Easy miso soup

Miso's Christmas toy

Miso’s Christmas toy

“Here, Miso,” called Vinny, holding out his hand to his fluffy caramel kitten, who gladly came over for a gentle rub behind the ears.

“Why did you call him Miso,” Isla asked as she threw a small toy mouse for the kitten to chase.

“I suppose it was because I like Asian food,” said Vinny, “and this little guy is the exact same color as miso, a food used in Asian cooking. More

Heart-smart sweet potato pancakes for your valentine

 Luv U... B mine?

Luv U… B mine?

Here’s a terrific treat for the family on a day that celebrates all things close to the heart. It’s terrific because this valentine doesn’t involve candy, but it tastes wonderful, anyway.

My mystery delight involves sweet potatoes. They release their sugar gently, taking their time, so you don’t suffer from sugar spikes associated with refined white sugar that is added to most sweets.

I published this 4 years ago with all the good news about sweet potatoes. But I’ve since updated the photos and made the recipe even easier (there as well as here).

sweet potato pancakes

Light and fluffy!

Heart-y sweet potato pancakes
Serves 2 or 3

  • 3/4 cup mashed sweet potatoes (1 medium potato boiled until fork tender, then peeled, mashed, and measured)
  • 1/4 cup flour (whole grain if possible)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs (omega-3 if possible)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons liquid oil (coconut, if possible)
  1. Boil your sweet potato until fork tender. Then peel, mash, and measure. Use 1/4 cup mashed potato per egg, for each person. My recipe serves 3 people from 1 potato.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk and canola oil. Of course you can use any kind of eggs, milk or oil…. but on a day we are celebrating love, I think we should be as kind to our hearts as we can be with these healthy ingredients.
  4. Whisk the sweet potato puree into the liquid ingredients. Then stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until they are just blended.

Cooking and Presentation

  1. To follow through with hearts on Valentine’s Day, spray a large nonstick or cast-iron frying pan with oil and add a dab of butter for flavor. Heat the pan on medium heat until oil sizzles a bit.
  2. Fill the pan with 1/4-cup scoops of batter. I had room for 3 or 4 at a time. When bubbles rise to the surface of the pancakes, lift a corner and check the underside. When golden brown, flip the cake over, using a spatula. After a minute or three, once the second side is golden as well, flip the cake onto a wooden cutting board.
  3.  Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, turn each pancake into a love-note for your sweetie. I presented these golden treats with a splash of maple syrup and some berries on the side.

 

Sweet potato

Hey, sweet patootie, I yam keen on you! B mine?

 “You are berry cute,” I said. “I think we’re cut out for each other!”

Ten Best Foods for a long life

Eat more leaves and berries

Eat more leaves and berries… and onions. And tomatoes!

Eating for a long life

Put these 10 foods on your grocery list every week and you’ll up your chances of living a longer, healthier, happier life! So says Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D. 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

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

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

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

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

DSCN2518_edited

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

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

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

Saint Paddy Revisited

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

Cook Up a Story

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

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

View original post 741 more words

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

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

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!

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

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

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

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

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

Quinoa Goes to a Party

Quinoa is the star of this dish, packed with the power of a whole crowd of superfoods… rock on!

We’re going to a party, and I offered to bring along something for the table. The request: a quinoa salad. “Quin-wha?” I asked. 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

Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater

Butternut squash salad… ready, set, GO!

Hey, kids, have you ever dreamed about flying on a carpet to far-away lands, where you find yourself gorging on colorful fruits and veggies you’ve never tasted before? Well… you can do more than dream. More

Heart-healthy sweet potato pancakes for your Valentine

 Luv U... B mine?

Luv U… B mine?

Here’s a terrific treat for the family on a day that celebrates all things close to the heart! It’s terrific because this valentine doesn’t involve candy, but it tastes wonderful, anyway.

My mystery delight involves sweet potatoes. They release their sugar gently, taking their time, so you don’t suffer from sugar spikes associated with refined white sugar that is added to most sweets.

Sweet potatoes make healthy eating

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

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

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

More

The latke who couldn’t stop screaming – a Christmas story

Let’s make a latke!

I dare you to read The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming without immediately jumping up to make a Latke. More

Canadians at War – What’s for Dinner?

Food rationing in Canada, WWII

This week Vinny hopes you’ll stop to remember the bravery of our troops in past wars. But it’s not just guns and bombs they had to face up to.

During wartime, hunger was also a torment. As much food as possible was dished out to the troops, to help keep them strong in battle. But often, it wasn’t enough. More

Kookie Cukes

http://artfulparent.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/tomato-man-and-cucumber-caterpillar.jpg

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

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

Foods with lots of ewww factor

Yes… but what the heck IS it?

Have you ever imagined sitting in a far-away land and tasting some really weird stuff? Celebrity Chef Anthony Bourdain does more than imagine… he’s eats whatever is put in front of his nose. More

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