible)
  1. Boil your sweet potato until fork tender. Then peel, mash, and measure. Use 1/4 cup mashed potato per egg, for each person. My recipe serves 3 people from 1 potato.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk and canola oil. Of course you can use any kind of eggs, milk or oil…. but on a day we are celebrating love, I think we should be as kind to our hearts as we can be with these healthy ingredients.
  4. Whisk the sweet potato puree into the liquid ingredients. Then stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until they are just blended.

Cooking and Presentation

  1. To follow through with hearts on Valentine’s Day, spray a large nonstick or cast-iron frying pan with oil and add a dab of butter for flavor. Heat the pan on medium heat until oil sizzles a bit.
  2. Fill the pan with 1/4-cup scoops of batter. I had room for 3 or 4 at a time. When bubbles rise to the surface of the pancakes, lift a corner and check the underside. When golden brown, flip the cake over, using a spatula. After a minute or three, once the second side is golden as well, flip the cake onto a wooden cutting board.
  3.  Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, turn each pancake into a love-note for your sweetie. I presented these golden treats with a splash of maple syrup and some berries on the side.

 

Sweet potato

Hey, sweet patootie, I yam keen on you! B mine?

 “You are berry cute,” I said. “I think we’re cut out for each other!”

Whipped goat cream, a tart cheese treat

Whipped goat cheese

Whipped goat cream

Once upon a time I came across a recipe that called for whipped goat cheese. So I took my basket and headed to the grocery store, where I eventually found a small tub of the stuff at three times the cost of regular, ordinary, every-day goat cheese.

When I finally had a minute to spare I sat down and examined the label. The ingredients were goat cheese and water… and a few chemicals. It seemed I’d bought a processed food fortified with who knows what. And I thought: why can’t I make that myself – and leave out the chemicals?

Why indeed. It’s so simple, I didn’t even need a food processor. I got great results with nothing but a spoon and a bowl.

Whipped goat cheese

Goat cheese and lemon – so easy to whip up

Whipped goat cream
Makes approx 1 1/4 cups or 20 tablespoons

  • 1 cup (150 grams) goat cheese, at room temperature (mine comes in a tube)
  • 2 tablespoons yogurt from 2% goat’s milk (I make my own… You don’t? OK, use natural Greek-style yogurt instead)
  • freshly squeezed juice and finely grated zest from half a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Stevia* to taste (0 calories) or 1 teaspoon honey
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons hot water, or as needed to achieve desired consistency
  1. Combine goat cheese, yogurt, sweetener,  lemon juice and zest into a bowl.
  2. Cream them together with a wide spoon until smooth, adding 1-2 tablespoons of hot water, as needed, to get a light creamy consistency. Add more if you like it runnier, as for a dip perhaps.
  3. Season to taste with a little sea salt.

*This is a great recipe in which to experiment with Stevia, because it sweetens while enhancing the lemon flavor. It works better than sugar.

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Pear taquitos with whipped goat cream

How to serve goat cream

This works great in the recipe I mentioned off the top, for pear taquitos. I make it often for special occasions, and it is always a success.

Whipped goat cheese

Whipped goat cream goes well with fruit and today I enjoyed it with sliced apple.

Use it as a low-sugar icing on cupcakes or tarts. Whipped goat cream adds moistness and tang to any chocolate, lemon, or banana treat.

Thin it out a bit more and use it as a veggie dip for carrots or turnip sticks.

Whipped goat cheese

Whipped goat cream works as a spread on crackers. I like it with Triscuits (20 calories each) but if you like bagels or toast, I’m sure it would be delicious there as a spread.

Nutrition

One tablespoon of whipped goat cream has 21 calories. It has equal amounts of fat and protein, about 1.5 grams each.

Whipped goat cream is a low-carb food, only 0.3 grams (if you use stevia to sweeten).

This food is a good source of vitamin A, niacin, riboflavin and iron.

By the way, you can reduce the amount of fat per tablespoon by adding more water. This is how manufacturers make low-fat butter and mayo. Now, you can make them too and save some money. They charge more for products with less fat because of the processing cost.

 

Butternut Squash dressed in Ricotta

butternut_squash_carving_by_evilninjachris-d5dytsk1

This sad butternut squash needs a make-over. Dress her up in Ricotta.

“Who wants to eat an ugly thing like that?” asked Will, staring down a decidedly unpleasant-looking butternut squash.
More

Pear and leek bake

Pear and leek bake (crustless quiche)

A crustless quiche with a difference

Vinny’s blogged about pearsleeks, and goat cheese before. But here they team up to give you something a bit different. Sweet and savory meld to make an unusual main course for lunch or a spectacular beginning to a fancy dinner. And except for the chopping, it’s easy! More

Gollum’s easy baked fish and green “seaweed” chili

Gollum's oven-baked haddock with bacon

Gollum’s oven-baked haddock with bacon

Gollum

This small, slimy hobbit lived on an island in the centre of an underground lake, in the story The Lord of the Rings. He was endowed with magic that extended his life well past the time when he should have left the building.

Gollum thought his staying power was due to a ring that he called My Precious. But I think  his regular meals of cave fish and seaweed was the most likely reason for his amazing, long life. More

Crab dip is tops in sustainable fish dishes

Crab is a safe bet

Crab is a safe bet

Everybody loves fish for its lean protein and its omega-3s that do wonders  for our brains. But these days our poor heads are so bombarded with info on which fish are facing extinction or which types are loaded with deadly mercury that we are almost afraid to try any fish at all.

I’m here to tell you though that plain steamed crab meat is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. More

Treat Christmas headaches with ginger tea

Mrs. Claus serves a soothing cup 'a tea

Mrs. Claus serves a soothing cup of tea.

Santa felt poorly. He was dead tired after his epic night’s ride around the world. Too many chimneys to climb. Too many sherries to gulp down. He sneezed into his cottony white hanky and sighed.

Mrs. Claus settled him by the fire and helped him get his dusty leather boots off his aching feet. By and by, she brought him a steaming-hot pot of tea and a warm cup. “Something to bring you around,” she said with a smile and gave him a gentle hug.

But as you can imagine it wasn’t a pot of English breakfast tea. Oh no. It had honey and lemon and ginger, oh my! More

Red Perogies for Christmas

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Sweet potato perogies are red inside and out

Christmas Perogies

It’s Christmas time again by golly, ’tis the season to be jolly!

It’s also the season to make our Christmas perogies. This week we got right at it. More

Zoë’s Perfect Christmas Borscht

borscht

Borscht at Christmas

Continuing with my holiday plan this year, I bring you again a favorite family recipe we always make at Christmas, in one form or another. Festive, traditional and delicious, here’s the version we made last year, which we’ve christened: Zoë‘s borscht.  Merry Christmas, one and all!

More

Melting moments – Christmas in bows

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Pinecone cake – a labor of love

With the Christmas season fast approaching, time is running out for Vinny to finish his baking, and shopping, and mailing, and merrying.

So we thought we’d use the next few weeks to re-post some items from previous Christmas seasons for readers new to Vinny’s blog. We hope our tried and true fans will be prompted to cook up some of these recipes for their own celebrations, too, and let us know how it goes.

Below is a Christmas story focused on food, family, legacy and love… not to mention reading. More

Candied nuts love coconut palm sugar

Candied nuts with coconut sugar

Crunchy sweet nuts are great for dressing up salads, cheese platters, and desserts at Christmas and for other special occasions. Plus, they’re easy!

Kids love to make them. Make lots and keep them on hand to use whenever you want some pizzazz. More

Chutney-style cranberry sauce wows your company

cranberry sauce

An essential, whenever you roast a turkey

This post might at first glance appear a tad, well, boring. There’s no story nor any songs to sing as you cook. All there is, is one simple but tasty and traditional recipe, done up in bows and boasting less sugar and more pizzazz than you get in the canned kinds from the store. This could be a recipe staple for your family’s celebrations. More

Cloud eggs send salads to seventh heaven

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Egg clouds crown your salads.

This is an easy and impressive dish if you prepare all your ingredients ahead and save making the eggs till the end.

I saw these clouds while surfing for egg dishes and meringues last week. Then I discovered that Rachael Ray herself had copied my take on this idea (haha).

Although most people might like to serve egg clouds for breakfast, my spin involves crowning a lunch-time salad with them. More

War-time treats from Redwall Abbey

Redwall_abbey

Redwall Abbey – A child’s delight

To honor the people who gave their all in the Great Wars, I’m reposting some recipes I first brought to you in 2012. These traditional recipes were in vogue during the scarce years of the Second World War… but many probably go back much farther than that, handed down by mothers and mother’s mothers in Britain ever since they began to grow potatoes and cabbages… and gooseberries! More

Adela’s Norwegian meatballs, WHO style

Adela's Norwegian meatballs

Traditional cooking, with a healthier outlook

The WHO’s stand on meat

The World Health Organization (WHO) has just sent shock waves through the earth’s stratosphere. What they said was something that anybody who has been following nutrition news in the past few years already knew.

WHO news:  Processed meats cause cancer. And red meats probably cause cancer.

But unless you are genetically predisposed to the disease, the increased risk according to most experts is relatively low. Nevertheless, it’s real. More

Meringue ghosts hone egg-cracking skills

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Here’s another easy recipe for small fingers. Kids learn how to separate eggs. Then they can make up these cute, tasty little Halloween ghosts and marvel at the mysteries of food chemistry.

Use eggs at room temperature for frothiest results. Or put eggs from fridge into warm water for 5 minutes or so to warm them up. More

1,2,3-Ingredient brownies with low-sugar, nutty spread

3-ingredient brownies

Low-sugar brownies have a secret ingredient

Kids, get your aprons on. We’re going to whip up some brownies that are as good for the body as they are for the soul. Including time to wash up the dishes, these treats should take no more than a half hour away from your Minecraft play time. More

The berry scary pie

Berry pie

“That’s scary!” Isla declared, her wide eyes shifting from the cooking pot to the finished product. I knew Halloween had been on her mind, now only a couple of weeks away.

“How so?” I asked. More

A hogbake from Redwall Abbey… and a little kale magic

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Crispy egg ‘N onion hogbake

This recipe, inspired by the Redwall Cookbook for kids, has nothing to do with pigs. For the life of me, I can’t come up with a reason that explains why they named it a hogbake. Perhaps it’s a typo, and they meant to call it a henbake.

Regardless, I loved its simple healthy ingredients. More

Help Mr. Pancreas do his job – try low-sugar cookie-candy

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Nuts and fruit slow down the release of glucose into the blood.

Sugar’s role in our health

Sugar is Will’s favorite food group.

“Maybe you can cut back on the sugary things, once in a while,” Vinny suggests.

“Sugar is in everything!” Will proclaims. “It gives us energy!”

“That’s true,” Vinny agrees. “What I don’t like, though, is when we add sugar to our food, over and above what nature puts there. Have you heard about your pancreas?” More

Chocolate-and-pear tart for Marie-Laure

Saint Malo

Saint Malo

A blind orphan threads her way through the streets of Saint Malo at the end of the World War II, with a fresh-baked loaf under her arm. Her name is Marie-Laure and dry bread is all she will have to eat for several days… .

Hidden in the loaf are coordinates destined for the Allied Forces, pin-pointing where the Nazis are headquartered in the town, where their supplies are stored, where their ammunition is kept. Marie-Laure’s uncle radios this vital information across the airwaves on a powerful set hidden in their attic. More

Cookie-candy: Will’s first original recipe

Will's cookie candy i8s great with milk to calm those pesky sugar spikes

Will’s cookie-candy is great with milk, which calms those pesky sugar spikes.

What’s your favorite sugary thing, Vinny?” Isla asked me one day at the cottage.

“That’s a tough one, Honey,” I said, scratching my head. “I try not to cook with sugar, remember?”

“Sugar’s in everything!” Isla’s brother Will said. “It gives us ENERGY,” he proclaimed, pumping the air with his fist.

“True,” said Vinny. “Sugar is the molecule the body breaks down to make energy. What I try to avoid is adding refined sugar. Too much of it does us damage.”

But sugar is Will’s favorite food group. More

Wilted warm seafood salad

Salad days... wilted in the heat

Salad days… wilted in the heat

“I’m wilting,” said Vinny as he plopped down in a lounger under the Japanese lilac. “Ottawa broke a 123-year-old record today when we scored a temperature of 34C.”

Will flapped his shirt, trying in vain to make a breeze for himself. “Ya, I’m WILL-ting, too. It feels like a steam bath out here. Let’s cool off with the hose.”

“Except I’m hungry,” said Vinny.  I’m going to whip up a warm salad first, with a little spice to heat it up even more.”

“That sounds crazy,” said Will. “Why would you want to make a warm salad when we’re boiling out here?” More

Spotted puddink, an old favorite of British school kids

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Vinny’s “skinny” Spotted Puddink

Get the kids together and make a “skinny” version of Spotted Dick, a traditional English steamed pudding. Cook up Harry Potter’s favorite dessert at Hogwarts just in time for the new school year and make some magic happen! More

Fuhrman’s 10 worst foods

Sugar makes these treats a no-no for best health

Added refined sugar makes these treats a no-no for best health

Last time, I introduced you to Dr. Joel Fuhrman and his list of 10 best foods for battling the effects of old age. Now I’m going to show you his list at the other end – Fuhrman’s 10 worst foods… foods that can lead you to an early grave. More

Ten Best Foods for a long life

Eat more leaves and berries

Eat more leaves and berries… and onions. And tomatoes!

Eating for a long life

Put these 10 foods on your grocery list every week and you’ll up your chances of living a longer, healthier, happier life! So says Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D. More

Lighten up with lavender blue lemonade

lavender lemonade

Lavender distillate

Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly
Rosemary’s green
I’ll be your king dilly dilly
If you’ll be my queen…

Relax with lavender and this pretty little song from England, dating back at least 300 years. Originally this ditty was not for kids. Early words made it more a bawdy or drinking song for the purposes of wooing a lady into bed. More

Food heroes that fight cancer

5 foods tht fight cancer

Foods that are known cancer fighters

Berries, walnuts, garlic, tomatoes and tea. What do they have in common? They are all proven cancer fighters!

They work best as members of a team. For best health, join them up on your plate with other battle-scarred food heroes of the likes that are cited in this valuable article from the American Institute for Cancer Research.

More

We need our fabulous new GMOs

gmoHero.jpg.CROP.fresca2-xlarge

“The war against genetically modified organisms is full of fear-mongering, errors, and fraud. Labeling GMOs will not make you safer.”

As an ex-food scientist, I’m convinced of the safety of GMO foods. You will be too, if you can wade through this excellent, but very long article. More

Canada Day’s Chicken Sandwich, 2015

preston

For 23 years now, Ottawa has been serving up a chicken sandwich on the Hill to hungry Canadians who want a freshly barbecued healthy snack to get them through the day’s festivities. This year’s version features an herb-infused honey-Dijon sauce to take it to the next level. More

Dietary Guidelines for Alzheimer’s Prevention

Vitamin B12 is high in eggs, fish, shellfish and red meat, and low-fat dairy, among other good things. A varied diet is always a good thing:). I didn’t know about watching out for too much iron…

Cooking with Kathy Man

Enlarge image . . . . .

“Alzheimer’s disease isn’t a natural part of aging,” notes lead author Neal Barnard, M.D., president of the nonprofit Physicians Committee and an adjunct professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine. “By staying active and moving plant-based foods to the center of our plates, we have a fair shot at rewriting our genetic code for this heart-wrenching , and costly, disease.”

Alzheimer’s Disease International predicts Alzheimer’s rates will triple worldwide by 2050. The Alzheimer’s Association predicts long-term care costs start at $41,000 per year.

The seven guidelines to reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease are:

  • Minimize your intake of saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fat is found primarily in dairy products, meats, and certain oils (coconut and palm oils). Trans fats are found in many snack pastries and fried foods and are listed on labels as “partially hydrogenated oils.”
  • Eat…

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Opinion: 3 Myths About Dairy-free Foods

Low-fat dairy makes good eating for most healthy people, no matter how old you are. Vinny thinks so, and so does this update from Kathy Man. More milk, please!

Cooking with Kathy Man

Calcium is important even when you’re older, and milk can be a fine way to get it.

Have you sworn off dairy? Maybe you think it will ease your stomach woes. Or, now that you’re middle-aged, you assume your bones don’t need as much. Or maybe you’re just drawn to all the dairy-free options now on supermarket shelves, including dairy-free ice cream, yogurt, and coffee creamer. Should you join the crowd? Probably not. “Unless you have a medical reason to skip dairy, such as an allergy to milk protein, adults can benefit by eating some dairy every day,” says Consumer Reports chief medical adviser Marvin M. Lipman, M.D.

Here we take a look at some common myths about milk and other dairy products.

Myth 1: After age 30 you don’t need calcium for your bones

It’s true that you reach peak bone mass by age 30, so getting calcium before…

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Father’s Day recipe: “Not-ella”

I’ve posted my own healthy version of home-made Nutella, which has a couple more ingredients than this recipe does. I also talk more about the health aspects of our favorite spread (what else is new?). It might be worth clicking over there for a look-see while you are researching Nutella alternatives:).

I’ve tried this recipe here  with its minimal ingredients, and I confess. I like mine better (so.. what else is new?).

Let me know what version you prefer, and why? Happy snacking!

Natural Nomad

As a child I used to love the popular commercial chocolate-hazelnut spread, probably because my dad was also a big fan of it and could eat it by the spoonful. With it being Father’s Day in the UK this weekend I thought that it might be fun to create a homemade alternative – it’s safe to say that the shop-bought jars are not too healthy and laden with sugar and dairy, but this recipe is free from refined sugars and additives, and is so delicious that it will still be loved by dads everywhere!

1 cup hazelnuts

¼ cup maple syrup

¼ cup water

2 tbsp cacao powder

2 drops vanilla essence

Makes 1 small jar

Preparation time: 15 minutes

  1. Bake the hazelnuts on a baking tray at a medium heat for around 5 minutes – keep checking them as nuts are notoriously easy to burn!
  1. Once they are done…

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This Supplement May Stop Sadness Becoming Depression

One more great reason to make probiotics a part of your daily diet. Probiotics may stop sadness from morphing into depression.

You can get it as a supplement. But you can easily add probiotics to your diet. Eat some yogurt, sauerkraut, sour dough bread, kefir, dill pickles or other naturally fermented foods during the day as a side or a snack. Or add these foods raw to a dish you’re making.

Read this great post from Our Better Health for details.

Our Better Health

How four weeks of supplementation can help stop a sad mood getting worse.

Probiotics may stop sadness turning into depression by helping people let go of the past, a new study finds.

Researchers at the Leiden Institute of Brain and Cognition found that probiotics stopped people ruminating so much.

Rumination is when people focus on bad experiences and feelings from the past.

Dr Laura Steenbergen, the study’s first author, said:

“Rumination is one of the most predictive vulnerability markers of depression.
Persistent ruminative thoughts often precede and predict episodes of depression.”

In the study 40 people were given a sachet to take with water or milk every day for four weeks.

Half of the people received sachets that contained a multispecies probiotic.

The other half received a placebo for the four weeks.

Before and afterwards people’s so-called ‘cognitive reactivity’ was measured.

‘Cognitive reactivity’ is the extent to which a sad…

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5 Non-Diet Ways to Trick Yourself into Losing Weight

We eat with our eyes as well as our stomaches. Make an effort to show off healthy foods. Sea rch Vinny’s site for “presentation” for a few ideas.

Our Better Health

June 8, 2015    By Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD

Convenient. Attractive. Normal. These three words (which are the basis for the even easier to remember acronym C.A.N.) may be the key to eating healthier without really trying, according to a new paper from Cornell University. The review of 112 studies concluded that eaters make good choices when healthy foods are visible and within reach; they’re displayed enticingly; and they’re set up as the most obvious choices compared to other food options. It just makes sense: When you place gorgeous pieces of fresh fruit in a pretty bowl on your counter, you’re more likely to take one than if they’re hidden away—especially if the chips or cookies are even easier to grab. Bottom line, make it handy to eat healthfully and you’ll follow through, no “diet” or willpower required.

In addition to remembering C.A.N., there are plenty of other research-backed strategies…

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Half A Handful of Nuts A Day Reduces Early Death Risk

Nuts make great snack when the afternoon hungries strike. And look at how good they are for you! See what Vinny has had to say about nuts by typing “nuts” jnto the search box at the top of this page. Have a fun and healthy summer!

Cooking with Kathy Man

Nuts may reduce inflammation while also helping to prevent cell damage

“A handful of nuts can save your life, says new study,” The Daily Telegraph reports after a Dutch study found a link between daily nut consumption and a reduced chance of dying from a number of chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease.

The study assessed the dietary and lifestyle habits of middle-aged to elderly adults from the Netherlands and followed them up over the next 10 years.

Overall, researchers found people who ate nuts had a decreased risk of death from any cause as well as various specific causes, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer, compared with those who didn’t eat any nuts. The most reduced risk was found with the consumption of 5-10g of nuts a day.

However, not all risk reductions were significant and some of the researchers’ analyses were based on very small numbers, which…

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Cinque Terre cocktail

Cinque terre cocktail - chartreuse

Cinque terre cocktail – chartreuse

Vinny is taking an extended break, now that summer is nearly upon us:). To celebrate, he’s sharing a drink with you from the World Heritage site Cinque Terre in Italy, which he hopes to visit some day soon.

More

Fire cracker day!

Fire-Cracker Day!

Fire-Cracker Day!

The 24th of May is the Queen’s birthday.
If we don’t get a holiday, we’ll all run away!

It turns out we do get a holiday, but which queen, exactly, would that be, here in Canada?

Why it’s Queen Victoria, of course, the reigning monarch in 1867 when Canada became a country. Victoria was also key in choosing Ottawa over Kingston, Toronto or Montreal as Canada’s capital. So we Ottawans think she deserves a little fireworks on her birthday.

The weather is always a bit iffy on the Victoria Day long weekend in Ottawa, though. So fireworks are not always a possibility. But we can always whip up something special for the birthday table to honor the old queen, regardless of the weather! More

Lazy-boy’s basic risotto

Easy no-stir risotto

Easy no-stir risotto

This risotto’s easy!

Or is it? What’s easy for me may be hard for you. You might not have the equipment to make quick work of the tasks. Your kitchen may require too much walking, lifting, and reaching. Or you may not have had enough practice…  the first time around is always hard. Finally, you may not realize that dirt and food are never best friends. In fact, the combo is darn-right dangerous. So you can’t ignore the sink and shun the dish cloth. Accept cleaning up as a basic part of the art, or you’ll never enjoy cooking. And there’s more… More

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