Hochepot de Queue de Boeuf, otherwise known as Oxtail Stew

Oxtail stew

They say third-time lucky. I admit I’ve posted this recipe twice before. But this time, I’ve deviated from the simple instructions found in an old French cook book intended for experienced chefs. Here, I’ve set out all the ingredients off the top. Then I’ve broken down the steps in a sensible order.

Be warned, this dish takes a full day to prepare. But I suggest you take two days. The first day, precook the meat with a lot of veggies and pop in the fridge. The second day, you assemble your stew, dress it for your dinner party, and cook it some more.

You can find my reworked recipe in my post of November 11, 2013, sadly, a few weeks late for Remembrance Day 2017. Better late than never.

Oxtail stew

Remembering old soldiers with Clementine’s oxtail stew

I invite you to click the the large heading above and link back to my newly crafted recipe. Five years is a long time. Bon appétit!

Oxtail stew

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All-flavors bread

Every-flavor bread, halloween candy

Vinny’s come up with a yummy way to use left-over Halloween candy that helps keep sugar spikes at bay. We’re borrowing from Harry Potter, Bertie Botts in particular, to create a treat that offers a surprise in every bite. More

Pumpkin pie punch

Pumpkin Pie Punch - rum julip

Try this delicious glassful of nutrition with your little tricksters on Halloween this year. It’s a treat that can’t be beat!

Instead of adding sugar, I use stevia in the whipped cream topping, a natural no-calorie sweetener that won’t add a single gram to your little one’s sugar load this Halloween season.

If you want to add a some fire power to the mix for those adults who may drop around on the 31st with their little super people in tow, you can spike their glasses with a dash of rum. It may just be me, but I loved this drink with its modest dose of alcohol. I christened the boozy version “Jack-o-lantern Julip”.

Pumpkin Pie Punch - rum julip

Pumpkin Pie Punch
or…
Jack-O-Lantern Julip
Makes 8 half-cup servings or 4 large servings of 1 cup each

  • 1 liter (4 cups) cold apple cider
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (see below)
  • 1 cup cold club soda
  • Optional: 3/4 cup rum (turns your drinks magically into julips – only for adults on foot. Remember, don’t drink and drive!)

Garnish

Pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  1. Refrigerate your apple cider and club soda a few hours before you make the punch.
  2. If starting from scratch, blend your pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Whisk together the  cider, pumpkin puree, and 1/4 cup whipping cream.
  4. Add the spice
  5. Core and slice an unpeeled red apple. Dip the slices in lemon juice to keep them from browning.
  6. Pour the pumpkin punch into a large serving bowl. Add a tray of ice cubes. At the last minute, add the club soda and mix gently. Garnish with the whipped cream, some apple slices, and a sprinkling of spice mix.

To serve individual drinks

  1. Put an ice cube in a glass that holds 1.5 cups. Add 3/4 cup pumpkin mix and 1/4 cup club soda. To make the adult version, add 2 tablespoons of alcohol. Mix gently.
  2. Garnish with a dab of whipped cream, a dash of pumpkin pie spice and slice of apple.
  3. Serve with a small coffee spoon.

Note: Proportions can vary depending on taste. But just to say, I tested the above, and I loved the drink with the 2 tablespoons of rum. Delicious!

pumpkin bowls

Where the nutrition is hiding

Don’t throw out that jack-o-lantern after the 31st. Eating pumpkin is good for the heart. The fiber, potassium, and vitamin C content all support heart health. One cup of canned pumpkin puree has seven grams of fiber and three grams of protein— even more than the fresh stuff— and contains only 80 calories and one gram of fat. It is also packed with vitamin A, and other antioxidants such as lutein, xanthin, and carotenes. All this means it is great for your eye sight and for fighting chronic diseases. Go pumpkin go! A super-food, indeed.

Cloudy apple juice or cider (with no sugar added) is your best bet for good health. Cloudy apple cider contains more than five times as much of a health-linked antioxidant than clear juice. It also is a good source of potassium and iron. Remember that apple juice contains as much sugar per serving as a soft drink and shouldn’t be drunk as an every-day beverage. In our punch, the apple cider is diluted with several other ingredients, so the level of sugar per serving is less than in regular apple juice. Also, the cream slows the absorption of sugar into your blood stream, to prevent sugar spikes.

Pumpkin pie spice is a powerhouse of antioxidants, the disease fighters that fend of chronic health problems. Cinnamon spice has the highest antioxidant strength of all the food sources in nature. Nutmeg, cloves, and allspice are good for the digestion, and are full of vitamins and minerals. Ditto ginger, which has a long history of use for relieving digestive problems such as nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness and pain. Spices rev up your good health while boosting flavor. Use them often.

Whipping cream has all the goodness that milk has – protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals. But it also carries a fair amount of saturated fats. These fats may be OK in moderation, but you have to use some caution. They are high in calories and may contribute to heart disease.

The bottom line: There is a lot going for you in this Halloween treat. Let me know how you like it? Boo! From Vinny. xo

Yummy Barbie heads!!!

Trick AND treat! Happy Halloween!

 

 

Maple glazed sweet potato dish

Maple crusted sweet potato dish

Sadly, I haven’t had much time of late to devote to my blog. But as Vinny loves sweet potatoes for their healthy goodness, I thought I’d share this simple recipe that I’m serving tonight in honor of our Canadian Thanksgiving… which as it turns out is happening today. Wishing all my readers, friends and family the very best. So thankful to have had you all in my life. xxoo

Maple crusted sweet potato dish

Maple glazed sweet potatoes
Serves 6

  • 4.5 cups sweet potatoes (about 3 large)
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • sprinkling of sea salt

Topping

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar (can substitute brown sugar)
  1. Boil the potatoes in their skins in a large pot of water that just covers them, until you can pass a fork through them.
  2. Allow them to cool, then remove the skins.
  3. Mash them with a fork or potato masher. Pureeing is not recommended because you want to retain some texture. Baby food isn’t all that appetizing once you pass 2 years of age…
  4. Add the cream, juice, maple syrup and salt and mix well.
  5. Scoop into a shallow, oven-safe dish.
  6. Combine the grated Parmesan and coconut palm sugar. Sprinkle evenly over the potatoes.
  7. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Turn on the broiler element for the final 2 minutes or until the top is nicely browned.

Note: You can garnish with chives or parsley and season the mash with grated ginger if your family likes a little nip.

 

 

Cleaning silver, easily, once and for all

Gourmet dinner - red theme

Setting a nice table

I like to set a pretty table, especially for family celebrations. It adds to the festivities and sets off all the hard work in the kitchen. I have some silverware I inherited from my mother, which I love but rarely use. That’s because whenever I go to use it, I discover it has tarnished. Black silver tends to spoil the presentation.
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Holiday Open House, Sun Nov 27, 1-4pm

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‘Tis the season, whether we like it or not. I personally love it! So much fun getting together with old friends, sharing some sparkly, sampling baking made at special times of the year, remembering happy days from years past… and meeting new neighbors! I even love the whole shopping thing, searching out little baubles to put under the tree and surprising the people I love.

That’s why I happily agreed to help my daughter Kristina host an open house at her place this year to launch the holiday season. More

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.

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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!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frozen! Easy home-baked bread for random holidays

Christmas bread

Christmas bread works well for Valentine’s Day, too. Fill it with cinnamon and coconut palm sugar and  serve it with raspberry 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

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

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!

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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 perogies

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 perogies 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 perogies

pirogis

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

Traditional foods…

How perfect is this for Christmas? Everyone’s traditions are different, but for us, it isn’t Christmas without perogies. For a personal twist, I make mine green and red.

My natural food colors have been disappointingly dull. But Stefan’s Gourmet Blog  has inspired me to make improvements. 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

Leek and sweet potato soup in pumpkin 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!”
More

Birthday cake for a country

Happy Birthday, Canada!

Happy Birthday, Canada!

Canada Day in Ottawa, our nation’s capital, is always a great party. The city closes down and the roads are open only to buses, people, and entertainers. The past few years, even our own street joined in the fun, with party food for the neighborhood, everybody bringing something special. Vinny brought his “Jubilation” – a cake made by the young Elizabeth during the war, before she was queen, when sugar was at a premium and food was hard to come by. Here’s the story of how “Jubilation” came to be, which I first published a few years back. More

Macadamia nuts make a rich tea cake

Macadamia nut tea cake

A macadamia nut tea cake for your valentine…

Last week I posted about our Miss Hawaii, in particular, how macadamia nuts with their low omega-6 offer a treasure chest of healthy, stable  fats for your dining pleasure.

Now, as promised, here is a recipe to try, featuring macadamia nuts and their oil. More

Melting moments – A Christmas story tied up in bows

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Pinecone cake – a labor of love

“I don’t care about Christmas.” Eddy kicks the kitchen stool. “It won’t be the same, without Gramma.” Eddy’s heart feels frozen—it’s been that way ever since Gramma died.

Darren sighs. “Yeah, it’s been tough, buddy.”  He kneels beside his brother so he can see right into Eddy’s eyes. “Remember Gramma’s Christmas cookies?” Darren asks. “Let’s make some Melting moments.”

Eddy thinks of Gramma’s laugh when he got flour on his nose. “OK… I guess,” he says and reaches for Gramma’s recipe box. More

Mood Foods

Christmas bread

Christmas bread smells like good times

Study Guide for Cook Up A Story

CHAPTER 6

This is the last in my series on study guides for the print version of Cook Up A Story. Chapter 6 is about how our moods affect our food choices. We’re wired that way. The part of the brain that stores memory and feelings detects smells, too.

Our last story, Melting Moments, shows how cheery memories are braided together with smells, sounds and tastes. That’s why when we’re blue, we crave foods that remind us of good times. When a small boy finds himself missing his grandmother at Christmas, he takes comfort in his family and its holiday traditions.

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I . love . turtles… the chocolate kind

Apple turtle

Mother Turtle, made from apples here, casts a healing spell among First Nations people.

The turtle myth…

In Native American stories, the turtle is a symbol for Mother Earth. This ancient animal commonly lives as long as 150 years. Its shell keeps her safe. And her slow even pace through life sets an example for people to keep going when the going gets tough. Turtle always makes time to enjoy each moment life has to offer.

To honor the turtle, I suggested to my friend Isla that we could make some for Christmas. “They’re so tasty!” I said. More

Guilt-free advent ideas for kids of all ages

Bearwood rear gardens

English mansion

News flash – Vinny celebrates his third anniversary on WordPress today!

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It’s December! Many people start counting down the days to Christmas with an advent calendar. Each day comes with a thought, a scene, and/or a chocolate candy that brings us closer to the real meaning of the holiday. More

Remembering old soldiers with Clementine’s oxtail stew

Dad in the kitchenLest we forget…

In honor of Remembrance Day, on what would have been my dad’s 97th birthday, I’m re-working a dish from 2013 that originated during the Second World War. More

Nutty gluten-free cake with or without spun sugar

Candied hazelnuts

Candied hazelnuts

The gluten-free birthday cake challenge

Totally in awe is the only way to describe my state at 1:00 am on the eve of my sister’s birthday, as I stared at my work.

I had been in desperate need of a cake. Not just any cake… but a gluten-free confection, so the birthday girl could have some, too.

Chef Janet Rörschåch’s blog suggested a beautiful angel-light cake made from eggs and ground nuts, decorated with vanilla-infused fruit and boozy whipped cream.

The pièce de resistance was glittering threads of sugar, spun from hazel nut centers. Perfect! More

Ghost frogs and pumpkin brulé…

Ghost frogs and pumpkin brule

Of course, the frog part was an accident!

When my little meringue ghosts collapsed after their stint in the oven into weird brown froggies on lily pads, I put it down to the stevia I subbed for more than half the sugar. It seems that for meringues to hold their height, the sugar-to-eggwhite ratio is crucial. Live and learn. More

Mushroom soup

Adela's shitake and spinach party soup

Mom’s shitake mushroom and spinach soup

Boost your soup’s healing power, flavor, and presentation

Turn your Cinderella leftovers into a healing soup stock fit for a princess.  Here are a few magical ways to take my basic recipe for garbage soup and boost the healing power of your bone broths.

More

eGgs and veG… Breakfast many ways

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Humpty on the half-shell, with hard-boiled egg and beets on toast

“What experiments are we doing, today, Vinny?’ asks Will, poking his head into my basket of vegetables.

“So many ways to cook eggs for breakfast,” says Vinny with glee. “Today, we’re going to try three of them.” More

Saint Paddy Revisited

I’ve never tried reblogging before, but thought I’d give it a try this 17th of March. It’s St. Paddy’s day! Vinny’s Irish tea party from last year has lots of great links to recipes, songs and stories to help you celebrate the day with your family. Erin go bragh!

Cook Up a Story

“It’s Saint Paddy’s day tomorrow,” says Vinny, “Let’s throw an Irish tea party! Get out your top hats and Irish bowlers, invite Tiger and Firefox,  and set the table.

“But what should we serve?” ask Will and Isla.

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Kick up your heels for kasha and mushroom soup

Ukrainian Christmas stars kasha, AKA Buckwheat Groats… ♪♪♭♪

Vinny’s soup recipe today features an ancient food called kasha, AKA buckwheat groats. If you aren’t of Ukrainian or Russian descent, kasha might be new to you. This slow-carb staple, though, is not a grain. It’s a flower bud. How lovely is that! More

A Few Crunchy Numbers to Munch On… What was hot in 2012?

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Low-sugar cookies

"Skinny" Brownies

“Skinny” Brownies

Mohawk Gardens Public School

Vinny goes back to school

Beet cake

Choco-beet cake

Tibetan pie with it's hat off, so you can see what's inside

Yak’s Sherpa pie

Let's make some chips!

Kale and coconut oil

 

 Click the pics to view the posts   The carrots are cooked! Thanks to the WordPress gurus, we now know our blog, Cook Up A Story, got 11,000 views in 2012. People from all around the world logged on to read Vinny’s 41 stories over the year and to check out the 242 pictures we uploaded. I know there are lots of blogs out there with far bigger readerships, but I’m thrilled with the faithful following we’ve grown over the past year. Thanks so much to our readers who make blogging such a lot of  fun! More

Angels we have heard on high

Tea biscuit angels

Tell us to go out and buy!

So says Tom Lehrer, mathematician, teacher, lyricist, pianist, composer, singer/songwriter and all round great guy. He wasn’t much impressed with the consumerism that Christmas often embodies. His little holiday ditty from the 1960s is just as relevant today as it was when he penned it:

Christmas time is here, by golly,
Disapproval would be folly.
Deck the halls with hunks of holly,
Fill the cup and don’t say when.

This year we’re trying to fill our cups and plates, not with folly, but with great-tasting foods that feed our bodies and minds with goodness. Our host of angels are made from More

Shape Up with holiday cookies

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Our Christmas-shapes inventory is pathetically low.

The problem

Those aren’t Christmas cookies, Vinny,” says Isla. She’s looking at a new batch of Melting Moments fresh from the oven, each decorated with a jewel of raspberry jam (no sugar added) and crowned with flakes of real gold.

“Of course they are,” I say. “I make these every Christmas. Ergo, they are Christmas cookies. Delicious!”

“But, Vinny! Christmas cookies gotta have shapes! They gotta look like candy canes or Christmas trees!” More

Count Down to Christmas, Sugar Free!

 

Here we are, boys and girls, December First! It’s that magical time of the year when we start celebrating all things family, beginning with that special couple 2000 years ago who  rejoiced together  in a stable over the birth of their new-born son.

One fun tradition of the season is the Advent Calendar. Kids everywhere will be More

Beetniks: a winning formula

the beet goes on

Sonny and Cher’s coded message: Beets help you run faster!

What’s old

People who are into sports could take a winning tip from Sonny and Cher’s top-100 hit of 1967:  The beet goes on. Yeah. They’re saying, like: Eat your beets, man, and you’ll run harder, longer, faster. Crazy but true! More

Jubilation! A royal cake for Canada Day

Oh, Canada!

Our home and native land is celebrating a birthday! Isla says: We need to bake a cake. Of  course we do. I should have thought of that myself!

First, I thought about making a Victoria sponge cake, named after an old by-gone queen. But it  doesn’t make the grade as a food suitable for posting here, where we like to feature healthy eating for kids of all ages… Darn!

Then I made a wonderful discovery. More

Mad-Cap Irish Tea Party

Tiger and Firefox turn two!

Tiger and Firefox come to the party!

“It’s Saint Paddy’s day tomorrow,” says Vinny, “Let’s throw an Irish tea party! Get out your top hats and Irish bowlers, invite Tiger and Firefox,  and set the table.

“But what should we serve?” ask Will and Isla. More

Heart-healthy 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.

Sweet potatoes make healthy eating

The Centre for Science in the Public Interest  ranked the sweet potato number one in nutrition of all vegetables. It beat out  white potatoes by more than 100 points!

Points were given for content of dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars and complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Points were deducted for fat content (especially saturated fat), sodium, cholesterol, added refined sugars and caffeine. The higher the score, the more nutritious the food.

Sweet potato ranked highest with a score of 184. Potato came in at 83.

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