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

Vinny Grette:

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…

Originally posted on 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

Vinny Grette:

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!

Originally posted on 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”

Vinny Grette:

Looks like a healthier version of nutella that Vinny would like to try!

Originally posted on 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

Vinny Grette:

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.

Originally posted on 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

Vinny Grette:

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.

Originally posted on 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

Vinny Grette:

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!

Originally posted on 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

Ms. Manners makes easy work of cheaters’ lemony cheese cake

Cheat on your diet with this lo-sugar lemony cheese cake!

Cheat on your diet with this lo-sugar lemony cheese cake!

“That Mr. Crank is such a witch,” complained Vinny, about his neighbor. “He spends his days dreaming up ways to make my life miserable.” More

Stop, Thief! Leafless Mango Salad with Ginger and Garlic Dressing

Mango salad

“I love mangoes,” Isla said one day. “Can we grow some?”

Vinny sighed. “Not here in Canada, kiddo. Mango trees thrive in India, where people call mangoes the Food of the Gods. Mango trees live long and prosper there. Some specimens are over 300 years old and still going strong.”

Isla put on her sad face.

“But don’t worry, Chick Pea.” Vinny got out two lovely reddish green fruits and a sharp knife. “We can get mangoes in the grocery store. They’re especially good in the spring. Help me chop up these two beauties for a salad and I’ll tell you a story.”

Isla smiled and got to work.

Mango

Vinny told this tale
abridged, from Ramu and the mangoes

A rich man in Delhi brought home two  juicy mangoes. He gave them to his servant and said, “Here Ramu, take these to the kitchen and cut them up. A friend of mine will be coming soon and I want to share with him.”

To make sure the mangoes were not sour, Ramu put one piece in his mouth. Ah, how sweet! “If I eat just one more piece, the master will never know,” he thought. But before long, the plate was empty!

Poor Ramu. What was he to do? The mangoes were gone. He was afraid he would lose his job!

“The knife is blunt, Master,” Ramu called. “I can’t cut the mangoes with it!”

“Bring the knife here,” the master shouted. “I’ll sharpen it for you.”

While the master was sharpening the knife, Ramu ran to meet his master’s friend. “Have you had a fight with my master?” he asked the friend. “He says that he will cut off both your ears!”

The friend stared in surprise. “We haven’t fought. But yesterday when he came to my house, I put on his sandals by mistake. Why would he want to cut off my ears for a little thing like that?”

“See for  yourself,” Ramu said. “But don’t let him catch you!”

The friend crept up to an open window and saw the master of the house sharpening a big knife. He wasted no time running back the way he had come.

Ramu shouted to his master, “Your friend has taken the mangoes. He’s running away!”

The master rushed out after his friend. “Stop! ” he called. “Keep one of them if you like, but let me have the other one!” The friend screamed in terror and vanished in the distance.

Back at his house, the master said, “I never knew that man was such a thief!” He then went out and came home with two more lovely mangoes. “Here Ramu,” he said. “You eat one. And cut the other one for me.”

Mango salad made with papaya

Leafless Mango Salad with Ginger Dressing
Two to four servings

For salad

  •     1 large ripe greeny-red mango (about 2 cups, peeled and diced)
  •     2 cups sugar snap peas, tips removed and julienned
  •     1 green onion, thinly sliced
  •     1 red pepper (about 1 cup), seeded and diced (optional)
  •     one carrot, sliced on a grater into thin coins (optional)
  •     1 cup Brussels sprouts, chopped (optional)
  •     1/4 cup unsalted walnuts, roughly chopped

For ginger dressing
about 1/2 cup

  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
  • 1/2 to 1 small jalapeno, seeded
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, finely grated
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 7 drops liquid stevia, or sweetener of choice to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Blend all dressing ingredients well in a blender or food processor, scraping down sides to incorporate. Pour into a salad dressing bottle and enjoy. This dressing will keep for up to 3 days.
  2. Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Only the first three ingredients are vital. Add in whatever others are in your fridge, for nice color and crunch
  3. Pour the ginger dressing to your taste over the salad and toss to coat. Enjoy immediately!

Mangoes are delicious this time of year – ripe, big, juicy and creamy in texture (not hard or stringy). This fabulous salad tastes great without any leafy greens distracting from mangoes’  deliciousness. If you want greens, though, serve this salad on a bed of them. But your salad will no longer be leafless :).

Mango

What’s so special about mangoes?

Mangoes are a super fruit, rich in these nutrients:

  • pre-biotic fiber – for better digestion and for healthy gut bacteria that benefit every part of your body, including your brain
  • vitamins A, C, and B6 – for good eyesight and skin and to protect against oral and lung cancers
  • copper – for healthy blood and enzymes that control body chemistry
  • polyphenolic flavonoid antioxidants – to protect against colon, breast, and prostate cancer.

Mangoes are one of the most popular, nutritionally rich fruits going, with unique flavor, fragrance, taste, and heath-promoting qualities. Isla agrees!

Then she added: Ramu is clever, Vinny. But just who was the thief, here? Ramu wasn’t fair!

Making sweet potato fries in the oven – perfect every time

sweet potato plant

Let it sprout for a pretty & unusual centerpiece

Sweet Patooty’s back! I raved about the fab qualities of sweet potatoes in an earlier post. But I’ve never posted a recipe for my favorite of all ways of having them… oven-baked fries. That’s because I never felt I’d gotten it quite right. But now, I think I can confidently tell you how to make these beauties come out delicious every time… crispy, not soggy, and definitely not burnt! More

Black magic: Chocolate syrup on ice

Black ice - chocolate magic

Just two ingredients…

Awesome! This idea came my way courtesy of the Paddington Foodie, chef extraordinaire. It’s ridiculously easy. Combining just two super-foods, this simple syrup zaps any dessert you like with goodness that is sure to grant you the superpowers of your dreams. More

Flash sale today, on-line at Blurb Books!

Healthy eating as a question of balance

Healthy eating is all about balance

If you have ever been tempted to buy a copy of Sharon Rudnitski’s book Cook Up A Story: Good Food Sets the Mood… now is the time.

For the next 3 days (until April 13), you can get it on-line for 35% off… the largest discount I’ve ever seen. Use the promo code APRILFLASH35 at checkout.

More

Goats-Gruff cheese cake and cranberry snow

Goat's milk makes great cheese!

Goat’s milk makes great cheese!

Why goat cheese?

Goat cheese is my go-to cheese on a daily basis. I love it because of its creamy texture and crisp, tart taste. It’s perfect in my omelets and on top of my leafy greens at lunch.

But it’s also packed with great nutrition. When it comes to fat and calories, goat cheese has the advantage over cheese made from cow’s milk. More

Roasted cipollini onions – Sweep!

 

cipolini

The side dishes

Pierogis and cipollini onions won the draw to complement the main course of our Frozen in Ottawa dinner theme. But why this pair? More

Hasenpfeffer! A rich rabbity stew from Germany

Prepping for hasenpfeffer

Prepping sausage for hasenpfeffer

My regular readers will know that our Frozen in Ottawa dinner is well in hand. This, my fourth post on the subject, answers the question, “What should we serve for the main course?”

The man of the house wanted to feature his winter stew-making skills, well-honed in our climate. He suggested “Hasenpfeffer,” a dish he had recently cooked for the family with success. In fact, I thought it was the best stew he had ever made for us. But… what kind of meat is that, you might wonder. More

My mandolin’s iceberg salad, starring kohlrabi…

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Mystery veggie

Kohlrabi – Huh? My picky eater surprised me the other day. Will’s vegetarian school buddy had given him a taste of this odd veggie and it turned out to be a hit! I had to look it up. More

Repeat Mondays: Madcap Irish Tea Party

Tiger and Firefox turn two!

Tiger and Firefox come to the party!

Once in a while, I thought I’d throw in a repeat, for those readers who are new to Vinny’s blog or who may have missed something he thought was worth reading again. Madcap Irish Tea Party is one of those. It’s full of great ideas for celebrating Saint Paddy’s day tomorrow. Links take you to recipe ideas, songs, stories and crafts celebrating everything Ireland. So whip something up in the kitchen or just sing along and enjoy all that’s green. The luck ‘o the Irish to you! More

BeaverTails deconstructed

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BeaverTails on ice

 

Anyone who’s skated Ottawa’s Rideau Canal knows all about our iconic BeaverTails. Nobody ever leaves the ice without a bite of these sugary deep-fried pastries decorated with cinnamon, chocolate, or lemon, or some other delightful combination of sweet and sour.

As I was focusing on Ottawa’s winter wonderland for my gourmet dinner party, Frozen in Ottawa, I  thought tiny BeaverTails would make a perfect hors d’oeuvre. They would go well with the sweetly tart cocktail we served, Frozen Blues.

BeaverTails are served hot on the Canal. But as my theme was “frozen,” I served mine cold. More

Frozen Blues: cocktail of the hour

Blue Hawaians

Bols Blue Curaçao

We just got back from a heavenly warm trip to the Caribbean, to find ourselves in the depths of our cold Canadian winter… and just in time to host our annual gourmet dinner. So we built a meal around the theme, ” Frozen in Ottawa.” More

Readers Earl Grey teabag cookies

earl grey tea(bag) cookies

Event…

Our book club was meeting at my house this month. What to serve? Looking in my tea box, I discovered a couple of packets of loose-leaf tea labelled Readers Earl Grey Tea. What could be more perfect for this special group of readers, I thought. More

Cherry clafouti solves one omnivore’s dilemma

Omnivore's dilemma - Pollan

What’s for dinner?

Once upon a time some friends formed a neighborhood reading salon. One night they slogged through the snow to sit by a fire together and discuss a book Michael Pollan wrote nearly 10 years ago — The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

Pollan’s story lifts the blinders to show where our food comes from, just as deftly as if he wrote it, well, yesterday.

More

Frozen! Easy home-baked bread for random holidays

Christmas bread

Fill your Valentine’s bread with cinnamon and sugar. Or  serve it with raspberry or sour cherry jam.

Braided bread

I always make braided bread at Christmas… because what would a Ukrainian Xmas Eve be, without a steaming warm loaf decorated with ancient baubles handed down from our great grandmother?

But if you’re looking for directions on making bread from scratch, read no further. For this project, I have always bought frozen bread dough at our local grocery store. I usually have to ask at the cake counter, and someone disappears behind humungous stainless steel doors and emerges with the five stone-hard loaves I need. Easy!

This post is all about the presentation. Your results will look as mouth-wateringly delicious as the warm, fresh bread tastes. More

How to cook eggs for raw-egg recipes

Dovecote sees the light

Dali’s hen house

 

Raw eggs

In my previous post, I talked about making eggnog from scratch using fresh clean unbroken eggs, cracking them carefully, and allowing them to cure in sugar and alcohol. Raw eggs are generally safe for healthy people.

If you are cooking for young children, pregnant mamas, the elderly, or people with weak immune systems, though, you won’t want to risk serving them raw eggs. But hey, you don’t have to ditch your favorite recipes. More

Eggnog Grog

Cup of good cheer comes at a price

Cup of good cheer comes at a price

Raising chickens

I’ve just read Mike Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma. Eye-roll.  Will I ever eat again?

Eggs and chicken are mainstays of my diet. But Pollan has lifted the curtain for me on the often shocking truths behind industrially raised chickens. They’re jammed into spaces so small, the poor animals try to peck each other to death. The answer, according to chicken producers? Off with their beaks. More

Adela’s Bird of Paradise

Remembering Adela - the hostess with the mostest!

Remembering Adela – the hostess with the mostest! 1963

Vinny’s Grandma Adela loved a dramatic presentation. She had inherited her own dad’s artistic temperament. Great granddad William Enge was a master woodworker, making violins as well as decorative furniture. He played the violin so beautifully, his music made a woman 20 years his junior fall in love with him.

Adela too had musical ability, singing in the choir at church, as well as for the Ottawa Opera Company.  Like him, she had an eye for color and fashion, designing and sewing her own clothes and much of the clothing for her family. She also built or refinished many pieces of furniture for her home, following in her dad’s footsteps. Knitting, sewing, carpentry, painting—nothing was too difficult for her to try her hand at.

But Adela was at her best in the kitchen. She kept an extensive recipe collection. And, like an early Martha Stewart, Adela was known to set an elegant table. More

Borscht with Zoë

borscht

Borscht at Christmas

I’ve posted many times about my favorite veggie. “Do you know what it is, Zoë?” I asked.

It’s usually red but sometimes yellow, and some people swear it tastes like DIRT. Ha! To me it tastes like the salt of the earth. Our favorite time of year to cook with this veggie is Christmas… partly because it’s red, and partly because at Christmas time, like all root veggies, it is available locally.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m talking about that fabulous storehouse of antioxidants, minerals, and vitaminz (no, Zoë, you can’t help me type)… BEETS. Yay!

More

Cranberry troll cream and the three gruff goats

Cranberry troll cream

A Norwegian tradition

A Tale of Three Goats

Once upon a time, three little Billy goats were feeling a bit gruff. They hadn’t eaten since they left the barn in the morning, because during the night, their meadow had been grazed to the ground by a herd of reindeer, one of whom had a red nose!

The goats trotted and trotted, looking for fresh grass under the snow. But they had no luck. At last, they came upon a raging river. On the opposite bank, rows of cranberry bushes poked their heads up through the drifts. Lunch called!

The water looked deep and cold. But they soon spotted a stone bridge. The littlest and liveliest goat boy danced ahead. When he jumped onto the bridge, a troll leaped at him, all smelly and ugly.

“I eats goats for lunch,” the troll roared, “and you looks mighty tasty!” More

15 steps to making red and green pierogis

Use parchment paper if you line your pans. Wax paper sticks.

Use parchment paper if you line your pans. Wax paper sticks.

Last week I posted some tips for up-dating your techniques when making pierogis from scratch. I also posted many reasons for undertaking this task, in spite of the effort involved. But isn’t that true of most Christmas preparations? Good things take time to develop.

Without further ado, here is the recipe, which I share mainly so my family can carry on this tradition without further meddling on my part. I’m sure over the years they will institute improvements of their own. The world turns.

If there are readers out there who also are inspired to try these little tasties, please let me know. It will make my Christmas to hear of your success! FYI, Ukrainian Christmas is still to come. Celebrate with us on January 6 :). More

Santa’s elves update Christmas pierogis

pirogis

New kitchen tools make it easier to cook pierogis from scratch.

How perfect is this for Christmas! I make green and red pierogis every year, but my natural food colors have been disappointingly dull. I’m trying a new technique this year, inspired by Stefan’s Gourmet Blog, to see if I can make some improvements. More

Gut wars! Arm yourself with yogurt and prosper

Grilled pineapple, sweetened greek yogurt, cinnamon & almonds

Yogurt, yogurt everywhere!

 En garde!

Trillions of bacteria live happily in our gut. The goodies among them help us digest our food and absorb its nutrients. They also help our body make vitamins, absorb minerals, and get rid of  toxins. They make our immune system strong. And best of all, they work on our brain cells to help them battle anxiety, stress, and depression. Friendly bugs in our gut make up the army that protects us from disease, including mental illness.

Good bacteria, called probiotics, come to us in fermented foods. Buttermilk, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, sour dough bread, raw-milk cheeses and kefir all harbor the good guys. For many, though, probiotics march forth  into our gut in yogurt. More

Vinny celebrates an anniversary with a Christmas market

market 459611754_10

Yesterday marked four years to the day since Vinny launched himself into the cybersphere. The time has flashed by. It’s been so much fun watching Vinny and the kids experiment with new foods. And I have had just as much fun figuring out how to tell you about our adventures into healthy eating, with stories and recipes that get your juices flowing. But the most fun comes from reading your comments, especially when you tell me about your own journey to the land of good health. More

No stove? Cook dinner with your iron!

iron out the wrinkles on your next grilled cheese

Iron out the wrinkles on your next grilled cheese

I’m not sure we should let the little dears in our lives in on this trick… But if you’re ever stuck in a hotel room with no cooking facilities and limited cash for eating out, you can get by with an iron!

I’m not kidding. It’s simple! More

Vinny’s brownie malfunction 😲

cocoa brownies

Sugary cocoa brownies are my favorite!

The good

Kids love brownies. And I have the perfect recipe that kids and their families can make from scratch.

It’s easy to bake with chocolate when you use cocoa! More

Vinnyssoise – Chilled leek & sweet potato soup bowls

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“It’s called ‘the  great pumpkin bowl,’ Vinny Grette!” Isla tied on her apron furiously, then began pulling out pots and spoons and cream. “For Halloween, we’ll make some creamy soup and dish it up in bowls made from jack-o’lanterns.”

“Awesome!” said Vinny. “My granddad made a wonderful soup he called Vichyssoise.” Vinny’s voice became softer and rang with a little sadness. “But Grandpa used mainly potatoes. The starch in potatoes is a simple molecule that turns into sugar as soon as it hits our stomachs. I haven’t had  vichyssoise in ages.”

“I have an idea,” said Isla. “Let’s try the soup with sweet potatoes instead. Orange ones for Halloween. We can call it Vinnyssoise!”
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A cake cup for Krista – Chocolate rules!

cake cups

The candles spluttered out in a blast of air, as 9-year-old Krista blew across her birthday cake and made a wish.

“What did you wish for?” asked Vinny. “A unicorn for the backyard shed? A chest of gold Lego?”

“No… and no,” said Krista. “I wished I was skinny!”

“What? No!” Vinny was aghast. More

Jack Spratt’s breakfast beets

beets and eggs for breakfast

“Oww. Yikes! Moan…” said Jack, clutching the source of his agony with greasy hands… his bloated belly.

“Hey, Man,” said a worried Vinny. “What in heck did you eat this time, to cause all this grief?”

“All I had was a bite of Mama’s fish and chips. You know I don’t usually eat fried stuff, Vinny. But Mama’s fish and chips? I just couldn’t turn that down, and…” Just then another cramp hit, sending Jack into spasms of pain.

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Carrots for dessert? Add grapes and go!

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A duck walked up to a lemonade stand. And he said to the man
running the stand… “Hey…. Got any grapes?”

The man said, “No, we just sell lemonade.  It’s cold and it’s fresh and it’s all home made.  Can I get you a glass?” The duck said, “I’ll pass.” (waddle waddle waddle)

I feel just like that persistent little duckie in Bryant Oden’s wickedly humorous song who wouldn’t give up until he found some grapes.

Unlike the duck, when I find grapes I know just what I’ll do with them. More

It’s national macadamia-nut day today!

Macadamia nut tea cake

A tropical tea cake for your sweetie

Many months back I posted about how our Miss Macadamia, with her low omega-6 fatty acids,  offers a treasure chest of healthy, stable fats for your dining pleasure.

Today, in honor of Macadamia’s special day, I’m reposting a delicious recipe for you to try out, featuring macadamia nuts and their oil. More

How Olive Oyl and Popeye became an item

Olive Oyl is heart friendly

Olive Oyl is heart friendly

Olive Oyl, a popular comic strip character of the 1920s, is named after olive oil… a healthy choice for vinaigrettes. Early newspapers  also featured  Olive’s brother, Castor Oyl, and his wife, Cylinda Oyl… as well as my personal favorite, the intrepid explorer Lubry Kent Oyl.

Lubry Kent’s gift to Castor and Olive led them into the adventure where they met Popeye, the sailor man. As it turned out, Popeye was mad for spinach. And the perfect match for spinach is none other than the lovely Olive Oyl!

But why did Olive Oyl’s creators choose spinach as Popeye’s passion?  It all hinged on one little mistake, a mistake that launched the first modern super-food. More

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