Laura’s Baba’s Borscht

24 Sep

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Sweet, sweet borscht!  Vitamin packed bowl of steaming goodness!  Decadent soup of garden’s bounty!  Delightful dish of Ukrainian yumminess… sighhhh.

I have a soft spot for borscht.  You know the difference between a garden carrot, like fresh out of the earth, vs. store bought, tasteless carrot?  That is what my memory of my grandma’s borscht is.  Cabbage, beets, potatoes, carrots and dill all straight from her garden, into my bowl, into my belly (along with a generous shot of cream just to turn it from a deep reddish colour to an eye pleasing fuschia!  Part of the joy of eating borscht was to swirl in the cream and watch the milky pink take over my bowl and transform the whole thing!)

I grew up eating this stuff every summer when we went to Saskatchewan to visit my grandparents, Pete and Zella Hayduk.  My Grandma learned the recipe from her Ukrainian mother in law, known to us simply as “Baba.”

Well Baba, hope we’ve done you proud!  Still making, eating and raving about your borscht today!

I do mostly associate this with my lovely grandmother, but we can still call this Laura’s Baba’s Borscht

Ingredients

  • 1/3 C butter
  • 1 C diced onion
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 6 C finely shredded cabbage
  • 3 beets, diced

Sauted the above in a large soup pot until veggies soft Add the following:

  • 19 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 8 C water
  • 2 tsp powdered beef stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 potatoes diced
  • 1/2 green pepper diced

Bring all to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook until all veggies soft. Add:

  • 2 TBSP (or more!) chopped fresh dill
  • pepper to taste

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, or pour in some cream (If you prefer a thicker borscht you can remove some soup and blend, then return to pot)

Shove it in your face!

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Favourite Multigrain Bread

30 Jul

bread-9My mom, my aunt, my sister-in-law, and myself have been making the same delicious bread recipe for years!  It can’t be beat!  It is a bit time consuming since you gotta do those old school things like use yeast, knead the dough, let it rise, roll your loaves, etc. BUT it is really easy, it tastes amazing, and you can get 4-5 loaves, which will do our family for the whole month… so it’s totally worth it!

I googled “clean” bread recipes, and nothing sounded as good as this old standby, so I just cleaned it up a bit using all whole wheat flour and coconut sugar instead of white sugar.  You could also use honey to sweeten it, but since I will be feeding it to my wee boy, and babies under 1 can’t have honey, I opted for the coconut sugar.

Sooooo if you know you have a day at home and want to fill that home with the most pleasing smell of fresh baked bread, check out the recipe below!

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Favourite Multigrain Bread

  • 4 C warm water
  • 1 C Red River cereal
  • 1 C flax seeds
  • 5 C whole wheat flour
  • 2 TBSP quick rise yeast
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 C coconut sugar
  • 1/3 C sunflower oil
  • 1 TBSP sea salt
  • 4-5 more C whole wheat flour


    Method

  • In medium bowl, mix together Red River cereal, flaw seeds, 5 C whole wheat flour and yeast
  • In a large bowl (or bowl for your stand mixer), mix together eggs, coconut sugar, oil and salt.  Add warm (not hot) water and stir.
  • Add dry ingredients and mix until smooth
  • Add remaining 4 C of flour one cup at a time, mixing well in between each addition.  At this point your stand mixer might begin to struggle!!  No problem, just take over by hand.  (I usually add the 5th C of flour while I’m kneading the dough)
  • Turn dough onto floured surface and knead for about 10 min adding more flour as needed. You want this dough to be somewhat sticky, but you don’t want it to be gooed to your counter top, or attaching itself in giant globs to your hands, but you also don’t want to overdo the flour and have it be dried out!  Sheesh!  The pressure!  It’s pretty easy to get the ratio right- as long as the dough is moving as you are kneading, it should only be sticking a bit, if it gets too sticky to handle give a sprinkle of flour and keep it moving!  I usually need the 5th C of flour every time.
  • Grease a large bowl and put your dough in it, rolling it over once so it has a greased side up.  Cover with plastic wrap if you like (I like.. It makes me feel like I’ve created a tiny, bread greenhouse that will help this puppy rise!) and leave in a warm spot for 30 mins
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  • After 30 mins. punch it down!  Wash you hands, make some fists and beat the air out of that puppy!  Recover and let rise another 30 mins.
  • Now punch it down again and separate into 4 equalish balls.  If you want to be cute, like my mom, you can weigh them on a kitchen scale and pinch and add until they are all pretty much even!  Or you can just be wild and free and eyeball it.  I am usually more “cute” than “wild.”  Whatever, don’t judge!
  • Roll each ball out with a rolling pin, ensuring that you squeeze out any air bubbles that might have formed.  You should have an ovalish/rectanglish (or a rectoval.  That sounds kinda of gross.  Sorry for that one!) Beginning at one of the short ends, roll it up tightly so you have a log.  Pinch  the seam along the roll so that it sticks to itself, and pinch the two short ends as well.  We don’t want to end up with a cinnamon bun effect here (that is a totally different type of bread…. sighhhhh!) we want it to bake into a nice, light, but solid loaf.
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  • Place each loaf into a well greased bread tin and let them rise for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 20 min.  Or if your oven has a mind of it’s own (aka it heats terribly inconsistently) check it at 15.  You just spend all day preparing these bad boys, no way you’re going to let a touchy oven spoil it for you now!bread-7
  • Allow to cool until you can no longer resist the smell of warm bread wafting straight to your soul, yet cool enough that slicing is a viable option
  • shove it in your face!

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Quinoa Cheese Bites

29 Jul

ImageKeen-whaaaa!?  My husband does not want to eat this stuff!  But I was successful in finding one way that he would eat it right up, and enjoy every last bite.  Quinoa cheese bites! Mmm mmm! BONUS: These are the perfect, healthy, protein rich, finger food snacks for a baby or toddler.  Health Canada now says it’s okay to give babies under 1 year eggs.

Found this gem of a recipe at So Very Blessed

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Quinoa Cheese Bites

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (1/2 C uncooked)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 stalks green onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Method

  • preheat oven to 350 F
  • mix all ingredients together
  • distribute mixture into a greased mini muffin tin, filling each cup to the top
  • bake 15 – 20 min.
  • stuff it in your face!  either on it’s own, or with tzatziki or another clean dip!

Chocolate Walnut Scones

11 Jun

ImageWhen I started eating clean, and giving up things like butter, sugar, and white flour, I didn’t think I’d ever find a satisfying replacement for the flaky, buttery, delicious scones that I used to enjoy making.  BUT then I found this glorious replacement recipe at Clean Program and I tried it, and I did a celebratory jig!  SO GOOD and once more, so healthy!!  Love them!  The recipe doesn’t need to be altered at all, it’s perfect, but I did switch up the method a bit.  Here is the recipe.

Chocolate Walnut Scones

  • 1/2 C coconut oil, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1/2 C dates, pitted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Cup whole wheat flour
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 2 oz organic dark chocolate chips, or a generous 1/3 C (Camino is a great brand)
  • 1/2 C walnuts, coarsely chopped
    Method
  1. preheat oven to 350 F
  2. mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl
  3. put dates, coconut oil, vanilla and water in food processor (or magic bullet) and pulse until it resembles a caramel colored paste of deliciousness (dates are mother natures gift to those of us who are sweet tooths!)
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  4. add the date paste to dry ingredients and stir together
  5. mix in nuts and chocolate (can substitute for anything you like.  try unsweetened coconut, dried cherries or cranberries, pecans etc.  options are endless!), dough should hold together (add a bit of water or flour if needed to get the right consistency)
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  6. form dough into a round (approximately an inch and a half thick) on a lightly floured surface, cut into 12 wedges
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  7. place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake 12-15 min (or until lightly browned around the edges)
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  8. shove it in your face!!
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Chocolate Coconut Cake

2 Jun

ImageThis cake is SOOOOO stinkin deelish that I just about ate the whole pan of it in one day.  Definitely nothing left by the end of the weekend!  The secret ingredient (quinoa) seems weird, and might even make you hesitant to try it, but DON’T BE SCARED OFF!  It’s amazing!  Even hubby likes it, a lot, and he is a tough critic!  This is adapted from the Quinoa 365 Cookbook recipe for Moist Chocolate Cake.  It doesn’t rise a whole lot, and is quite dense… maybe more like a brownie-ish treat?  Either way, so good!

Chocolate Coconut Cake

  • 2/3 C quinoa
  • 1 1/3 C water
  • 1/3 C unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 large eggs (or substitute with some egg whites if you prefer)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 C coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 C coconut sugar (or sucanat)
  • 1 C cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt

    Method

  1. Bring quinoa and water to a boil on the stove, cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave it on the burner for another 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F, grease a 9 x 13 rectangle pan (or two 8″ round pans)
  3. Combine almond milk, eggs, vanilla, coconut oil and 2 C cooked quinoa in blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth.
  4. Whisk together dry ingredients in medium bowl.  Add liquid ingredients and stir well.
  5. Bake for approx. 40 min. (or until a knife comes out clean)
  6. (allow to cool and…) shove it in your face!
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Balsamic Salmon

28 May

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This is my most favourite salmon recipe ever!  It is so easy and SO delicious.  I’ve tried lots of others but none can replace this old standby!  All I needed to do to clean it up was swap out the brown sugar for some maple syrup and it’s perfect.  I love making it with fresh garden dill, mmm mmm!

Balsamic Salmon

  • 3 or 4 salmon fillets
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill (or 1/4 tsp dried dill)Method
  1. Line baking dish with tinfoil (leaving enough overhanging to seal over top) and place salmon in it
  2. Whisk remaining ingredients together in a bowl and pour over the salmon
  3. Flip salmon over to make sure both sides are well coated
  4. If time permits allow it to marinade at room temperature for 15 mins
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  5. Seal tinfoil over salmon
  6. Baking at 450 F for approximately 15 min (cooking time will vary depending on thickness of salmon.  The fish should flake easily when cooked and be less red and more pink)
  7. Uncover and let it broil for a minute longer
  8. Shove it in your face!
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Roasted Whole Chicken

27 May

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I picked me up a couple of Hutterite chickens!  They cost a pretty penny, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I would rather have my family eat quality meat a few times a week, than unhealthy, and unethically produced commercial meats every day.  SO, a local butcher just happens to carry whole chickens supplied by a Hutterite farming community.

I must admit… I was a wee bit intimidated by the idea of a whole bird!  I’m spoiled by my mommy who always prepares our thanksgiving turkeys and I’m used to picking up a pack of boneless, skinless, chicken breasts from Costco.

Anyways, I did some googling and basically you just rub ’em and/or stuff ’em and cook ’em.  Actually pretty simple!  I used a recipe from Jamie Oliver as my guide and got to work.

This is not much of a recipe, but more so a guide on how to cook a whole chicken.

Roasted Whole Chicken

  • a 3lb (or so) whole chicken
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • small onion, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • fresh herbs, such as thyme or rosemary (optional)
    Method
  1. preheat oven to 350 F
  2. give a generous sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper all over the bird, rub a little inside the cavity too if you feel so inclined
  3. wash the lemon well and poke it all over with a fork, shove it in the cavity
  4. shove some onion chunks and garlic cloves in the cavity
  5. shove a small bunch of herbs in the cavity if you are using them
  6. you can also chop up some large chunks of carrot, celery and onion to lay in the bottom of the roasting pan under the bird, just drizzle with some olive oil
  7. place chicken in roasting pan
  8. bake uncovered in oven for approximately 1 hour 20 min
    *do yourself a favour and just get a meat thermometer! I’m underly cautious and my husband is overly cautious and having a meat thermometer has saved us SO many unnecessary squabbles about whether or not our dinner is well done enough!  let the number be your judge!*
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    ***if you want to try to be really fancy (creepy?) you can do what I did, and using a sharp knife separate the skin from the bird a wee bit and shove some lemon slices up there.  A friend did this once and I was super impressed with the lovely embossed lemon design browned onto the top of the bird.  HOWEVER, as with flowers, odd numbers look nicer, and me being in a rush decided to just use 2 lemon slices…  well, it came out looking like a nightmare!  Two lemon eyes, a lemon shoved in the “mouth” and interestingly enough the protrusion at the back end of the bird is known as the “Pope’s Nose.”  I know that is an  offensive term, but it is right between my bird’s eyes!  It’s too creepy and entertaining not to include a picture!
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    Also, I learned from my mommy that it’s better to cook a bird tat’s up!  I have much to learn… sigh…!  Either way, I have cooked a whole bird, by myself, and it was not difficult!  Tasted good too!  I put the bones in the slowcooker overnight and will be making some sort of chicken veggie soup in the next day or so!