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While baby sleeps…Rockin’ Moroccan Stew

Rockin Moroccan Stew
While my new baby girl (six weeks old) sleepily swings away, I thought I’d take the opportunity (a rare moment when my arms are not baby-filled) to post this hearty vegetarian dish by the Looneyspoons ladies, Greta and Janet Podleski. My friend Vani turned me on to this delicious (and pretty healthy) stew and this recipe is staying in the ‘keep’ pile for sure.
Baby girl

Ingredients:

2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup each diced celery and chopped green bell pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp grated ginger root
1 tsp each ground cumin, curry powder, ground coriander and chili powder
3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
3 cups peeled, cubed sweet potatoes
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup raisins
2 Tbsp each light peanut butter (I add an extra Tbsp or two of the peanut butter) and minced fresh cilantro

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, green pepper and garlic. Cook and stir until the vegetables begin to soften, about three minutes. Add ginger root, cumin, curry powder, coriander and chili powder. Cook for 30 more seconds.

Add all the remaining ingredients, except the raisins, peanut butter and cilantro. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Stir in raisins, peanut butter and cilantro. Mix well. Simmer for five more minutes. Serve hot.

Makes 6 servings.

Enjoy!

Hearty and Healthy Spinach and Black Bean Enchiladas


As much as I detest posting bad food photos, I’ve just gotta do it. After describing to my mom the deliciousness of these enchiladas, she made me promise to post the recipe—bad photos and all. I have a personal hang-up with using flash, but alas…Of course, like every year, I completely overdid it with the holiday grub and like every January, I swear off all sweets and fatty food. This recipe is great for a chilly day (or any day really), when you want something hearty and healthy.

5-6 large whole wheat tortillas
4 cooked chicken breasts
1 can cream corn
1 can rinsed and drained black beans
4 green onions chopped
4 cups washed baby spinach
2 tbps salsa
1 cup of shredded cheese
4 garlic cloves crushed
2 tbsp cumin
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper

Bake chicken breasts until cooked through (375 for approximately 25 minutes). Once cool, shred or chop into small half-inch long pieces. In a mixing bowl, combine chicken, corn, beans, green onions, spinach, salsa and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese (or any you prefer). Add in garlic, cumin, chilli powder, oregano, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper. In a 9 x 13” baking dish, spread 2 cups of salsa. Now, time to fill the tortillas. Divide mixture among 5-6 tortillas. Fill and roll. How simple?! Place filled tortillas in the baking dish side by side. Top with 1/2 cup of cheese and bake covered at 350 for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 10-15 minutes until cheese is golden brown. Best served with salsa, avocado, and sour cream. Enjoy~

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today is your lucky day. I’ve stumbled upon the BEST cookie recipe ever and I’m going to share. That’s right, these chocolate chip cookies (from Anna Olson of Food Network fame) are perfect. I guess that says it all. I’m sleepy and not feeling especially wordy, so I won’t bother trying to describe why they’re so delicious — just trust me on this one.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package of milk chocolate chips (approximately 2 cups)

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and blend in. Stir in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoons onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy!

Cauliflower Lentil Soup

As of today, I’ve officially been back to work for a whole month! This new reality is quite a change for me. Just as I was mastering the art of being a full-time mom, I’m now learning to balance work with home life. It’s not easy. Everything seems to happen at an accelerated pace. And I feel like I’m constantly rushing – to catch the train, prepare breakfast, have my morning coffee, dress my son, dress myself and so on and so on. I’ve come to one conclusion whole heartedly – family time is so precious and being away from my little guy during the day makes me want to hold him so much tighten when I get home.
Lately, I’ve been struggling to get my son to eat his veggies and soup has been the solution to my dilemma. He loves soup! I made this hearty, spicy soup last week and it was delicious! It has the whole family’s stamp of approval.

Ingredients:
1 large cauliflower
1800 ml of chicken broth
1 540 ml can of lentils drained and rinsed
1 large carrot peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks chopped
1 clove of garlic
1 bay leaf
2 dashes of worcestershire sauce
2 tsp maple syrup
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon

In a large stove top pot saute cauliflower florets in olive oil for a few minutes. Add in broth and remaining ingredients. Over medium heat simmer until all the veggies are tender and fully cooked. With a hand-held blender, puree until smooth. Delicious right away, but even better the following day. Enjoy!

Chocolate Miracle Whip Cake with Fudge Icing

This past Sunday I had two very good reasons to make this rich yummy chocolate cake. One, it was my hubby’s birthday, and two, it was also his first father’s day. And, the poor guy also had to spend the whole weekend studying for finals – I think he deserved a good cake! You can, of course, use regular old icing instead of the chocolate fudge icing recipe below, but the fudge icing is sooooooo delicious. Really. Beating it till the perfect consistency is always tricky, but it doesn’t really matter if it ends up a little too hard or a little too runny…it’s just that good. 

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 heaping tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup miracle whip
1 cup cold water
1 tsp vanilla

Sift together dry ingredients. Add miracle whip and mix well. Add cold water and vanilla and beat until fluffy and smooth. Pour into two 9” round cake pans and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Chocolate Fudge Icing (I always double it!):
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

In a stove top pot, combine all and over medium heat, bring to a boil. Boil for 2 -3 minutes. Let cool completely (30 minutes to an hour). Once cool, beat until the consistency becomes fudge like, but not too hard. Mix in vanilla and spread over cake. Enjoy!

Blueberry Streusel Cake

Has it really been more than a month since my last post? That feels like years in the blogosphere. Doesn’t it?  Like I’ve fallen into some great big dark abyss – a place where blogs go to die. Ok, that’s a touch dramatic. In all seriousness, it has just been so hectic this spring, that baking is always the last item on my priority list. Also, my little guy is now crawling, which basically means he gets into everything. All the time. And I spend most of my day in hot pursuit, repeating ‘No! Not the wires! No! Stop pulling on Buster’s ears!’… and so on and so on. This new mobility is exhausting.

Yesterday morning, with my little guy off swimming with dad, I made this delightful blueberry streusel cake and it is ever so yummy….in fact it’s calling me back for another piece. The recipe is from Donalyn Ketchum. Her recipe called for rhubarb, which I think would have been delicious, but all I had lingering in my fridge begging to be used were a few cups of blueberries. Next time I’ll try with rhubarb.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
*1 cup sour milk or buttermilk
3 cups of fresh blueberries (or rhubarb)

* If you don’t have buttermilk on hand (and who does), you can use sour milk instead. Simply combine 1 cup of  milk and 1 tsp of white vinegar. Let sit for 15-20 minutes and voila, it’s ready to use.

Streusel topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup all purpose flour
5 tablespoon softened butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a small mixing bowl, combine ingredients for the streusel topping and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In another mixing bowl, sift flour, salt, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to the sugar mixture in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk (add 1/2 cup buttermilk in between dry ingredients). Fold in blueberries (or your choice of seasonal fruit). Pour blueberry/batter mixture into a greased 9 x 13” baking dish. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over top.

Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until puffy and very golden brown and a toothpick inserted  in the centre comes out clean. Let cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!

Blackberry Almond Muffins

Success! Muffin success, that is. I often try my hand at creating recipes from scratch or adapting my favorite ones, and truthfully, more often than not, they fail miserably, and then I’m left with mediocre goodies to eat – not good enough to post, but not bad enough to thrown away. Soon after these muffins came out the oven (like 2 minutes later) my husband gobbled down three in a row, while I tried (emphasis on tried) to summon all my inner strength and wait for them to cool. Finding the restraint necesary not to eat muffins (or any baked goodie) straight out of the oven is such a challenge. Time and time again I burn my tongue and honestly, I can barely taste a thing when they’re pipping hot. Failed attempts at restraint aside, hot or cool, these muffins are delicious…I’m so happy with the result and hope you’ll give them a try…hey, it’s almost the weekend – time for a little baking?

Ingredients:
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup 2 % plain unsweetened yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups fresh blackberries

In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, oil, yogurt, milk and almond extract. In a large mixing bowl, sift together, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the dry ingredients and slowly pour in the egg mixture. Stir until just combined. Fold in blackberries and spoon into prepared muffin tins. Makes 12 to 16 muffins. Bake at 375 for 20-22 minutes. Enjoy!

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