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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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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!

Haystack Cookies

25 May

ImageI was craving chocolate something fierce the other day and had NOTHING to snack on.  Not even the ol’ standby of a handful of chocolate chips (or morsels, as my husband lovingly refers to them as).  Babies were napping (or at least trapped in their cribs!) so I couldn’t go to the store and get myself a treat.  To the computer I went and looked at some treats I had recently “pinned.” When I spotted this little number from The Little Red House.

We grew up eating these bad boys under the name of “Haystacks” or “Lois’ (my mama’s) Favourite Cookies”

So here they are, with just a couple little changes of my own.

Haystack Cookies

  • 1/2 C raw honey
  • 1/4 C + 1/8 C *cacao powder* (or cocoa)
  • 1/4 C unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 C coconut oil
  • 1/4 C almond butter
  • 2 C rolled oats
  • 1/3 C shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt

Image* cacao is cocoa in its purest, unrefined form, which is milled at a low heat to maintain all of its nutritional benefits.  It is an excellent source of antioxidants, magnesium and iron.  Pretty much, you’re doing yourself a favour to make and eat these cookies!  I have been using the brand Navitas Naturals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Method:

  1. mix honey and cacao together in small sauce pan, over medium heat
  2. add almond milk and coconut oil, continue stirring and bring to boil
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  3. boil for one minute, remove from heat
  4. stir in remaining ingredients
  5. drop by heaping spoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheets
  6. put in fridge (or freezer if you’re really impatient!) to set
  7. shove it in your face!
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Balsamic Pot Roast

23 May

Balsamic Roast-2I love having a few lazy meals up my sleeve for times when I just don’t feel motivated to cook!  The slow cooker is great for that.  Even if it still requires time and prep, somehow doing it at the beginning of the day, and having dinner ready for you 6 hours later makes it seem so effortless!  This is a great one pot meal because you just throw in the veggies with the beef and the broth and let it all simmer away!

Balsamic Pot Roast

  • 2-3 pound frozen boneless roast beef (I used eye of round)
  • 1 cup low sodium beef broth (Epicure is great brand that doesn’t have all the additives)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
    Option: (add the following items if you want to have a one pot meal, and sliced meat.  If you just cook the meat and marinade you can keep cooking until it is falling apart and it makes a DELICIOUS pulled beef!  You just need to take two forks and help shred it a bit.  If it does not easily shred, keep cooking!)
  • 3 carrots chopped into large chunks
  • 2 or 3 good sized potatoes, quartered
  • 2 small onions quartered
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

Method 

  1. Put roast into slow cooker
  2. Measure broth, vinegars, sauces and seasonings into a 2 C. glass measuring cup (makes it easy to measure as you add each ingredient), whisk togetherBalsamic Roast
  3. Pour broth over roast
  4. Add veggies, lovingly placing them around the roast!!
  5. Cook 4 hours on high, or 6-8 hours on low (cooked from frozen should get you a nice, slice-able roast!  If your meat is already defrosted try 4 hours on low, or if you want it to be cooked to the “shreddable” stage, stick with the times/temps listed!)
  6. Spoon gravy out of slow cooker and place in sauce pan on med-high heat
  7. Mix cornstarch in small bowl with a few tablespoons of water, until well blended, pour into gravy while stirring
  8. Stir frequently until mixture thickens slightly
  9. Pour gravy over sliced meat and veggies
  10. Stuff it in your face

Balsamic Roast-3Adapted from recipe at Eve Was (Partially) Right