Cook Up A Story for the Holidays

Cook Up A Story - craft fair

I enjoyed participating in a few holiday craft sales this year, showing off my book Cook Up A Story. I met many wonderful people who bought up most of my stock and all of my aprons and chef hats.

I only have a few copies left. In Canadian dollars I can offer a better price than that at the Blurb Book store, which quotes American dollars. Because of the current exchange rate,  Canadian prices are lower than those quoted on Blurb Bookstore on-line. And conversely prices are 33% lower yet if you are paying in US dollars. As of Dec 17, I’m down to my last three copies: More

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

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

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

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

Round Vinny Grette’s kitchen in pictures – best recipes of 2013

Here Vinny presents his best efforts for 2013 –
easy, healthy, and kid friendly food.
For a glimpse into Vinny’s kitchen, click on any picture.

For recipes, copy and paste the link that appears below each caption. More

Almonds two ways: Another pineapple dessert plus gluten-free cookies

Chewy almond butter cookies

 Verse 2

My little granddaughter
Came to visit me,
And all for a taste
Of my almond cook-kie.

Another pineapple and almond dessert…

Last week’s post featured Verse 1 of Vinny’s ode to almonds and the grilled pineapple dish with almonds I pictured there.

This time, I made another version, using the microwave instead of the barbecue. I drizzled some liqueur over the pineapple (which I sliced really really thin and spread across the dinner plate in a single layer). Then I nuked the plate for 1 minute in the micro. Finally, I topped the pineapple with Greek yogurt sweetened with stevia, then with lots of chopped  almonds, candied ginger, and cinnamon. It tasted like Paris. OO-la-la!

Gluten-free almond-butter cookies

Here’s an easy recipe you can make with the kids. You can even serve these cookies along with my pineapple dish for a special treat. It uses almond-butter. My friend Esther sent along the idea. She says, “These are tasty, just sweet enough, very nutty, and a touch chewy, as long as they are taken out of the oven when just done (no darkness on the bottom).”

I liked that there are only a few ingredients, no special tools needed except a hand-mixer, and no temperamental mixing instructions. These cookies taste like a treat straight out of a candy box :). Yet, they’re packed with good nutrition. Yay Esther!

On the left, no quinoa flour. The cookie is oilier and more crumbly than the one on the right, made with my recipe. Both taste the same.

Some tips

  • When I opened the jar of almond-butter, all the oil had pooled at the top. I had to pour the oil into the mixing bowl, scrape out the nut solids, and mix vigorously with a big spoon to incorporate the oil again. Thinking things over, this may have been because I used almond/hazelnut butter, because that was what I had in the cupboard. Hazelnuts are considerably more oily than almonds.
  • I halved the sugar in Esther’s recipe, using a scant half cup. I wanted each cookie to have an acceptable level of sugar (the guide is 5 grams a serving). My cookies clocked in at 7 grams each. They taste plenty sweet.
  • I added a third of a cup of quinoa flakes to the mix. The cookies didn’t hold together well without it. The quinoa absorbed the oil that seemed to leak all over everything without it. If you don’t have quinoa flakes, use oat flour… or even whole wheat flour if you aren’t allergic to gluten. Five ingredients make for an easy recipe kids can whip up themselves.
  • I buy quinoa flakes at the health food store. The beauty of quinoa is that it has no flavor of its own, unlike whole wheat. The cookies with quinoa flakes taste identical to the cookies without it – they just handle better. Plus they have a bit more protein and fiber.

almond-butter cookies

Vinny’s no-flour, no-butter almond cookies
Makes 16 cookies

  • 1 cup natural almond butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup quinoa flakes (available at health food stores)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • almond slivers to garnish (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Using a hand mixer, mix all the ingredients together on low speed.
  3. Scoop 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough 1 1/2-inches apart onto the baking sheet. I used my hands to make nicely shaped round balls.
  4. Flatten the dough balls (gently) with a fork, making a cross pattern on the cookies.
  5. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. Watch them the last few minutes and take them out once they start leaking too much oil and before the bottoms darken. Mine were done at 9 minutes. Let the cookies rest on the counter in the pan for 2 or 3 minutes so that they have time to set before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Nutrition per cookie made from Vinny’s recipe

  • 150 calories
  • 10 grams fat (of which 9 grams is monounsaturated)
  • 13 grams carbohydrates (of which 7 grams is sugar)
  • 3.5 grams protein

An ode to almonds, plus grilled pineapple

Almond blossoms

Almond tree in bloom

Almonds are so super good for you, they deserve an ode. One well-known nursery rhyme featured a nut tree that bore nothing… except silver and gold that is, which, as everyone knows, taste awful.

But those who have been reading along with Vinny know that nut trees in real life bear many wondrous things, more precious than money. 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.

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

Friendly fiber… When things go wrong, move on

Make magic with prunes

Make magic with prunes

Study Guide to Cook Up A Story

CHAPTER 4

Chapter 4 of the print version of Cook Up A Story  is all about fiber… a subject that can sometimes veer sadly toward the gross. The story, Prune Puff,  doesn’t disappoint. It’s all about how ridiculously wrong things can go in the kitchen. It starts when Clark tries to come up with a good science project. But you can do better than Clark. Follow Vinny’s simple recipe and concoct a delicious light luscious delectable cake… full of healthy fiber. Then, test your food science know-how. Take a quiz on fiber and do an experiment on the ingredient that puffs cakes up – baking powder.

The story underlines how important it is to label foods carefully. And not just in your own kitchen. All processed foods we buy have to be labeled. Vinny shows us how to understand the information on food labels.  Everybody can take a minute to refresh their know-how in this area – so important! 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 94rd birthday, I’m re-posting a feature that touches on times 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

Meal time is family time

Holiday  turkey

Study Guide to Cook Up A Story

CHAPTER 3

Chapter 3 of the print version of Cook Up A Story  offers kids a family ghost to scare them silly. Little Miss Ellie and the princess’s pie makes for a tasty Halloween treat. Then bake two delicious dishes from Ellie’s past. Ellie’s mixed French and Native background helps us learn to appreciate foods from other cultures. Sit down for a cozy chat with your folks and unmask recipes that conjure up your own family’s skeletons. Vinny uses Ellie’s Native roots to discuss food labels we see at the store: natural, organic, local, large-scale producers… We soon see that no one size fits all. There’s a lot to learn and the choice is up to us. 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

Pump it! Fuel up with good food

barbecuing

The outdoors and exercise go hand-in-hand

Study Guide to Cook Up A Story

CHAPTER 2

In Chapter 2 of the print version of Cook Up A Story,  read Birthday bumps. It’s a hair-raising adventure about boys on the river, frogs, and wishes gone bad. Then make two delicious campfire treats: wings on a stick and birthday cupcakes baked in orange skins. Use a campfire, a barbecue, or your oven. Flip and Tigger introduce the idea of food as fuel. Vinny targets carbohydrates and suggests ways to gear up for active lives. Exercise is the chapter’s theme. More

Vinny’s first give-away garners bouquets from Singapore

package

Happiness often slips in through a door you never knew you left open. That’s my calendar’s message this morning, and it’s proving true in many ways. Here’s one example. Vinny’s pleased to announce that his first attempt at a give-away is all tidied up. His prize, a copy of his book, goes global! More

Body Basics – Chapter 1 of my book “Cook Up A Story”

Wauna's ice krispies

Wauna’s ice krispies

Study Guide to Cook Up A Story

CHAPTER 1 – BODY BASICS

In the print version of Vinny’s book Cook Up A Story, read Vinny’s original fairy tale, Wauna’s Song. Then cook up some  Ice Krispies, mentioned in Wauna’s joke to the evil Snow-Woman. Wauna makes it easy to learn about your body, how it works, and how we need balanced  meals to make it run smoothly. More

Study Guide – Turning a New Page

A family's guide to healthy eating

Making nutrition fun through stories

I’m helping Vinny set up a new page in his main menu, called Study Guide.

The plan is to present a guide to healthy eating at home and school, for parents and teachers, based on Cook Up A Story.

Cook Up A Story started out as a way to introduce kids and their families to healthy eating ideas. I hoped to make nutrition fun through stories.

I began with a print book of six adventures for kids, where food is a part of the plot. The stories make bridges to nonfiction articles on the basics of nutrition the whole family can enjoy. The book also features recipes with healthy ingredients, so families can cook up the dishes that star in the tales. More

Give Away – shhhh don’t tell

Vinny cart p17

Oh, go ahead. Tell everybody. Vinny is doing his very first give away! More

Warm mushroom salad works majic for the Faerie Queene

Blue oyster mushrooms weave a safety net for your heart

Blue oyster mushrooms weave a safety net for your heart

Story time – The blue-haired one’s majic cure

The Faerie Queene hung her head. Her heart ached and she knew not what might mend it.

She summoned her trusty knights to her fortress deep in the forest. “Dear Sirs,” she began. “Your mission is to find a way to chase the chill from my blood.”

Sir Woe-be-Gone spoke first. “Rub a paste of mustard and lemon over your neck,” he said. “And get a good night’s sleep.”

Sir Cry-No-Tears piped up next. “Balderdash! What’s needed is a steamy tea, flavored with  garlic and thin slices of onion.”

Then a sweet voice sang out above the rest. 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

Hungry enough to eat an ox?

Most times we settled for a turkey… but not always!

I owe my on-line existence to a mining engineer. Without Bill’s passion for food as well as rare minerals, I wouldn’t be blogging today. It was Bill who took his daughter Sharon, my alter-ego,  under his formidable wing and taught her to cook.

Sundays would see Bill in his tiny, lemon-hued 1950s kitchen pouring over one of his many fish-splattered and chocolate-speckled cook books. Sharon was there, too, in her pleated skirt with her blouse hanging out, helping him find the canned pineapple bits, the dented More

Sauerkraut’s probiotics sweeten Polish cabbage and chicken dish

Bavarian chicken

Sauerkraut

Will and Isla carefully chop through mountains of cabbage.

“In the old days,” Vinny says, “people made their own sauerkraut so they would have veggies to eat during the long winters.Your great grandpappy was a sauerkraut-maker extraordinaire. People came from all over to buy his home-made kraut. Now, we just go to the deli. It comes in jars or cans, too, at the grocery store. I like the Polish kind best myself. It’s good to keep the old ways alive. Keep chopping!”

“Val deree, val derah, val deree, val der-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha,” sing Will and Vinny at the top of their lungs. Isla just hums, too busy chopping to get involved with words.

Today we know that the old ways were healthy ways. Sauerkraut is what you get after cabbage is well salted and allowed to rest for a few weeks in a crock, closed off  from air. Salt pulls water from the cabbage to make a brine.  The little bugs that thrive in this environment are good bacteria. They make the brine acidic, in a process called fermentation.

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Cabbage makes good sauerkraut

Probiotics

These healthy bugs go by the name probiotics. They work against the bad bacteria in our stomachs to improve  digestion.

Many people think the healthy bacteria protect us by keeping inflammation in check, reducing allergies, preventing constipation, and boosting our brain power. The science is still young. But to be safe many nutritionists recommend two servings of probiotic foods a day.

Probiotics are found in fermented foods… like pickles, yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, and, of course, sauerkraut. You can also get probiotics in supplements. But unless you’re taking antibiotics, which wipe out the good bugs along with the bad ones, it’s best to rely on real food for your probiotics.

Sauerkraut processed in cans or jars doesn’t have any live probiotics, because heat kills all those cute little helpful bacteria. Instead, buy it raw at farmer’s markets or delis for the real stuff. Or make it yourself!

But processed or cooked sauerkraut still has all the nutrients from cabbage. Enjoy it both ways. It’s packed with vitamin C!

Meal suggestions

Pair well-rinsed raw sauerkraut with soft poached eggs in the morning. The meal has a nice tang and makes a satisfying start to the day.

At lunch, sauerkraut makes a tasty addition to salad. But what I like best is putting a big scoop into the bottom of my bowl before pouring hot soup over it. Yummy!

For dinner, Vinny suggests a Polish chicken dish, starring a heap of sauerkraut.

Bavarian chicken

Vinny’s Polish chicken
serves three

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 large apple, cored and chopped
  • 8 ounces sauerkraut, well rinsed to remove salt (if you have raw sauerkraut, reserve some to add to the plate at serving time)
  • 12 medium Brussels sprouts, stemmed and cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 1/2  teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 3 chicken breasts or legs,  or a small roasting chicken
  1. Sauté the onions, ginger, and garlic in a large soup pot, using a bit of oil.
  2. Add the rest of the veggies, spices and other ingredients and  over medium heat, bring to boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Chicken

  1. Before you start cooking the veggies, put a  small chicken in the oven to roast or prepare three boneless chicken breasts for  the barbecue. If the meat is ready first, keep it warm, then serve the chicken on top of the veggies.
  2. Alternatively, poach the chicken breasts in the soup pot, submerged in the liquid. Add the chicken after the liquid has come to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow the meat to cook through, about 20-30 minutes. This method is easier, but I like roasted or grilled chicken better :).

Garnish

  • 2 teaspoons fresh dill weed, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons paprika

Paprika boosts metabolism and fresh dill contains vitamins.

This dish is one of my favorites. The stove-top veggies are good with lots of  lean meats… tasty even for folks who say they don’t like cabbage (or Brussels sprouts).

Nutrition

The veggies (per serving): Calories (kcal)100.1, Fat (g) 3.6, Sodium (mg) 377.0, Potassium (mg) 433.1, Fibre (g) 5.1, Vitamin A (RAE) 27.4, Vitamin C (mg) 48.7, Calcium (mg) 60.9, Folate (DFE) 51.4.  The chicken: a 6-oz breast has 252 calories and 46 grams of protein.

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A Polish meal is all I need
To make my day complete.
It’s hard to keep account of all
The cabbage that I eat.

 

Garbage soup makes a magical bone broth

Garbage soup

DIY with a different soup every time

The story of how bone broth came to be

On a winter’s night after a long day’s walk, a ragged beggar finds himself in a quiet farming village. He dreams of a warm fire and a hot meal. He knocks on the door of a tidy house. A pair of eyes peer out at him from behind the printed curtain. But no-one opens the door. At the next house a young woman with a crying baby tells him she has nothing to spare. He is even turned away from the Ukrainian church, where a few women are sewing together on a patchwork quilt. 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

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

Hummus is Pretty in Pink

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Awhile back, we roasted  up some tasty garbanzo beans to zap our good health with fiber and minerals. That bland little bean, which is part of the legume family… comes into its own, though, in the near Eastern dish known as hummus.

Let me introduce you to the Cinderella of the hummus crowd, a beet and garbanzo duo that knocks your slippers off! More

Green tea for two plus tea trivia galore

Green Tea makes for strong hearts.

 

Green Tea comes with benefits

Host a green tea party for two and do your hearts a favor. A beautiful smile, fresh breath and glowing skin are some other ways green tea can improve your love life.

Even better is the boost it gives your memory, as well as your metabolic rate. All that should earn you some brownie points with your heart’s desire! More

Miss Chicken wears orange for a bolder style

Orange chicken bake

 

Chicken

Take heart, boys and girls. The first meal in my 17-day-diet series is not a salad. Instead, it tells the tale of how the bland and boring Miss Chicken found her style.

We wanted her a little bolder. A little edgier. We also wanted her to have the power to keep you healthy. To do all that we partnered her with the color orange! More

The 17-day diet, starring Dr. Mike Morano

17-day diet

A doctor’s plan for rapid weight loss
Sharon talks to Vinny about her adventures with the 17-day diet

Vinny: How fast can you lose weight on this diet plan?

Sharon: Ok. Right off the bat my radar goes up. Anybody knows you can’t expect to lose weight fast… and keep it off. But Mike says, yes you can! He promises results that last. It’s right there on the front cover.

When I crack the book open, his first words to me are, “Just give me 17 days.”

Vinny: How is this plan any different from all the other pitches out there? More

Garbanzos, Gangnam style!

It's not as fishy as it seems.

There’s nothing fishy about garbanzos!

Fad food

Hey…Hey… Foxy Lady.  You gotta try this healthy recipe! Garbanzo beans, AKA chick peas, are the talk of Pinterest right now… hot hot… hot hot hot. Folks are roasting them whole by the bushel and popping them down as a handy snack. 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

You are my sunshine!

sunshine-award

Vinny and I just got an early Christmas present. Casey of  Case of the Munchies has given us a Sunshine Award! What could be warmer at this time of year than to be recognized for working with children? 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

The Queen’s Beets – Let Them Eat Cake

“Woe is me!” sighs Marie.

How Queen Marie learns to dance

Marie Antoinette found herself  bored silly. She had everything she wanted. If she clapped once, her servant would come with a tray full of chocolate cake. Twice got her steaming mugs of cocoa and cream. Three times and she went mad over baskets of truffles and éclairs. But she wasn’t happy. More

Loverly coconut oil and some kale chips

Click on the coconut to hear Grampa’s song

My Great-Great-Ever-So-Great Grampa used to sing about coconuts at the top of his lungs. But he wasn’t much into eating them. Although he loved fine dining, his choices rarely included stuff that was good for him. Broccoli? Yuck! Brown bread? No way! Bring on the butter and the whipped cream! More

Stevia sweetens sand-dollar cookies

Make us some sand dollars, please Vinny?

“If I owned this cottage, I would never go home,” Will proclaims. We were packing up after three weeks at a glorious lake house, and it was hard to say goodbye.

A favorite activity there was playing on the beach. Will got Bank Street and Isla hung out on Alta Vista, one rock over, building shark pools, irrigation systems, and frog forts. Builders had to keep one eye open in case wily Billy, the water snake, popped in for a visit… but for the most part we were left alone.

We did work up an appetite though. “Have you got any cookies for us today, Vinny?” Isla asks. More

Scallops and beans battle stroke with magnesium

A plateful of Magnesium

Smoking and stroke

Are your grandparents looking a little worn around the edges? Maybe you see them filling up on junk food or puffing away on cigarettes too often?

If so, they could be setting themselves up for a medical catastrophe known as Stroke. Holy smokes! That could be serious. Is there anything you can do to help? More

Raison d’etre

A whole bunch of raisins!

Once upon a time there was a bunch of grapes. They spent way too long in the sun and ended up as raisins. Did you know? More

Trail mix for cowboys and cowgirls – but without the acorns

Ke-mo-sah-bee! “Trusted friend”

The power of nuts

In a recent blog we talked about the goodness of hazelnuts. We even used hazelnuts to make some healthier homemade Nutella!

Acorns are nuts, too. But are they a food? Sure! Hazelnut and Acorn are friends. More

Little lambs eat ivy! But kids’ll eat goat cheese strata

What little lambs eat may not be so good for kids of the human variety. But one kind of ivy is a plant people have been eating for nearly ever. More

Fry up a little love this Christmas

Love on toast!

Here’s a twist on a favorite recipe that has love written all over it… a heart-y breakfast to get the family into a peaceful mood for Christmas. It’s made with eggs, Vinny’s theme in recent posts.

Eggs often get a bad rap in the press. But they have lots going for them, More

Curioddities… how curious!

An exercise in thinking

Vinny’s got a few new snippets for you about keeping our bodies in tip-top shape, from Ripley’s Curioddities. More

Get the Best Price: Save with promo codes

Buying on line? Vinny’s books are available at one dollar over cost, plus shipping. Profits support children’s programs.

Codes have  expiry dates… They are also sometimes dependent on the currency you are using or the total cost of your transaction.  If one doesn’t work, try another one. A maximum saving sometimes applies.

More

Sharon and Vinny meet up with kids at Ottawa Farmers Market

Reading at the Farmers Market

Sharon bundled me up the last two sunny Sundays and carted me off to the Ottawa Farmers Market, at Lansdowne Park. She also took along our book, Cook Up A Story, and some other props. We hoped to meet with some kids who would like to listen to stories where good food sets the mood. And we met lots!

More

What’s wrong with this picture?

Ads

Some ideas are hard to change. These billboard ads were posted on the same wall and photographed in 2007. Vinny says…    no wonder it can be hard to know what’s good for kids to eat! More

Cook Up A Story (the book) is here!

book cover

A family’s guide to healthy eating. Click pic to order.

Vinny is excited about offering you a chance to read his book! Go ahead and preview a few pages on-line. Just click on the pic! Or log on to www.blurb.com/bookstore and enter “Cook Up A Story” in the search box. More

Maple syrup magic

The sugar shack: Maple goodness is best in small packages! Story source: click my photo

If you really need to have a sweetener, choose maple syrup. It’s good! And now there is some proof that it might also be good for you. More

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