06 Jan 2015
in Desserts, food, Holiday foods, recipes, stories
Tags: cranberries, easy recipes, meringue, Norwegian, nutrition, trolls
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
08 Oct 2014
in Desserts, food, health, recipes, Snacks
Tags: avoiding sugar, chocolate, cocoa powder, easy recipes, nutrition, Stevia
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
20 May 2014
in Appetizers, food, recipes
Tags: avocados, bagette, chorizo, easy recipes, goat cheese, nutrition
Green is clean
Avocado crostini with goats cheese and chouriço, garnished with pistachios and red endive
The little bites at the start of a meal are often what we remember best. Here’s an easy appetizer that should hit a home-run for the crowd.
Choose an artisanal baguette baked fresh that day. If you must buy it ahead, wrap it well and freeze it for up to a week. A crusty-type loaf works better with this recipe than a chewy loaf. The chewy ones don’t toast as crisply and it’s harder to break off dainty bites. I learned this the hard way.
If you can find a loaf made from whole grain bread, take bonus points for good nutrition! Some more tips… More
11 Apr 2014
in Breakfast foods, food, health, recipes
Tags: bananas, blood sugar, cinnamon, easy recipes, eggs, gluten free, memory, mood, nutrition, pancake, spices
This has to be the easiest peasiest pancake recipe on the planet.
No lie. There are only two ingredients in this gorgeous breakfast crepe. No milk, no flour. Here’s how to make this tasty treat. Then read on to find out how it brightens your morning. More
18 Mar 2014
in Appetizers, food, health, recipes, Salads, Side dishes
Tags: apples, brain, fish, nutrition, omega-3, sardines, walnuts
No added salt – just wild Canadian sardines and water.
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
04 Mar 2014
in food, health, recipes, science, Side dishes
Tags: antioxidants, digestion, fennel, fiber, heart, liver, nutrition, vegetables
Fennel makes a great side for barbecued chicken.
Fennel’s a bit of an odd vegetable. Although he turns up in the produce departments of most super markets, he’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, mind flavor.
But Fennel deserves a closer look. Once you get to know him, you’ll see he’s loaded with character. More
25 Feb 2014
in food, health, recipes, Soups
Tags: adapting recipes, mushrooms, nutrition, nuts, walnuts
This walnut soup idea grew from a recipe I had saved from a teenage chef in Texas, who says his friends loved it. He’s probably grown up by now and very smart indeed if he’s continued down the walnut-tree-lined road of healthy eating. I found the earthiness of the walnuts in this dish was nice. The original recipe might be something the kids in the family would take to. But for me, I needed a little more oomph on my spoon. More
19 Feb 2014
in food, health, recipes, Salads
Tags: antioxidants, brain, broccoli, memory, nutrition, omega-3, party food, walnuts
Walnuts slash diabetic risk by a quarter. Click pic for more.
Raw walnuts not only provide a workout for your chin, they also strengthen bones and teeth.
Then too, walnuts help you remember things… like the leafless salad I promised to post in last week’s blog entry. That’s because of the huge amounts of the rarer fat component omega-3 that walnuts have. Remember? More
11 Feb 2014
in food, health, science, Snacks
Tags: antioxidants, brain, men's health, minerals, nutrition, omega-3, vitamin E, walnuts
Can you spot the walnut hiding among all these other tasty tree nuts?
Develop the jaw,
But walnuts, stewed,
Are more quietly chewed.
—with a gentle nod to Ogden Nash
Crunchy or pureed, if we’re smart, walnuts will be found hiding on our plates in everything from soup to salads! I’m so impressed with walnuts’ healthy benefits, I hardly know where to begin. Have you heard of the quinone juglone, the tannin tellimagrandin, or the flavonol morin? I hadn’t, until recently.
But we don’t have to remember their names. We just have to remember where they hang out… in walnuts! More
04 Feb 2014
in food, health, recipes, science
Tags: best recipes, easy recipes, family, food science, kids' recipes, nutrition, reviews, super-foods
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
07 Nov 2013
in books, food, health
Tags: children, education, nutrition
Please pass the word to your friends :)
Howdie! If any of my faithful readers are in downtown Toronto on Saturday, November 9, why don’t you drop by for a visit?
Sharon and I are in town for a child-development conference sponsored by Sick Kids, Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, talking about our book Cook Up A Story. We’re at the Novotel Toronto Centre, 46 The Esplanade, second floor, from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm. Come by for a chat. It will be so nice to meet you! More
15 Oct 2013
in books, food, health
Tags: children, cook books, education, family, nutrition, reviews
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
24 Sep 2013
in Breads, Breakfast foods, food, health, recipes, stories
Tags: biscuits, diabetes, Greek yogurt, nutrition, scones, sugar spike, sweet potatoes, wheat, whole-grain flour
Fat, protein, and complex starches make good guards for refined flour and sugar.
In my last post I came down pretty hard on refined white flour. That’s the silky white wheat flour that bakers love to use in cakes and cookies. I was harsh with it because it’s such a soft touch! At the first sign of strong acids in our stomachs, it breaks down into the sugar our body uses for energy. And to make matters worse, More
06 Aug 2013
in Drinks, food, health, recipes, Salads, Snacks
Tags: antioxidants, cancer, drinks, liquor, magnesium, nutrition, vitamins, watermelon
Cool off with watermelon
Who would have thought the common watermelon is a berry? Botanists call its fruit a pepo, a special kind of berry with a thick rind and fleshy center.
Like other berries we love, the watermelon is packed with goodness. It has the most nutrition per calorie of any common food.
Red is the give-away. Bright colors signal a big pay-off More
25 Jun 2013
in Appetizers, Desserts, food, health, recipes, Side dishes, Snacks
Tags: antioxidants, bromelain, fruit, immunity, minerals, nutrition, pineapples, spices, vitamins
Pineapple wears a crown for a reason. It is royally healthy. In fact, it may be the healthiest fruit we can eat. More
11 Jun 2013
in Breakfast foods, food, health, recipes
Tags: children, eggs, family, farming, mushrooms, nutrition, omelets, vitamin D
Add light and grow your own vitamin D! Mushrooms are the only item in your produce section that can perform this feat.
Vinny presents a photo-story today, for your viewing pleasure. More
28 May 2013
in food, health, recipes, Salads, stories
Tags: asparagus, cancer, family, goat cheese, heart, mushrooms, nutrition
Blue oyster faeries weave a safety net for your heart
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
07 May 2013
in books, Holiday foods, recipes, Soups
Tags: carrots, family, gourmet, liquor, Mothers Day, nutrition, presentation, shitakes, spinach, stock
Thanks, Mom! And just in time for Mother’s Day :)
A few weeks ago Vinny was all excited about turning leftovers usually meant for the garbage into a nutritious soup stock (see Garbage soup). Once you get into the habit, it’s a magical way to feed yourself, body and soul.
Yesterday, though, I read a post from Things my Belly Likes where we’re told how to turn your Cinderella soup stock into a princess. A few of these tricks were new to me. As they all sound so reasonable, healthy, and delicious, I pass them on here. More
23 Apr 2013
in Appetizers, Breakfast foods, health, recipes, Salads, stories
Tags: avocados, cottage cheese, fats, Greek yogurt, nutrition, omega 3 fatty acids, pears, phytonutrients, walnuts
The Avocado and the Pear
Short and squat, Miss Comice Pear rolled into his office. “I want you to defend me,” she exclaimed, blushing a rosy red.
A desk plaque proclaimed the man she was addressing to be the Honorable V. H. Avocado, LL.M. “What is the charge?” the lawyer asked.
“They say I’m harboring a load of sugar. They accuse me of doing great harm. But it’s not true!” Comice was distraught.
“Calm down,” replied Mr. Avocado. He adjusted his dark green jacket over his rather-rounded middle. “Perhaps if you began from the beginning?” More
17 Apr 2013
in food, health, Main dishes, recipes, stories
Tags: Brussels sprouts, cabbage, chicken, family, German, nutrition, probiotics, sauerkraut, traditions, vegetables
Will and Isla carefully chop through mountains of cabbage.
I love to go a-wandering,
Along the mountain track,
And as I go, I love to sing,
My knapsack on my back.
“Sing along,” says Vinny, waving his arms furiously in time to the music.
“In the old days,” he went on, “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 More
09 Apr 2013
in food, health, recipes, Soups, stories
Tags: balanced meals, children, family, nutrition, protein, thrifty, traditions, vegetables
DIY with a different soup every time
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
02 Apr 2013
in food, health, Main dishes, recipes
Tags: balanced meals, barbecue, chronic diseases, fats, fish, humor, inflammation, nutrition, omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, protein, salmon
If you hate smelling up your kitchen, don’t let that stop you from enjoying the deliciousness of fresh or fresh-frozen fish. Just cook it on the barbecue, outside! It’s easy for every day and delicious enough for any special occasion.
Fish is full of those hard to come by but oh so important omega-3 fatty acids. They are important, first, because More
26 Mar 2013
in Breakfast foods, food, health, Holiday foods, recipes, stories
Tags: balanced meals, carbohydrates, Easter, eggs, family, humor, minerals, nutrition, presentation, protein, vegetables, vitamins
Humpty on the half shell
“What experiments are we doing, today, Vinny?’ asks Will, poking his head into my basket of vegs.
“SO many ways to cook eggs for breakfast,” says Vinny with glee. “Today, we’re going to try three of them.” More
17 Mar 2013
in Breads, Desserts, Drinks, Holiday foods, recipes, stories
Tags: bananas, cabbage, carbohydrates, children, fruit, nutrition, potatoes, tea, vegetables
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!
Originally posted on Cook Up a Story:
Hey, kids, it’s Saint Paddy’s day, so why not throw a mad-cap Irish party? Get out your top hats and Irish bowlers, invite Tiger and Firefox to join us, and set the table.
“But what should we serve?” ask Will and Isla.
View original 761 more words
12 Mar 2013
in food, health, recipes, Salads, Side dishes
Tags: antioxidants, bones, eyes, fiber, heart, minerals, nutrition, omega 3 fatty acids, squash, vitamins
- 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
26 Feb 2013
in health, Holiday foods, recipes, Side dishes
Tags: balanced meals, buckwheat, carbohydrates, Christmas, family, gluten free, kasha, mushrooms, nutrition, traditions
Never let it fade away… ♪♪♭♪
Put Vinny’s recipe for mushroom and kasha soup in your pocket, too, and try it out on a rainy day. It’s a great way to get some healthy carbohydrates into your meal plan, as well as a slew of other nutrients.
If you aren’t of Ukrainian or Russian descent, kasha might be new to you. This ancient food, otherwise known as toasted buckwheat groats, is not a grain. It’s a More
29 Jan 2013
in books, health, science
Tags: avoiding sugar, balanced meals, calories, diet, Dr. Mike, family, nutrition, reviews, weight control
A doctor’s plan for rapid results
Vinny moves over to let Sharon talk about her adventures with the 17-day diet
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.
I crack the book open. His first words to me are, “Just give me 17 days.” How is this plan any different from all the other pitches out there? More
22 Jan 2013
in food, health, recipes, Snacks
Tags: blood, carbohydrates, chick peas, collagen, family, fiber, gluten free, Korean, manganese, nutrition, protein
There’s nothing fishy about it!
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
15 Jan 2013
in Breads, food, health, recipes, science, Snacks, stories
Tags: carbohydrates, children, fiber, nutrition, stone-ground, wheat, whole grain, whole wheat
She may not be Tinkerbell… but she does have wings!
Processed white flour
Shiver me timbers, Matey! If flour lived in Never-Never Land, enriched white wheat flour would play the part of Captain Hook. Arrrr. It’s bad to the core. In fact, it’s bad precisely because it doesn’t have a core. After milling, only the endosperm remains. The bran, which gives us fiber, is discarded first in the grinding process. More
09 Jan 2013
in food, health, recipes, science, stories
Tags: baking, balanced meals, best recipes, chemistry, children, index 2012, mood, nutrition, reviews, traditions
A year in review, through Vinny’s favorite pictures. The pictures are a fun way to index some of the posts you liked best. Should old acquaintance be forgot… click through and remember! More
02 Jan 2013
in fitness, health, Holiday foods, recipes, science, stories
Tags: best recipes, children, education, family, feedback, index 2012, New Years, nutrition, reviews
Vinny goes back to school
Yak’s Sherpa pie
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
27 Nov 2012
in Desserts, fitness, food, health, recipes, stories
Tags: avoiding sugar, baking, beets, cake, children, chocolate, family, mood, nutrition, Stevia, teeth
“Woe is me!” sighs Marie.
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
19 Nov 2012
in Breads, fitness, health, Holiday foods, recipes, science
Tags: beet leaves, beetniks, Christmas, cream, dill, nitrates, nutrition, Ukrainian, vegetables
Get it together with Sonny and Cher, 1967. Groovy, man!
People who are into sports could take a winning tip from Sonny and Cher. In their top-100 hit of 1967, they say: The beet goes on. That’s code, dudes. Yeah. They’re saying, like: Eat your beets, man, and you’ll run harder, longer, faster!
Sounds crazy, I know. But it turns out to be true. The latest scientific news came out this spring… More
07 Nov 2012
in Desserts, food, health, recipes
Tags: avoiding sugar, baking, brownies, children, chocolate, eaTracker, fats, nutrition, nuts, Stevia
Halloween demands chocolate!
As it happens, a very chocolaty recipe jumped right onto my screen just after Halloween, from Chew Out Loud.
Health-conscious bloggers like Vinny, however, might think this recipe seemed a tad high on sugar (2 1/2 cups). So I experimented with stevia in place of sugar. More
30 Oct 2012
in books, food, health, science, stories
Tags: children, cooking classes, education, feedback, home ec, nutrition, reviews
This spring Cook Up A Story caught the imagination of a public school teacher in Burlington, Ontario. John Highley, who teaches at Mohawk Gardens Public School, said, “If we can get the word out to schools, this thing might take right off. I see teachers using Cook Up a Story as a resource in their classrooms for nutrition/health units from grades 1 to 6, as well as the grade 5 chemistry unit.” More
16 Oct 2012
in food, health, Main dishes, recipes, stories
Tags: casseroles, children, leeks, meat, nutrition, potatoes, protein, trivia, vegetables, yaks
Recipe for eternal youth – Sherpa’s pie
My last time out I told you the tale of how Yackity came to live on a farm in Canada. It was a fine life, and Yackity learned how to grow many kinds of foods and make lots of delicious and healthy meals. But there was one dish that her mother had made for her which was always a favorite.
We can imagine inhabitants of Shangri-La baking Yackity’s one-dish dinner for their pampered guests. Its healthful ingredients likely held the key to their long lives! More
11 Oct 2012
in food, health, science, stories
Tags: biology, children, farmers market, fats, local foods, meat, nutrition, protein, Tibet, traditions, yaks
Let me tell you the strange tale of how a Sherpa girl called Yackity ended up on a ranch far from home and got to the meat of the matter. More
03 Oct 2012
in Appetizers, food, health, recipes, science, Snacks, stories
Tags: chocolate, coconut oil, family, fats, fiber, immunity, kale, nutrition, stroke, vegetables
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
18 Sep 2012
in food, health, recipes, science, Side dishes
Tags: anemia, antioxidants, brain, children, corn, digestion, fiber, nutrition, okra, prostate, seeds, stroke, vegetables
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
11 Sep 2012
in food, health, recipes, science, Soups, stories
Tags: aging, antioxidants, carrots, color, fats, fruit, immunity, nutrition, nuts, seeds, squash, tomatoes, vegetables
Auntie Oxidant is hitch-hiking in your veggies. Give her a ride with this delicious creamed soup!
Auntie Oxidant is a kid’s best friend. Who wouldn’t want to have a powerful protector like her on their side? She’s a real fighter who guards our cells and disarms invaders that cause disease… good to have around. More
04 Sep 2012
in Desserts, food, health, recipes, science, Snacks
Tags: apples, avoiding sugar, baking, cake, carbohydrates, children, digestion, fiber, minerals, nutrition, Stevia, vitamins, weight control
An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
This little rhyme is one of the first things kids learn about healthy eating. One of baby’s first solid foods is apple sauce. And as kids grow, they often choose apples as a favorite snack. But are apples really so good for us? More
21 Aug 2012
in food, health, Main dishes, recipes, science
Tags: beans, blood pressure, broccoli, family, fish, grains, leafy vegetables, magnesium, nutrition, nuts, scallops, seeds, stroke
A plateful of Magnesium
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
13 Aug 2012
in food, health, Snacks
Tags: anticeptic, antioxidants, children, currents, family, fiber, fruit, grains, grapes, nutrition, nuts, raisins, seeds, snacks, sugar, sultanas
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
01 Aug 2012
in Appetizers, food, health, recipes
Tags: children, escargots, fats, French, garlic, goat cheese, gourmet, herbs, meat, milk, minerals, nutrition, protein, snails, traditions, vitamins
Bon Appétit !
Escargot, if you don’t already know this, kiddies, is French for snail. And that’s right, people eat them. In fact, many of best restaurants offer snails at high prices.
I personally knew one little girl who ordered escargots whenever she saw them on the menu, usually while we were driving in Quebec, Canada’s French province. She liked her snails with chocolate milk. More
09 Jul 2012
in Drinks, food, health
Tags: artificial sweeteners, avoiding sugar, brain, calories, cancer, children, desserts, diet soda, honey, maple syrup, nutrition, Stevia
Princess of sweet
Once upon a time, there lived a magical sweetener, named Stevia. Cousin of Chrysanthemum and sister of Sunflower, Stevia was incredibly sweet. The truth is Stevia was 300 times sweeter than her ugly stepmother, Sugar. Better yet, Stevia was sweet without any added calories. And best of all, Stevia was so much kinder than any of her catty artificial friends, who promise the same calorie-free hit but deliver nothing but trouble. More