Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Fun Facts About Rhubarb

It’s rhubarb season and time to overdose on this tasty but tart vegetable.  Yes, you heard that right, I said vegetable.  It’s often called a fruit, but it’s actually a vegetable.  When you buy rhubarb, and I hope you do, plan to use it within 3-5 days because it doesn’t last long in your refrigerator.  


Here are 4 more fun facts about rhubarb:


•    Rhubarb is grown in the field and in the hot house

•    If you have large rhubarb stalks, you can peel them so they aren’t so fibrous

•    The stems and leaves of rhubarb are poisonous

•    Rhubarb is tart and is good in savoury and sweet dishes


Ready To Try Some Rhubarb Recipes?  Here Are Some To Try:



Rhubarb, Strawberry, Blueberry Cobbler


Rhubarb, Strawberry, Blueberry Cobbler
Rhubarb, Strawberry, Blueberry Cobbler





Rhubarb Sugar Cake
Rhubarb Sugar Cake





























Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Rhubarb-Strawberry-Blueberry Cobbler

A must make dessert!  Your family will love you when you serve this.

rhubarb, strawberries and blueberries
rhubarb, blueberries and strawberries


Serves 4

Filling:
3 cups rhubarb, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries, sliced
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

Toppings:
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
¼ cup butter
½ cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Filling:  preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place fruit in a 9” casserole dish.  Mix in sugar, flour, and lemon juice


Rhubarb, Strawberry and Blueberry Cobbler
Rhubarb Strawberry and Blueberry Cobber

Topping:  In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add butter and rub mixture with your fingers until it resembles small peas.  Add orange juice and vanilla and with fork, stir until all is combined.  Drop blobs of dough on top of fruit and bake 45 minutes until top is golden.


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Monday, June 18, 2018

Rhubarb Strawberry Compote


Rhubarb is very versatile.  This Rhubarb, Strawberry Compote would be great on pancakes, ice cream, yogurt, porridge and so much more.  It's worth a try.

Rhubarb
Bundles of rhubarb
Makes 4 servings

2 cups rhubarb sliced, about 4 stalks
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups fresh, sliced strawberries

Combine rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice in a medium size saucepan over medium-high heat.  Stir until sugar is dissolved then lower temperature to simmer. Cover and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add strawberries and simmer 5 more minutes.  

Tired of thinking about what to cook for dinner every night?  Try meal planning, it will save you time, money and stress.  We offer a FREE Course.  Sign up for the  How To Meal Plan For The Everyday Home Cook course here.



Friday, May 25, 2018

10 Ways To Reduce Food Waste And Save Money On Your Monthly Food Bill

Colourful fresh vegetables
Only buy the veggies you need to reduce food waste
There’s so much guilt around food these days. We’re bombarded every day with guilt about our eating as I previously wrote in another blog post. I suggest it’s time to by-pass the guilt and just enjoy food.  Appreciate all the tastiness, pleasure and health benefits it gives us, guilt-free…even if it’s a chocolate bar.

Unfortunately we're now being heaped on with another guilt called food waste.  Did you know that 40 per cent of all food produced is wasted?  Yep, it’s bad, but the sad part is that we as consumers, are to blame for most of it.  

You know how it goes. You buy veggies expecting to eat them, but they sit wilting in your fridge day after day until you finally throw them out.  Or, you have leftovers that you plan to eat, but end up tossing them because your dinner plans changed and the leftovers got forgotten.  Or, you decide to try a new recipe with an ingredient you rarely use, such as buttermilk, and you’re left with a half carton, which eventually gets chucked.   

We’re going to waste food, it’s inevitable.  But what’s troubling about it all is that producing food in the first place is hard on our environment. The entire food chain from farm to table creates loads of greenhouse gases, which contributes to climate change. So when we waste 40 percent of it, the environment gets compromised with no benefit to anyone. 

It’s not only a tragedy for the environment but also a huge loss to our pocket books. Imagine all the money you lose by throwing out food.  According to Save The Food Website a family of four will waste approximately $125.00 per month.  That is $1,500 per year.  Ouch! I don’t do math well, but this I understand is too much money.

By cutting back on food waste, we save money on our monthly grocery bill, and we also save the environment.  It’s a win-win.  Right?


So, here are 10 ways to save money on your monthly food bill by cutting back on food waste. 



10.  Respect food 

Baby Lamb
visit a farm near by
Food appears to have lost its value, probably because it’s so plentiful these days and cheap (think processed foods and takeout).  We don’t grow it ourselves so it’s hard to really understand where are our food comes from and how difficult it is to grow.  If there’s a farm nearby, I suggest you sign up for a tour and experience something of the hard life of a farmer or watch this video on the life of Saskatchewan farmer Keith.


9.  Only buy what you need

I’m guilty of over-buying.  I often go grocery shopping and buy things on sale.  Or, I purchase new products  I think I might like.  Of course, I don’t have a plan for them and so, I forget about them. Eventually, they end up in the garbage or compost (guilty).  This wouldn’t happen if I shopped only from a shopping list and just bought the food I needed.


8.  Love your leftovers! 

Colourful peppers
Freeze extra veggies before they go bad
Eat them for lunch. Heck you can even eat leftovers for breakfast.  Freeze leftovers that you can’t eat right away.  Write the date on the outside of the package and remember to eat the older food first.  There’s probably a meal in your freezer right now that you could serve for dinner tonight.


7.  Show off your leftovers

Keep leftovers front and centre, and don’t let them sneak to the back of the refrigerator where they can hide for days (or months!).  


6.  Freeze bread 

Freeze your loaf of bread before it goes stale.  Bread is a huge contributor to food waste.  Think how often you throw it out because it's mouldy or stale.  Grind stale pieces into crumbs and freeze them to use later on this crusty pepper salmon recipe.   


5.  Check the shelf life 

Understand best before dates so you don’t waste food unnecessarily. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know. 


4.  Freeze veggies 

If you have vegetables that are just about to go bad throw them in the freezer and use them in soups, stews, vegetable stock or fruit smoothies.


3.  Eat from your fridge 

Once a week create a meal with food already in your pantry, vegetable crisper or refrigerator. Don’t buy anything more. Be creative, this quiche recipe is a great way to use up veggies.  
A Vizsla
Try feeding your dog left-overs to reduce food waste


2. Dogs love leftovers

Consider feeding leftovers that are past their prime to your dog.  We’ve been doing this for ten years, and our dog loves it and is thriving.


1.  Menu plan

Meal planning is the best way to keep you on track to using the food you buy.  If you need motivation to meal plan sign up for our free course here.

Think of all the money you’ll save by diligently buying and using only the food you need.  You’ll have so much money, you’ll be able to buy more food!


Monday, May 21, 2018

Cabbage

It's time to cozy-up with Cabbage. Cabbage is a versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked.  Cabbage Rolls are typically cabbage leaves stuffed with beef or pork, rice and raisin.  Here's a simpler version that's easy to make ahead of time. It's a family favourite. 


Cabbage Roll Casserole

Serve with boiled new potatoes and a green salad

2 teaspoons canola oil
2 small onions, chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1 pound ground beef
1 – 28 fl oz can chopped tomatoes with juices
1 - 5.5 fl oz can tomato paste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1 cup cooked rice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups shredded cabbage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large pot, heat 2 teaspoons of oil over medium high heat.  Sauté onions and garlic until soft, about 3-4 minutes.  Turn up heat to high; add ground beef and sauté until no longer pink about 3-4 minutes.  Add tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, cooked rice and brown sugar.  Simmer on stove for 5-10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  In a 9 x 13 x 2 inch dish spread half the cabbage.  Spread half the meat mixture on top.  Then add remaining cabbage and top with remaining meat.  Cover with tin foil and bake in oven for 50 minutes.  Can be made a day ahead.  Serves 6.

Tired of thinking about what to cook for dinner every night?  Try meal planning, it will save you time, money and stress.  We offer a FREE Course.  Sign up for the  How To Meal Plan For The Everyday Home Cook course here.



Cabbage Roll Casserole
Cabbage Roll Casserole

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Real Food Is Cool

When did eating become so complicated?  Ten years ago the big food choice was should I eat meat or not, organic or non organic, 2% or skim milk.  Today, you practically need a handbook to weave your way through all the options when deciding what to eat. 

There are endless studies that seem to disprove each other on what is good for us to eat based on the “science.”  Eating today is like learning a new operating system every week!  Not only should we be concerned about fat, sugar and nutrients, the experts and the shame blamers tell us we should eat food that is environmentally sustainable, humane, socially just and beneficial to local farmers.  It’s exhausting.


It’s hard for us everyday cooks to understanding the verbiage.  So it’s no wonder we head to JAPADOG, a successful Vancouver Hot Dog stand, and call that dinner.  To heck with sulfites and sodium, it tastes good and it’s simple.  A hot dog is a hot dog.


So what is the solution? How does the everyday cook navigate themselves through the food hyperbole?  By purchasing ear plugs.  By tuning out the food noise and sticking to what we know is true.  That real food is cool.  We know an apple is better for us than a donut, and that it’s not great for our waistlines to regularly eat at fast food restaurants. We also know that water is better for us than a soft drink and that a salad is better for us than French Fries. We know all this, yet somehow we forget and get confused with all the sound bites. 

If we shut out the endless food chatter then eating becomes simple again.  Eat what we know is true.  No handbook required.  Real food is cool.


In celebration of real food try this recipes with local Strawberries that have just arrived try making cobbler dessert with a cornmeal topping! It’s a recipe to help you enjoy the red bursts of springtime, first published in the Recipes to the Rescue, Spring Edition, 1997!  Enjoy.  



Tired of thinking about what to cook for dinner every night?  Try meal planning, it will save you time, money and stress.  We offer a FREE Course.  Sign up for the  How To Meal Plan For The Everyday Home Cook course here.


Bundles Of Rhubarb
Fresh Rhubarb at Farmers Market










Monday, May 7, 2018

Butter Lettuce with Pineapple Ginger Dressing

Butter Lettuce
Butter Lettuce Salad

Butter Lettuce Salad with Pineapple Ginger Dressing

A perfect salad to serve that the family will love
Serves 6

6 cups torn butter lettuce, lightly packed
1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
3 radishes, thinly sliced
¼ cup thinly sliced scallions

 

Dressing:

5 tablespoons pineapple juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons sesame seed oil
2 teaspoons lime juice
½ teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup small diced fresh or canned pineapple
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste.
 

In a small bowl, whisk the pineapple juice, soy sauce, canola oil, sesame oil, lime juice, honey, ginger, garlic and pepper flakes to blend. Stir in the pineapple and cilantro.

In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, cucumber and radishes with about half the dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Taste, add more dressing if needed.


Tired of that daily question..."what am I going to cook for dinner tonight? 


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Free Course: How To Menu Plan For The Everyday Cook

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Chicken Enchiladas

It's almost Friday, so I'd like to wish everyone a happy Friday....

This is a dish that is super easy to make.  For the cooked chicken, you could buy some chicken tenders and stir-fry them up, or you could purchase a cooked whole chicken from the grocery store.



Chicken Enchiladas

Serves 4

2 cups ricotta cheese

1 1/2 cups salsa
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, finely chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chili powder
1.5  cup cooked, cubed chicken
1 cup Moneterey Jack cheese, grated
Eight - 6 inch (15 cm) flour tortillas
Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Wrap tortillas in foil and place in oven until soft but not firm, about 5 minutes.  In a bowl combine the ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup salsa, red bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, tomato, cumin, chili powder and chicken. Mix well.  Spread 2 heaping tablespoons of mixture onto each tortilla and roll up.  Place in slightly oiled 9 x 13 inch (33x23cm) pan, seams down.  Spread remaining salsa on top of tortilla, and sprinkle cheese over salsa.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until heated through.  Serve, passing sour cream.


Note:  If you like refried beans then spread a thin layer on each tortillas before adding the filling.




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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Bored With Cooking? Here Are Some Ideas To Energize You In Your Kitchen

Let’s face it; the routine of cooking everyday is repetitive, boring and monotonous.  Thinking about ‘what to cook for dinner’ can be the biggest stressor of your day.   It’s why meal prep companies are expanding as fast as the Internet.  Even Walmart is getting into the meal prep business!

There’s also pressure to make your meals look as perfect and sophisticated as the curated Instagram foodie feeds.  I’m sure some home cooks feel they should be able to walk into their kitchen and ‘whip’ up a meal like the media celebrity chefs. But, let’s be honest, the chore of daily cooking for the family isn’t that glamorous.

So how can we add some glam into daily cooking?  I have some ideas to share.  


Buy a new cooking utensil


Veggie Slicer





















Buying a new accessory for your home revitalizes your living space, like a new pillow for a tired-looking couch.  Why not buy a new cooking gadget and do the same for your kitchen?  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  I have a drawerful of tools I’ve bought, and to be honest, hardly every use.  Some may call this impulse buying, but I like to call it a cure for the kitchen doldrums.  

If I see a kitchen tool in a store that looks somewhat useful, I’ll often buy it.  Such as this vegetable slicer (see picture). I’d heard Jamie Oliver talk about slicing veggies extremely thin to make a salad look attractive.  It sounded like a good idea…he makes everything sound brilliant, and I thought this tool would do the trick. Plus it was on sale! I used it a couple of times and then decided it wasn’t so useful.  But, it did bring excitement into my kitchen for a month or so.  Just the thought of a cool new tool was enough to spur me on.  

Another gaget I bought that did turn out to be super useful, and under $5.00 no less, is a citrus squeezer.  I use it all the time. It’s easy, even if you use it wrong!  Yup, after watching a YouTube video I realized I’d been squeezing lemons with this tool the wrong way, which is why I’d been getting seeds in my lemon juice. Ugh! I’ve made a little video for you here on how to use the squeezer properly. 


So for as little as five bucks you too can add some zing into your daily cooking routine.  Give it a try!


Try a new spice


Cloves
Cloves

Another way to spice up daily cooking is to use a new herb or spice.  How about cloves?  When was the last time you used cloves?  Ever?  If you’re not familiar with this little nail-shaped spice it’s good to know they have a sweet but pungent flavour and are best used in moderation.  Cloves come from a large evergreen clove tree from the Myrtaceae family with origins in the eastern Indonesian area.  Their flavour melds well with both savoury and sweet dishes.  You may be familiar with a ham served with pineapple rings, spiked with cloves?  Or  the familiar taste of cloves in gingerbread cookies?   

The shaft and buds are picked just before they turn pink and open, and are then dried for several days.  The essential oil of cloves has medicinal properties and is often used in dental care.  It’s known to have analgesic properties and can be found in some toothpaste and mouthwashes.  Indonesians also find cloves in the Kretek cigarette,  their cigarette of choice.  When buying cloves look for ones that are a reddish/brown colour, not dried and shrivelled.

Try cloves in these pumpkin muffins that everyone will enjoy.

Pumpkin Muffins
Pumpkin Muffins












Try a new vegetable

Another way to spice up daily cooking is to try a new vegetable.  There’s not much local produce available these days, however, I did like the look of  the vibrant Swiss chard at the farmers market.  I don’t usually buy Swiss chard but their colourful stems were irresistible.  The farmer told me they tasted  like the leaf of a beet…they’re from the same family. But, unlike beets (and kale) their stems can be eaten.  When buying Swiss chard look for leaves that are moist, crisp, and not wilted.  Store in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for 3-5 days.  
I’ve been using Swiss chard in many dishes: stir fries, fruit smoothies, salads, even quiche.  Here’s the recipe for you to try


Swiss Chard
swiss chard


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