Monday, 1 April 2013

Saying Goodbye

Written by Linda Gauthier

I'm all dressed up and ready to go, just waiting for you

Hi Everyone,

Just a short note to let you know that this web address is now going to be inactive. I have transferred my blog over to my new site, I believe you will find it to be much more reader friendly, easier to print and find  the recipes, as well as more appealing to the eye.  I have to say I am very happy with, and proud of my efforts, I hope you enjoy it, and will follow me to my new location.  You will find  new feature pages, and an index of subjects at the bottom of the page. I have also created a page where I ask you what you would like to read, and I will do my darndest to try to fulfill your requests.

You will still find my quirky writing style, family friendly recipes, and a few more surprises and changes coming down the road, like contests, information on cookbooks, and whatever crosses my mind at the time I am preparing to write, please join me on my journey to a healthy, balanced lifestyle.  It is going to be fun and interesting, and I am looking forward to sharing my life, laughs and giggles with you and yours.  Join me at My Simply Delicious Weight Loss

Bye Bye for now, hope to see you real soon , Linda

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Yummy things ahead....

Written by Linda Gauthier

Yummy things ahead, these are the pictures of my centerpiece submitted for the contest being held by Green & Black's Organic Chocolate.  The recipes will be published on my site over the next week.  I would appreciate your votes for my Dark and Decadent Caramel Cupcakes, on the Green and Black's Organic Chocolate.

Bunnies on Parade

Dark Truffles 
were made with this is adapted from a recipe I formulated and published on my blog on 1/12/2012  Linda Gauthier

Base ingredients

2/3 cup 160 ml heavy cream
2 tablespoons 30 ml unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons 30 ml granulated sugar
¼ cup 60 ml organic unsweetened cocoa powder

Melt butter and cream and dry ingredients in top of a double
boiler and then divide in 1/3's

This way you can make 3 dark chocolate flavoured truffles the
following are the flavours I used.

Green & Black's bars used for flavouring

Green & Black's Dark 85% - break into 3 equal pieces
Green & Black's Ginger - ¾'s of a bar
Green & Black's Hazelnut and Currant - ¾'s of a bar
Green & Black's Butterscotch - ¾'s of a bar

To flavour your base ingredients follow these steps:

In a food processor, combine one each of the Green & Black's
Dark 85% chocolate pieces with each of the other three
flavours, grind them to a fine powder, or about 10 seconds.

Keep in separate bowls

White Truffles

Ingredients for base

½ cup or 150 ml Eagle Brand condensed milk
2 bars of Green & Black's White chocolate
1/4 to 1/2 c or 60 ml to 150 ml heavy cream

• Melt Green & Black's White chocolate in double boiler
• Add cream, condensed milk and chocolate and stir,
cooking it until thick
• Divide into half or 1/3 depending on how many flavours
you want. I only made 2 in addition to the plain white
• Note with the additions of the flavorings I found I needed
the ½ cup or 150 ml of cream


2 tbsp or 30 ml creamy peanut butter
½ of a Green & Black's Milk chocolate bar. This is for a peanut
butter cup truffle
½ of a Green & Black's Butterscotch bar

I made the following :

• One batch that tasted like peanut butter cups, rolled in
ground peanut butter baking chips by Chipit
• One that was like a milky caramel flavour, rolled in dark
chocolate sprinkles.
• One with the leftover Ginger & Dark 85% mixture from
the dark truffles with the plain white to make the Yin and
Yang truffle

Ying and Yang Truffle  Green and Black's Organic Ginger and White Chocolate

Assorted Bunny Truffles in a Cream Puff Pastry Basket  

 Keep an eye out and you will be seeing the following recipes, all my original recipes created for the contest.  Published in my blog over the next week.

Sweet Deception Strawberry Compote

Dark and Decadent Caramel Cupcake
Another view of the Dark and Decadent Caramel  Cupcake
This is the recipe chosen by Green and Black's Chocolate for entry into their
Easter Recipe Hunt.
Chocolate Snaps in the back and forefront has the basket of Truffles and the
Dark and Decadent Caramel Cupcake

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Thanksgiving Brunch with My Daughter

This Thanksgiving was a bit strange, wonderful but strange.   I have said before, that my children are scattered about starting their new lives, my son is in Turkey right now traveling, his twin sister is living in St. Johns Newfoundland.  So how do you celebrate a family meal together when you are so far apart?  By Skype of course!  They ate dinner, and we ate brunch and we enjoyed a meal together, I saw her and her wonderful boyfriend Brad and we enjoyed each others company for an hour.  It made my day.

It is so wonderful to see my children blossoming and becoming the people I knew they would. I give thanks for my family everyday, not just 1 day of the year, but on this Thanksgiving it became even more apparent to me how proud I am of them as we form NEW traditions for years to come.
However, the forming of this new tradition also involved eating in front of the TV screen. Hence the strange serving picture below, oh well a very small sacrifice for a heart full of joy, not a bad trade off, I'd say!!

Pumpkin Carrot Soup

Carrot Pumpkin Soup

Makes 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes


4 carrots, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup pureed pumpkin
5 cups (1.25 L) prepared Epicure's Chicken Bouillon
1 tsp (5 ml) Epicure's pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup (125 ml) half & half cream
Epicure's Sea Salt, to taste
Italian Parsley to garnish  (optional)
Epicure's Black Pepper, to taste

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in Epicure's 12-cup Multi-Purpose Pot. Simmer 20 minutes, or until vegetables are fork-tender.
2. Blend in a food processor or blender until smooth.
3. Return to the pot. Whisk in cream and season with Sea Salt and Black Pepper. Reheat and serve.

Per Serving : Calories 200, Fat 5 g (Saturated 2.5 g, Trans 0 g), Cholesterol 10 mg, Sodium 160 mg, Carbohydrate 27 g (Fibre 4 g, Sugars 6 g), Protein 10 g.

Tips:  For a different, spicier taste, try adding up to 1 Tbsp (15 ml) finely diced Epicure's Crystallized Ginger. or instead of Pumpkin spice add Epicure's Mango Curry Dip, substitute the Cream for Coconut milk (low fat or reg.) add Epicure's Kaffir Lime Leaves 1 or 2 and you have a soup to die for.

No Turkey for me....downsizing in all areas my new motto

I did not feel I missed out on any of the falvours of the day.  We had Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken, with Steamed broccoli and cauliflower, with a drizzle of melted herb butter, 
( the old me would have covered it in cheese sauce); steamed green beans, roasted carrots and parsnips, with mashed yams and new potatoes ( no sugar topping on yams as usual); Epicure Cranberry Sauce, and low sodium gravy made with the juices of the chicken.  The salad was a Beet and Walnut Feta Salad served on romaine lettuce with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds, with Epicure Ranch dressing made with buttermilk and BLT dip mix.   Doesn't that sound festive? It was and good too.  

Thanks to the super power of garlic and herbs, 1 Tbsp (15 ml) of this blend has more antioxidants than 3/4 cup (180 ml) of broccoli!

Makes 6 servings
Cost Per Serving: 2.22

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes


1 Tbsp (15 ml) Epicure's Roasted Garlic
1 — 4 lb (1.8 kg)  organic roasting chicken
1 lemon, quartered
2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
1 Tbsp (15 ml) Epicure's Herb & Garlic Dip Mix
Epicure's Herbed Garlic Sea Salt, to taste
Epicure's Garlic Pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp (15 ml) all-purpose flour
4 cups (1 L) prepared Epicure's Chicken Bouillon

1. Preheat oven to 400° F (205° C). 
2. Sprinkle Roasted Garlic inside cavity of chicken. Squeeze lemon juice inside and insert wedges for extra flavour. 
3. Rub skin with olive oil and Herb & Garlic Dip Mix. Coarsely grind Herbed Garlic Sea Salt and Garlic Pepper over chicken. 
4. Roast in Epicure's Eclipse® Coated Professional Frying Pan or Roasting Pan for 25 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F (170° C) and continue roasting for 50–60 minutes. 
5. Place chicken on a platter. Loosely cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. 
6. To prepare sauce, drain excess fat from pan. Sprinkle hot pan with flour and slowly whisk in Chicken Bouillon. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Per Serving : Calories 340, Fat 12 g (Saturated 2.5 g, Trans 0 g), Cholesterol 125 mg, Sodium 160 mg, Carbohydrate 5 g (Fibre 1 g, Sugars 0 g), Protein 49 g.

Tips: Serving Suggestion: Serve with mashed potatoes and your favourite steamed vegetables.

This photo below is how I wanted my Chicken to look, but wasn't quite what I got, but the result was the same yummy yummy yummy get into my tummy!

Epicure's Roasted Lemon-Garlic Chicken

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Sometimes I don't know how I function....

Written by Linda Gauthier

Friends are a treasure.
To my friends, you know who you are, Thank you.

I imagine we all have times when we give our head a shake and say "what the heck am I doing?"  It seems I have been experiencing a lot of those lately.  I sometimes have a rather chaotic lifestyle, but what is weird about that, is that it is during those times that I seem to, or at least I feel, that I function at my best.  Give me some down time, or time when I don't have everything all planned out, and I tend to be like a bumbling, Great Dane loping across the field in one direction, until something else catches my eye, and oops!! I'm off chasing whatever it was that distracted me from my original goal, the result being that I don't complete anything.
Hubby calls this my "Squirrel!" mindset, a line from some cartoon or other.  "Nice to know I inspire him to think of me as a cartoon character", she said with a furrowed brow, adding to the "I'm not amused look" is, that he does not think of me as Jessica Rabbit, but a dog that chases squirrels, so what does that say?  Actually, I think it is funny, but I'm not going to let him off the hook, would you?   I'm afraid he is right though, as much as I hate to admit he is right about anything!

So the point behind this preamble is I once again started out to create something else for dinner, then whoosh, a picture in a magazine advertisement caught my eye, and the dinner menu suddenly changed.  

This was my dinner, and my first attempt at making the Empanadas, I hope you get a chance to make them, I think you will enjoy the results.

Empanadas with Corn and Bean Salad with
Romaine Lettuce, Guacamole and Salsa.


1/4 lb lean ground beef
2 fingerlings Sweet Potatoes diced
3/4 cup red kidney beans
2 tsp Epicure Chili Seasoning
1 tsp Epicure Louisiana Hot & Spicy Dip Mix
1 small onion diced
2 tbsp finely chopped green pepper
3/4 c grated Monterey Jack Cheese


Brown the ground beef 
Add the sweet potatoes and cook until soft
Add the onions cooked until they are soft
Add kidney beans heat through
Add your spices and green pepper
Add grated Cheese 

When they are all softened, mash with fork forming a soft mixture
with the texture of lumpy mashed potatoes.

This made enough to feed 4 of us for dinner, and 3 lunches for my husband and son.

Set aside.

For the pastry:  Weight Watchers Pastry

5 1/2 oz plain flour
pinch of salt 
2 1/4 oz low-fat spread.  I used a vegan butter substitute, you could use Becel or other diet margarine.

I added 11/2 tsp Epicure Chili Seasoning  (to add a little zing to the flavor)

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.  Rub in the low-fat spread until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Add just enough cold water to bring the dough together.  Shape into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Roll your pastry out, then cut into circular shapes,
I used a biscuit cutter, 3" diameter
In the center of each circle, place a tbsp of the bean and meat mixture 
Fold over to form a crescent, pinch edges, and then pull the corners in slightly to form a C shape.
Cut a couple of small slices into the top to allow the steam to escape.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until your pastry is golden brown.

Corn and Bean Salad

1 sm can Sweet Corn Niblets
Rest of the Kidney Beans
Pickled Banana Peppers to taste
Diced red onion to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic crushed

Char the corn in a cast iron fry pan
Toss remaining ingredients together
Serve on washed leaves of  Romaine Lettuce.


1 diced tomato
1 tbsp Epicure Guacamole Dip Mix
2 pitted and peeled Avocados, mashed
Finely diced onions
Fresh lime juice
Sea Salt

Chop tomato, place in bowl, add onions and lime juice
Mash Avocados in a separate bowl, stir in the Epicure Guacamole Dip Mix
Add the tomato mixture to the avocados, stir until mixed
Grind some sea salt onto the Guacamole, to taste.  Less is better.

As always, I hope you enjoyed your time with me, and if you have any recipes you would like to see, leave me your requests.  Until the next time, smile and enjoy.  Here are a couple of pics that brought a smile to my face, I hope they do the same for you.  Talk to you soon.

Mr. Potato Head?
Mr. Potato Head

Why yes, I'm a bit stressed. Why do you ask?
Yes I am a bit stressed, why do you ask?


Thursday, 28 February 2013

Don't Be Afraid To Try Something New

Written by Linda Gauthier 

         One step at a time...

Time has gotten away from me and I have been distracted from writing my blog this week, and for this, I apologize to those of you out there who read my blog.  I have been working on the process of preparing to move my blog over to a Wordpress site, including the learning curve, so hopefully it will happen in the next couple of weeks.  This involves a lot more work than I thought, because I want to transfer all of my past posts over to the new site, but I hope you will find it to be a much more reader-friendly site.  I have high hopes for it anyway.  I'm feeling quite confident you will enjoy it and it should prove to be easier for you to download or print the recipes.

When I consider, before I started my blog, I was lucky to get from point a to b on  my computer.  I'm very pleased with myself, and the changes writing this blog has made in my life.  Not only have I been able to lose weight, I have also been able to develop my computer skills, and best of all, I have a creative outlet which I had not explored up until recently.
I always knew I liked to write, but it has been a long time since high school and college, and any dreams I had of writing went out the window a long time ago.  I'd often thought about it, but never got much past thinking about it, a few scribbles on paper but nothing more.
So here I am, writing, creating and programing a new web page.  Holy cow, not bad for a semi-senior citizen, newbie tech, who is fumbling her way through learning to blog.  Yup.  I am proud of myself, this has been a good 6 months, even if I do say so myself!!

The other day I tried a new salad for lunch and served it with a small Veggie Cheese Quesadilla.  The salad is for 5 servings, but I only made enough for 1.  Same with the Quesadilla.

Summer Corn Salad

Summer Corn Salad

Ingredients (5 Servings)

2 c cooked corn (fresh, frozen thawed or canned)
1/2 c roasted bell pepper- red, green or a mixture
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lime juice
1.5 tsp cilantro
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper


1. Add the corn and the peppers to a small bowl.
2. Pour in the olive oil, lemon and lime juice, then sprinkle with   chopped cilantro.
3. Mix well, add salt and pepper to taste if desired and serve. Refrigerate, if not serving immediately.

Veggie Quesadillas

Veggie Quesadillas

Ingredients (4 Servings)

4 tortilla whole wheat tortillas
1 c Mexican cheese blend
2 c black beans
3 Roma tomatoes
1/2 medium red onion
1 large pepper
8 tbsp salsa
4 tbsp guacamole & seasoning


1. Heat beans over the stove on medium heat. Add taco seasoning to taste and stir until combined
2. Heat a large pan over medium to medium-low heat, spray with olive oil cooking spray.
3. Assemble quesadillas: one layer of beans (use up to 1/4 cup per quesadilla), one layer of cheese, a layer of onions & peppers, and another layer of cheese (don’t use more than 1/4 cup of cheese total per quesadilla)
4. Grill the quesadillas in the pan until both sides are browned and crispy and the cheese has melted.
5. Top with diced tomatoes, 1 Tbsp guacamole and 2 Tbsp salsa. Enjoy!

So I'm going to sign off, and I will be talking to you soon.  I will be posting on this site until I am ready to switch over to my new site.  When I finally have my new page setup, I will be providing you with a link so you can find me, sort of leaving a trail of bread crumbs in the hopes that you will follow.  

As always I hope to leave you with a smile, and good thoughts. Smile, laugh, and enjoy your family and friends, remember with every laugh and smile your life becomes richer.  Here are a couple giggles for you, I'm sure you ladies out there of a certain age can relate to.

This following picture is one that made me giggle, I could just see myself out doing the grocery shopping or gardening in this, a truly practical everyday dress suitable for all , right ladies?

                        Christian Dior - Haute Couture S/S 2009<3 na

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Reinventing the leftovers and helping my food budget...

Written by Linda Gauthier

Pinned Image
In case you wonder why the cat pictures? I have noticed that the internet is ruled by  the "Cats" so I thought it might bring more readers to my blog  if I threw a random cat picture in now and then. Is it working?   Bwa ha ha Cats rule!!!

So as a continuation of my blog entry  "Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone"
I thought I would show you what I did with the excess Black Beans and Chicken slow cooker dish.  We fed 4 people the first meal, the following day I portioned out the leftovers with the resulting 2 packages of 2 cups each for the freezer and 1 portion of 2 cups of the chicken rice and beans for a soup for that day's meal.  Which also gave us soup for a couple of lunches during the work week.  

2 packs of 2 cups each for the freezer to be used for meals at a later date.

The next picture is what I used to create our soup for the Sunday Supper.

I'm calling this my

"Skookum Soup"

1/3 of a large bottle of Motts sodium reduced Garden Cocktail Juice
1 pint of my own roasted tomato sauce 
1 1/2 c frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 medium onion chopped small to medium dice
3/4 c celery diced 

I did this step in the morning, letting the flavors develop throughout the day.
Add to rice and bean mixture bring to boil let simmer until flavours have a chance to develop and veggies are getting soft.  Turn heat off, cover and let sit until you are ready to use.  Reheat and serve with crusty bread and salad for a wonderful flavourful lunch or dinner.

Soup just coming to a boil

As my mom used to say, you now have a "Skookum soup"
 Full of good things guaranteed to fill empty tummies!!

So from a relatively inexpensive original meal preparation costing approximately $11.29 for ingredients.  I am able to create a minimum of 12 meals with just the Chicken and Bean and Rice mixture, (4 dinners first meal, and an additional 8 with the 2 packages in freezer).  Plus the Skookum Soup for an additional 8-10 meals.    

That is a grand total of 22 healthy easy meals, with most of the work already done for future meals.  How great is that?

I then added an additional $5 in ingredients (and that is on the generous side) to create the Soup which has given me an additional 8-10 meals.  

So for a grand total of $16.29, I was able to create 22 meals for my family.  I won't complain about that, as it really helps the budget out, and works out to 74 cents per meal for your main ingredients.  That allows you room for a nice bread and salad plus a dessert and your budget would still be on the low side.  You cannot go out and buy a complete meal for your family in a restaurant or with pre-prepared foods, for that price, that is for sure, at least not in Canada.

I would say that is pretty darn good, and the cost isn't the only wow factor.  I have been able to prepare this without a lot of sodium, or additives, the flavours have been great, and the meals were not repetitious.

This simple mixture of Chicken, Rice and Beans can be found in many recipes from countries around the world, such as Haiti, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, Mexico, Louisiana (Cajun), African nations, Malaysia, just to name a few.  Simple ingredients, but a world of choices, to expand your menus and your food budget.  Give it a try.

I hope you have found this information useful, and that you might try doing it for yourself.  Until next time, smile, eat and enjoy.

Dude! Where is everybody?  Happy Thursday Everyone!
I'm off to do something with my hair, I'm beginning to look a lot like this guy.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Stepping out of my comfort zone....

Written by Linda Gauthier


This morning I woke up, feeling like I wanted to do something different, didn't know what, but I knew I'd figure it out.  Went through my normal routines, cleaning the kitchen, wiped down the shower, checked the fridge for any vegetables that have gone rogue. Talked to the cat about my dilemma, she wasn't very
forthcoming with any ideas; she only tipped her head and looked at me like I'd gone off my meds and promptly curled up and went to sleep.

So I went outside, checked my pond, took a tour of the garden to see what, if anything, was coming up.  Yup, bulbs starting to poke their heads out of the ground, maybe I should do some spring cleanup.  Decided to attack the side yard.  Pulled a bunch of weeds and fledgling dandelions, raked some leaves up, moved a couple of landscape bed retainers, then decided nope this isn't cutting it.  With mud clumps attached to my shoes, I clomped up the back stairs.  Now what?  A cup of tea, yup tea, that will fix it.

Hot cup of tea and a stack of cookbooks later, I decided I had found my quest -- I will try a new recipe, I am going to try making my own tortillas, the recipe looks easy, simple ingredients and it is described as delicious.  Why not?  I can do this and it is good to try new things, right?  

First, I better decide how I'm going to serve them.  Okay, I have chicken thighs, black beans, kidney beans and rice, homemade canned tomatoes.  South of the border here we come.  Ariba, Ariba taste treats are on the way. This recipe was created on the fly, with the inspiration being Black Beans and Rice.

Impromptu South of the Border Chicken Thighs

8 chicken thighs, boneless skinless
1 quart canned tomatoes
1 large tin black beans
1 large tin red kidney beans
1 pkg Epicure Enchilada mix
1 medium onion
1 large clove garlic
Salt and pepper
1 cup rice
1 bottle of pale ale

In my slow cooker I placed the Chicken thighs, tomatoes, Epicure Enchilada flavouring, 1/2 a bottle of pale ale beer, (why you ask? I don't know, just thought I'd try it) chopped onion and garlic, place temperature on high and cook for 2 hours,

Open slow cooker put beans in slow cooker.  Cook for another hour. 

Now add rice cook for 30 minutes more on high, lower temperature to low stir and place lid back on.

This made a substantial amount of food, enough that I can make a soup for tomorrow night's dinner, and even freeze a portion for a future dinner.  I like being able to do this, as it allows me flexibility in my menu planning when I have crazy days.  Tomorrow's post will have information and pictures about the soup and this week's menu.

Homemade Corn Tortillas 

Recipe from an article published by Jackie Dodd
Homemade Corn Tortillas


1 cup Masa
pinch salt
¾ cup water (she has also used beer, which turns out great as well she says)


In a large bowl, add the Masa and the salt, stir to combine. 
Add the water and stir to combine. If the dough is too dry to hold together, add additional water. If it is too wet, add more Masa
Form into balls a bit larger than golf balls. 

She suggested using a tortilla press, however, I don't own one, so I used a rolling pin.  If you do have a press, her instruction on its use can be found at the bottom of this post.  The rolling pin worked well.

I layered them between parchment paper before cooking.

Heat a griddle (I used a cast iron skillet) to a medium high heat (about 350 for electric griddles). 

Cook until slightly brown on the bottom (about 30 seconds to a minute) flip and cook on the other side. Don’t overcook.

Serve warm, impress your friends.  (Her Words)

I served them with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, diced red onion, homemade guacamole, and the chicken and bean mixture topped with pickled peppers and onions (canned this past summer).  It was well received by the family and was very filling, they ate 2nds and thirds I could only make it through 1 tortilla, not because I didn't enjoy it but it was just very filling.  I found the flavour of all the items together to be very good, and texture of the tortillas nice.  I think the bean mixture was a little thick, and could have been a little thinner but the flavour was nice.  I might not add as much rice next time, and I also believe the cooking time was a little long, but otherwise it was met with favorable reviews.

The outcome of my experience with this new recipe:

Well, it turns out this was not as easy as it appeared.  I found I had difficulty in getting the dough to stick together properly.  At first I found the dough too dry, then it didn't want to stick together or roll as thin as I wanted.  I was not able to make the tortillas as round as I wanted, but the flavour was good and they worked well for the dinner.   
The problem may have been with my masa, as I had it on my pantry shelf for a while it may have been too dry.  Or heaven forbid, it could have been a problem with the operator, and not the product!  I imagine there is a technique which I need to master, and I willbut for a first time attempt I was reasonably happy.

I will try this recipe and others again.  I believe it would be worth mastering, I can see all kinds of uses, and reasons why I would like to know how to do this, rather than buy the dry plain tasting tortillas from the grocery store.

Jackies' notes on using the Tortilla Press:

Prepare a tortilla press by wrapping in plastic wrap or covering with parchment paper
Place one ball in the center. Press, rotate and press again until thin.

To my way of thinking, the only way I'm going to improve my cooking skills and provide my family with a varied menu, is to explore different methods of cooking and to think outside the box.
I have been like this most of my life.  When I met my husband, he thought Kraft dinner and French fries was a balanced meal.  I remember one of the first times I was truly shocked by his eating habits, was when I had cooked him a special meal, which consumed most of my food budget for the week by the way, and he took one look at it, without even trying it, and announced "I don't like salmon or asparagus.  Do you want to go to McDonalds?"
I was furious.  I had poached a salmon fillet, made a hollandaise sauce from scratch, steamed asparagus, the first of the season, and made a beautiful salad, and poached pears in red wine to be served with Creme Fraiche.  To which he said "can we eat at McDonalds?"
I later found out he had never even tried neither Salmon or Asparagus.  

Thankfully, he has much improved and his tastes have become much more accommodating over the last 27 years, to the point where now he will "always try at least once", and I have made sure my children had a varied diet, so they would not hurt any young man or woman, who had put their heart and soul into a meal, only to be rebuffed for "McDonalds."
It never hurts to reach beyond our comfort zone, what is it likely to hurt?  You'll either find you like it, or it is not for you, but either way, you have added to your life's repertoire of experience.  Play, learn and enjoy cooking, it is a lot cheaper than going out to restaurants all the time to find a new taste treat.

Until next time, enjoy yourself, stop and smell the coffee and think about trying new things.  Smile, it saves you from getting wrinkles.                           

Thursday, 14 February 2013

I'm in the dough again Bread Dough that is...

Written by Linda Gauthier

Love is caring for each other

Happy Valentine's everyone from the young at heart, to those who are just about to start out on this journey
This is what Valentine's day is all about.  Have a great day!!

Made my cousins Loretta's bread yesterday and the men in my household inhaled it.  I made homemade chicken soup and served it with the bread and it was yummy.  I made a big pot of Chicken stock to use and keep for the week.  I purchase necks, backs, wings from a local butcher who sells organic chicken, it makes the best chicken stock.  My basic stock is very simple and has a million uses.

Basic Chicken Stock

Chicken bones  ( I buy a large bag of soup bones from the butcher for about $3.50)
1 Med. Onion peeled and cut in 1/4's
2-3 Bay leaves
1 large clove of Garlic crushed
1 small bunch of Sage, Thyme, tied together and placed in pot
Peppercorns about 1/4 tsp
3 stocks of celery cut in 1/4s
2 large carrots cut in 1/4s
Salt to taste  I usually add this 1/2 way through cooking.
Place everything in a large Dutch oven, cover with water and put lid on ; bring up to boil, turn down and simmer.
I usually will let it simmer on low for several hours, until meat is falling off bones, bones have become quite soft.
Pour stock through strainer and cool.  Skim off any fat and then store in covered container until ready to use. It will keep up to 1 week in refrigerator, in an airtight container.
The longer you simmer it the more condensed your broth will be.

chicken vegetable soup

For the Chicken Soup

4 cups of soup

Carrots, celery, zucchini, onion, chopped into bite size pieces
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into small pieces
Saute chicken, onion, carrots and celery
3 cups stock
1 cup boiling water
Bring to boil, turn down to simmer, add egg noodles and zucchini
Add fresh chopped parsley and sweet baby peas at the end of cooking 
Add salt and pepper if necessary

9 Grain Molasses Bread

After the guys ate all of yesterdays bread, I thought I'd explore another type of bread.  This recipe is a compilation of several recipes.  I have taken 2 different recipes from my Mom's old recipe box (she passed away over 20 years ago), and an old recipe I had clipped and saved called "Mennonite Bread".  Where any of these recipes came from is anyone's guess.  What I came up with is a nice flavoured, dense, soft textured bread with a crusty outside, yummy inside.


41/2 cups boiling water
2 c 9 grain cereal ( I used Bob's Red Hill )
1/2 cup wheat bran
1/2 c Chia seeds
1/4 c psylium husks (Optional)
1/2 c flax seeds
1 c unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 c molasses
4 tbsp Vegetable oil  (I used 2 tbsp coconut oil and 2 vegetable)
1 tbsp salt
1 1/2 c dried skim milk powder
2 tsp honey
1 cup lukewarm water
2tbsp dry yeast
9 1/2 cups flour  I used all purpose because I didn't have whole wheat I would have preferred using the whole wheat but you make do with what you have.


  1. Pour boiling water over grains leave until lukewarm
  2. Measure out your salt, oil, molasses, skim milk powder set aside while grains are cooling
  3. Dissolve honey into lukewarm water, sprinkle yeast over the top of the water
  4. Leave yeast mixture to sit until a foam has formed on top of water  DON'T stir the yeast mixture
  5. When grains are lukewarm add salt oil molasses mixture
  6. Then add the yeast mixture
  7. Lightly stir in the yeast and molasses mixture
  8. Start adding your flour 1 cup at a time, stir until each additional cup is mixed in
  9. When you are adding the 7th cup it will be getting hard to stir your dough will still be quite moist, just thick.
  10. Pour the 8th cup on your table then place your bread dough onto the flour on your table.
  11. Knead your dough until flour is absorbed dough will still be quite soft
  12. Repeat this process until you have incorporated all of the remaining  flour

Proofing and Baking Instructions:

1.Place the dough in a well buttered large bowl, rub a small amount of oil over the top of your dough cover with a clean tea towel and set your bowl in a warm place to let the bread rise, until it is double in size.  This will take about 1 hour.

2.Remove bread from bowl cut dough into 4 equal pieces, form your loaves I chose to make 2 rustic round loaves, and 2 elongated loaves.  Oil the top of each loaf and cover for another hour.

3.When you are ready to bake your bread make slashes across the top of your loaves, give them a slight brushing with egg wash and some oil then sprinkle some extra sunflower seeds over top.

4.Bake at 400 for aprox 40 minutes.  I used the method of heating my cast iron baking dishes for 25 minutes prior to putting my bread in the pan, and cooking them with a cast iron lid on the pans  This method gives them a crusty bottom and top but a nice moist center.  Much the same way French bread is cooked with  hot oven and the sprinkling of water; the steam forms in the cast iron keeping the bread moist but the crust forms nice and crunchy on the outside.

Blackened Jamaican Jerk Cod open face sandwich  with steamed vegetables
 Serves 4

4 pieces of cod fillet
Epicure Jamaican Jerk spice
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
Hot cast iron griddle heated in the oven

Brush the cod pieces with the oil, rub the salt pepper and jerk spice into the cod on both sides of each fillet.
Let sit for about 10 to 15 minutes

Preparation Timeline 

1.Prepare your vegetables:
I used baby Bock Choy and Brocolini   ( on the west coast at this time of year, they are fairly inexpensive because they can still be grown locally  so they are some of the cheapest vegetables to eat during the winter months.) 
2.Wash place in steamer 
3.Slice bread
4. Start cooking Cod on a griddle in the oven, this will take aprox.
   5 to 8 min per side depending on the size of your cod fillets
5.Put bread in toaster
6.Start to steam your vegetables in microwave total cooking time aprox 21/2 minutes
7.Slice tomatoes and lettuce 
8.Butter toast
9.Place mayo on toast
10. Lettuce and tomatoes 
11.Vegetables should be cooked, give them a sprinkle of
     Ponzu Sauce  ( a lighter sodium Citrus Soy Sauce, sodium count         in Ponzu is 17% where regular Soy Sauce is 48%) and a spritz of melted butter.

Well I am going to sign off, weight is still yo-yoing around the 140 mark, but I am not gaining just daily fluctuation of 1/2 lb or so.  But I truly have to make this pudge budge.  My daughter has just become engaged, and I am darned if I will be at that wedding wearing my fat lady suit.  So with that joyful event to look forward to, I am more determined than ever.

Here is today's giggle

                  DINNER IDEA!!  HAHA!!