Copper penny cooked carrot salad

Carrots

Turn carrots into a delicious, make-ahead party salad.

Pot luck party time

“What are you bringing to the pot luck picnic tomorrow, Vinny?”

Vinny looked at his super slim and very athletic friend. “Think I’ll bring a crunchy curried cauliflower salad, Val. It’s easy. I took it to a party on the weekend and it was a hit. I just added curly lettuce leaves and my own cabbage slaw to Farm Boy’s offering and I was done.”

“Crunchy?” asked Val. “Does that mean uncooked?”

“Why, yes,” said Vinny.

“Guess I won’t be eating any, then.” Val smiled.

“Oops, I forgot! You can’t eat uncooked fiber! Sorry!” said Vinny.

“No problem,” said Val. “There will be plenty of other things there I can eat.”

But Vinny loves a challenge and began to think how he could turn his salad into something his friend Val could eat too. Easy, he thought. Cooked carrots. Just peel, slice, and add a  dressing. More

Dorothy’s amazing tomato salad

tomato

Vinny pays homage to the tomato

Vinny has been remiss! That means he’s made a big mistake, has been careless, or both. For although he has featured tomatoes in many posts, especially those where he is extolling the virtues of a bunch of super foods, he’s never devoted a post solely to these delicious vegetables… er, fruits, actually. More

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

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

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

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

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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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

Making sweet potato fries in the oven – perfect every time

sweet potato fries

Sweet potato fries, perfect in the oven

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vinny cooks up an Internet dinner

Gourmet dinner - red theme

Our annual dinner party

Vinny and I have made new friends since we’ve been blogging. Many of them are great cooks!

When it was our turn to host a dinner party this spring, Vinny thought it would be fun to showcase recipes he’s found on-line. It was such a hard choice seeing as there’s only so much food you can take in on any given evening… and there are so many wonderful dishes to choose from. Thank goodness for Pinterest, where a foodie can save and sort favorite recipes found on the Internet. For this particular evening, Vinny picked the following dishes, based on Mediterranean small plates. More

Make sardines taste good and boost your memory

No added salt - just wild Canadian sardines and water.

No added salt – just wild Canadian sardines and water.

More on the omega-3s…

Omega-3 fats are vital to the workings of our brain, the most important organ of our body. They keep our memories sharp and our minds on target. Sadly, the average North American diet is not a welcoming place for these guys. More

Fabulous Fennel, plus an Italian side-dish

Braised fennel with chinese chicken

Fennel makes a great side for barbecued chicken.

What’s Fennel?

Fennel’s a bit of an odd vegetable. Although it turns up in the produce departments of most super markets, it’s not really a regular guest at most people’s tables. Fennel’s best pals with Celery, another kind-of-blah veggie that is often left languishing. These two veggies have the same pale greenish-white crisp flesh. And Fennel’s stalks grow around one another like Celery’s stalks do. Both veggies can be served raw or cooked. And both have a fibrous, mild flavor.

But Fennel deserves a closer look. Once you get to know it, you’ll see it’s loaded with character. More

Walnuts raw: Crunchy party salad comes packed with nutrition

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Walnuts slash diabetic risk by a quarter. Click pic for more.

Continuing with walnuts…

Walnuts raw (see Verse 4 in my previous post) not only develop the jaw, they also strengthen teeth as well as bones in your whole body.

Then too, walnuts help you remember things… like the make-ahead party salad in last week’s blog entry I promised to post. That’s because of the huge amounts of the rarer fat component omega-3 that walnuts have.  More

Sweet potato stars as the main course

Sweet Patooty dresses for dinner

Sweet Patooty dresses for dinner

Sweet potato’s qualities

Our Sweet Patooty is not just another pretty face. There’s so much goodness under her skin, I hardly know where to start. She comes from a large family.  There are at least 18 relatives you might meet at the supermarket. All of them bring great qualities to the table. Some have orange or reddish skins, while others are purple-skinned. The purple ones can have white or purple flesh. But we don’t discriminate based on the color of the skin… More

Wheat is not satan… but look out for those sneaky little sugar devils

This sinister gilded crust was the model for Salvador Dali's famous painting Bread 1926.

This sinister gilded crust was the model for Salvador Dali’s famous painting, “Bread 1926.”

Is bread the only villain in today’s battle with obesity?

How did this food, which people have enjoyed since the dawn of agriculture, get such a bad rap?

Doctor William Davis leads the attack. In his book Wheat Belly, he blames wheat and wheat alone for everything from heart disease to diabetes to arthritis and everything in between. His inflammatory accusations have some validity, of course. But overall, I think the good doctor is stirring the pot with too big a spoon. More

Pineapple kings them all with this salsa

Pineapple Chutney

Nutrition

Pineapple wears a crown for a reason. It is royally healthy. In fact, it may be the healthiest fruit we can eat. More

Simply squash

Squash-o-copia - butternut, acorn, ambercup
Squash-o-copia:   butternut, acorn, and ambercup

“Simple!” Dr. Mike says. “Roasted squash is a delicious, low-fat side dish. Enjoy it on my 17-day diet, once you’ve completed the first cycle.”

So I decided to give it a try. The roasted butternut was so good, my friend ate the skin! I suppose that’s one way to boost your fiber – but not one I’d really recommend :). Squash tastes wonderful with lean poultry or pork.

Tip: to make the squash easier to cut, More

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

Little Annie Okra

Fiber Bonanza!

Annie Okra hits the target every time when it comes to scrubbing out our innards. Also known as “lady finger,”  this nutritious green pod is rich in fiber as well as some other gluey stuff. This duo helps digest your dinner.  More

Cook up a treat from Redwall Abbey

Cooking up stories from Redwall Abbey

These traditional recipes were born 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. More

What’s for lunch at Hogwarts? Potatoes!

Rumbledethumps... with sweet potatoes and white ones.

Rumbledethumps, without its coat of grated cheese (so you can properly see the filling).

British kids like Harry and Hermione find foods with the strangest names on their school menus. Which of these dishes isn’t like the others… Is it Bubble and Squeak? Rumbledethumps? Hash? Or Spotted Dick?  Here’s a hint: Think potatoes. More

Behind Mr. Beans’ Back Door

The many faces of Mr. Beans

The many faces of Mr. Beans

“Beans, beans, the musical fruit
The more you eat, the more you toot
The more you toot, the better you feel
Beans, beans at every meal!”

The good news

I love you, Mr. Beans, especially on this blustery, cold March day. Your down-home taste spiked with bacon, tomato, and maple syrup fills my tummy nicely. And your hearty goodness gives me the energy I need to take me through the day… not to mention the awesome protein, fibre, iron and calcium you put into my tank while you’re at it. “But, Mr. Beans,” I have to ask,” Why so much gas? That’s something that’s really not pleasant to pass!” More

Ancient eggs help ring in the new year, Chinese style

They’re from Land Before Time!

With the Chinese new year just behind us, I invited some friends over to help me look into that famous Asian delicacy, 1000-year-old duck eggs. When the gang arrived, I pulled the brown, grassy ovals from the cupboard.

“These can’t be duck eggs!” Isla gasped.

“They look more like duck-billed dino eggs to me,” Will agreed. More

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