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 buckwheat and mushroom soup

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

Vinny’s soup recipe today features an ancient food called  buckwheat groats. If you aren’t of Ukrainian or Russian descent, buckwheat might be new to you. This slow-carb staple, though, is not a grain. It’s a flower bud. How lovely is that! Eastern Europeans traditionally boil buckwheat with water or milk to make a porridge they call kasha. But buckwheat is good any way you cook it. 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

Pita Pan Bread from Whole-Grain Wheat

She may not be Tinkerbell... but she does have wings!

Our little friend here may not be Tinkerbell… but she does have wings!

Processed white flour

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 because it has no core.

After milling, only the endosperm remains. More

Fave fotos à la 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Skinny Brownies with Three Kinds of Chocolate

Happy occasions demand chocolate!

A very chocolaty recipe jumped right onto my screen just after Halloween, from Chew Out Loud.

Vinny, however, found this recipe a tad high on sugar (2 1/2 cups). So we experimented with stevia in place of sugar. More

Mini Chefs Dish up Maxi Nutrition

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

Bananas make great skinny monkey cookies

Not only monkeys eat bananas… kids like them too

Sesame Street’s guest star Harry Belafonte sings beautifully about bananas: Come, Mr. Tally Man, Tally Me Bananas, he goes.

“Um, Excuse me… Sorry. Mr. Tally Man?asks Fozzie Bear.Uh, what’s that? What’s a tally man?”

The singer tells his muppet pals the tally man is a very important person. Without him, people in northern countries would have no bananas.

“Daaaaay yo! No bananas?” Vinny asks. “What would kids ever do without bananas?” More

Life-Ever-Lasting Sherpa’s Pie with Yak or Pork

Recipe for eternal youth – Sherpa’s pie

In my last post I told you the tale of how a girl named Yackity came to live on a yak farm in Canada. Although she was far from her home in Tibet, it was a fine life. Yackity learned how to grow many kinds of food and make delicious and healthy meals. But there was one dish that her mother had made for her, which was always her favorite… Sherpa’s pie.

We can imagine the life-ever-lasting Tibetans of the mythical Shangri-La baking Yackity’s one-dish dinner for their pampered guests. Its healthful ingredients likely held the key to their long lives. More

Yackity’s 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

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

Little Annie Okra

Fiber Bonanza!

Okra hits the target every time when it comes to keeping us regular. Also known as “lady finger,”  okra’s nutritious green pod is rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber. This duo helps digest your dinner and moves food particles smoothly on their way through the gut. More

Antioxidants, nature’s anti-rust agents

A scoop o’ colorful puréed veggie soup helps the antioxidants go down.

Antioxidants unmasked

Among scientists she goes by the name of  antioxidant. But Vinny’s friends know her as Auntie Oxidant. By either name, she is a kid’s best friend. She is a powerful protector from degenerative disease. This fighter disarms invaders called free radicals, bent on destroying our cells. More

Apples and a Misty-Moisty Cake

Dan and Christine's wedding - apples

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

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

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

Escargots and chocolate milk

Bon Appétit !

Escargot, if you don’t already know this, boys and girls, is French for snail. Many of the best restaurants offer escargots on their menus. They’re delicious!

I know one little girl who ordered escargots whenever she had a chance, which was most often when we were traveling in Quebec or France. She liked her snails with lots of garlic butter, washed down with chocolate milk. Servers shook their heads in wonder when she placed her order. More

Avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners by switching to stevia

In a land neither near nor far, there lives  a magical sweetener, named Stevia. It comes from a plant that is a cousin of Chrysanthemum and sister of Sunflower. But it is incredibly sweet. The truth is Stevia is 300 times sweeter than her ugly stepmother, Sugar. Better yet, Stevia is sweet without any added calories. And best of all, Stevia is so much kinder than any of her catty artificial friends, who promise the same calorie-free hit but deliver nothing but trouble. I’m referring of course to the chemical sweeteners Splenda, Aspartame, Saccharine, Sucralose, and Acesulfame.

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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

Bertie Bott Pops some Corn

Every-flavored popcorn

Rain pounds against our skylight. We can hardly hear the movie above the noise, as Harry Potter and his friend Ron swap their Bertie Bott Every Flavor Beans. Toast, sardine, grass, and dirty-socks are all up for grabs. More

Win a free copy of “Cook Up A Story!”

Win your own copy!

Yes, it’s true! All you have to do is publish a review for Vinny’s book Cook Up A Story, somewhere on the web. Include a link to Vinny’s book details.

Then on Vinny’s Feedback page,  let me know where you’ve posted your review. More

Mares eat oats and Does eat oats

Banana oat cones are healthier than ice-cream. They are also ridiculously tasty!

Why do Mares and Does eat oats?” asks Will. “Oats look like dry little bits of paper. Ugh. Does Bambi’s mom know something we don’t?” More

The three faces of Brocky Lee

Brocky Lee’s Slaw fortifies a lunch-time soup

Brocky Lee is a fine fellow. He’s a member of a well-recognized vegetable family, the Cabbages. Many of Brocky’s famous cousins include such luminaries as Sir  Cauliflower, Mr. Kale, the brothers Radish and Turnip, and the little Missies Brussels Sprouts and Arugula. More

Nutella: Easy home-made spread made from hazelnuts

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Our elf Hazel is deeply wise.
Love her and she’ll quench your thirst for knowledge.
Then, she’ll bless you with a silver tongue,
for teaching others what you’ve learned.

So it is said. But is there any truth behind the power of Elf Hazel? What we know for sure: Hazel harnesses the strength of her namesake, the hazelnut. Like some other nuts and seeds, hazelnuts  feed the brain. Hazelnuts  are one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin E available, and vitamin E is associated with less age-related cognitive decline. 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

Slaying the fearsome dragon fruit

Great bowls of fire!

There’s a strange new animal stalking the aisles of the produce section of our grocery store these days. It’s beautiful and a little dangerous looking… with long, scales tipped in green overlying a glossy, red, leathery skin. It’s almost as if it’s breathing flames at you… or getting ready to stab you with poison darts!

Oh No! It’s Dragon Fruit… Hide!

Of course it’s not an animal at all.  It’s a delicious but sinisterly attractive food called the Dragon Fruit. I say ‘sinister’ because you do have to be a little careful. 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

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 me up 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 why so much gas? That makes you just so unpleasant! 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

Want to earn a “Well Done” for your food savvy?

Vinny loves creamy smarty-pants avocados

Vinny just passed a nutrition quiz with flying colors. Want to try it yourself? 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

Diet Soda: Cause for Concern?

http://mocoloco.com/art/archives/002884.php

Danger!

Too much sugar’s bad for us, but sugar-free soda could be even worse. It’s not proof positive, but new research raises concern about diet soda.  Studies find higher risks for stroke and heart attack among people who drink sugar-free soda every day versus those who drink no soda at all.

The findings should be “a wakeup call to pay attention to diet sodas,” More

Kookie Cukes

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Cute cuke – good for more than eating

Do you need to get your crayon art off the bedroom wall before Dad gets home? Have you scratched a splotchy mistake with a pen on your brother’s birthday card? Never fear. Cukes can save the day. That’s right… cucumbers are just full of surprises! More

Sugar – get the picture?

http://www.sapromo.com/sa/image/2116

OK, kids. If you want a good picture of just how much sugar you are eating when you chow down on your favorite foods, have a look at this link. And while you’re looking remember this: We should have no more than 5 or six teaspoons of sugar (five or six cubes) at each meal. Are you getting too much of a good thing? Thanks to Barb Cooper for forwarding this information to me 🙂

Pint-sized portions

baby talks to the hand

Talk to the hand

Once you’ve made the right choice about what to eat, use your hands to figure out how much. Remember? Serving size counts. And you’ve got a measuring cup right there in the palm of your hand… and a spoon on your fingers. More

Deviled eggs the easy way

Devilish eggEggs make the perfect snack. They have lots of protein and vitamins, with no added sugar. They are low in calories when compared with cookies and junk food, and the cholesterol in the yolks has recently been shown not to contribute to high cholesterol in the blood. Deviled eggs have always been a favorite and are even considered a great party food. So let’s get started! More

The number 1 secret for feeding a healthy family…Bacon!

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Lego bacon!

Here’s a great read that gives you the goods on any food question your family may have. Secrets of feeding a healthy family puts you right on track for smart eating.

Take bacon, for instance.  Yummy! But you feel a twinge of guilt. Isn’t it too fatty for a healthy heart? Aren’t there  chemicals in it that may be a cancer threat?

Author Ellyn Satter says relax… we can enjoy it! More

Awesome cookbook for beginning chefs of all ages

Tasty protein!

Check out DK Children’s Cookbook , Canadian Edition. This thoughtfully planned, brilliantly photographed, and clearly written guide to healthy eating makes a good investment for any household. Click on Read more for a full review.

It’s not always as easy as pie…

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Sugar bombs!

Just when you think you know what things are good for you to eat, someone throws you a hot potato. More

Make a date with cranberries and digest some good feelings

 

dates and cranberries make a good pair

Dates and cranberries make a good pair. Orange horsey likes oats, too!

Dates and cranberries are best friends. These squares make a super healthy breakfast or snack choice, with fuel that lasts and nutrients that are sure to brighten your family’s mood. More

Mood foods… What’s yours?

Roast turkey cheers us up for the holidays!

Which foods do you turn to when you need cheering up? Donuts, maybe? Better think again. More

First they say to do and then, “no, don’t!”

Eat fish for healthy omega-3 fats. Here’s one that didn’t get away… A Dorade Royale from the Mediterranean.

The papers are talking today about a new study on omega-6 fats. Seems scientists had been telling people with heart problems to eat lots of omega-6 fats. But this new study suggests maybe they were wrong. More

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