Monday, 30 December 2013

Happy New Year!

I've been sort of absent these past few weeks. Knee surgery and prior to that it was hectic trying to get things in order and doing a last-minute sewing request for the school Advent concert. So glad that is all behind us now and I'm able to concentrate on my physio exercises and get much needed rest.

Food-wise there was not much cooking. Christmas eats were basically cans of sardines and peanut butter and harvarti cheese sandwiches as I didn't have much of an appetite for much else. Shockingly, not even chocolates.

I hope your holiday season was stress-free and wishing you a delicious new year. I thought I would share some of my favourites from 2013.


Sunday, 1 December 2013

Ham and Chorizo Jambalya

The start of a good Jambalya: bacon drippings, bell peppers, white onions, shallots, garlic, chorizo...

Melt the bacon dripping. Add the onions, bell peppers, shallots, garlic and celery. Cook for about 7 to 8 minutes until the vegetables start to soften. Then add chorizo and ham, cook for another 5 minutes.

Add jasmine rice that has been rinsed, chopped tomatoes and about 3 cups of beef stock. Season with gluten free creole spice and fresh cracked pepper.  

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and this is the hard part...

Wait for about 30 to 45 minutes as the simmering goodness fills the kitchen with wonderful smells.

But it is so worth the wait!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

It's Starting to Smell Like Christmas...

This gluten-free Ginger Bread cookie recipe is from Canadian Living, found here. The 3-D Christmas themed cookie cutters are from Ikea, found here.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Gluten Free and It Freezes Well Too!

This dish is a way that I can eat lamb without making a roast or have left-overs to deal with. This my friends is Irish Stew ready for the slow cooker. It freezes well too so I'm able to put it into individual containers and freeze for a later time. Perfect for those chilly winter evenings. Just make sure you use a gluten-free beef broth and coat your lamb pieces with a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend first.

Serve it up with some hot-out-of-the-oven gluten-free cornbread.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Fruit Cake

All kidding aside, I love fruit cake. No seriously, I do.  

Dried papaya, mango, cherries, raisins and fruit mix has been marinating with some rum. Waiting...

for the big day. Baking day!  The delicious marinated fruits were used to create four beautiful gluten-free loafs. Some days, I can hardly wait for Christmas.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Pumpkin Black Bean Chili

It is nippy outside and the weather report is calling for the chance of rain turning into snow flurries later today. I'm actually kind of excited to see the first snow fall. It really is a quietly beautiful sight.  And it makes for a perfect day for some chili!

Pumpkin Black Bean Chili

2 white onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, miniced
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 can of black beans, rinsed well
3/4 cup of beef broth
1 cup of pumpkin puree
1 cup of diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of chili powder
2 tablespoons of honey

Saute onions and garlic with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add ground beef and cook until it starts to turn brown and season with cinnamon, oregano, chili powder.  Add black beans and tomatoes and mix. Add honey, beef broth, and pumpkin puree. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


Vegetables might be gluten-free but they're also getting quite expensive according to Statistics Canada. Yesterday, the news was out that Statistics Canada figures report that in this province fresh vegetables cost 23.5% more than they did a year ago. Crazy!

The news report claimed that the rise in minimum wage, the PST and fuel tax increase, cold snap in California and a stunted growth in the province were to blame for the increase.  

Seriously, that is crazy. Let's take a closer look at the reasons given.

1. Minimum wage increase:  The minimum wage increase came into affect on October 2013 and the Statistics Canada figures were for September 2013.

2.  The PST (Provincial Sales Tax) increase. There is no PST applied to fresh vegetables. The only place you're going to pay tax on food is if you go to a restaurant and order dinner that has been cooked for you. It is no longer fresh, if it is prepared for you.

3.  Fuel tax increase. Okay, I'll give them that. Wholesalers pass on the buck for fuel on imported goods travelling from warmer climates. To avoid the passing of the buck buy local. At the farmer's market you can pick up a bag of potatoes for significantly less than you can find at the local grocery store that has travelled across the country or over the border.

4.  Cold snap in California. There is always a cold snap in California according to the news that it is starting to sound like an excuse. Buy local or better yet grow your own vegetables! Yup, even in the winter you can access vegetables.

5.  Stunted growth.  Say what? Yes, by Winnipeg standards July was a wee bit on the chilly side. But that hardly killed the growing season. Things did heat up just a little later than we're normally used to. But each year offers up different vegetables in abundance. Last year the spaghetti squash did not flourish in the dry hot summer. This year the spaghetti squash thrived and yielded more than I could possibly eat on my own!

Hmmm, so what is really behind the 23.5% increase?

Monday, 21 October 2013

Double Fried Plantains

One of my all-time favourite treats are plantains.

When I cook plantains I fried them up and season with salt. My friends Nikki and Juan once told me that in South America they double fry these. I've never tried doing it that way since these are a favourite and who am I kidding, I have little patience when it comes to waiting for good eats.

Until this morning! I was making breakfast when I reached for left-over plantains that were sitting in the fridge. Oh my goodness, my friends were right! I pressed them with the back side of a fork and then when that was not working to my liking I switched to a potato masher. Back in a frying pan they went and they were perfect. No need to season them anymore.

Double-fried plantains, happy eating indeed!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Mushroom and Cornish Game Hen Soup

Yesterday was nippy outside, today it is down right cold! It feels like a north wind that is blowing out there. Perfect weather for soup.

Mushroom and left-over cornish game hen was the foundation for this pot of soup. Add some shallots, freshly minced ginger, carrots, celery, flavourful water from a previously cooked home-made chorizo, mushroom stock, thyme, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Happy Eats!  

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Beef Fried Quinao

It is nippy outside. Perfect day to use up some left-overs and cook up something to take the autumn chill off.  

White onions, minced garlic, diced celery, carrots sauteed in a stir-fry pan with sesame seed oil. Add diced yellow peppers and roughly chopped exotic mushrooms. Cook a few minutes more.  Add cooked and cooled quinao, season with gluten-free soya sauce. Add left-over roast beef. Season with more gluten-free soya sauce if needed. 

And enjoy!  

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

It is the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend here. It is a beautiful day, the sun is shining and I'm blessed with family and friends. Today, I'm making dinner for the folks. I am thankful that they are in my life and to spend this beautiful day with them.

Sweet potatoes, red potatoes, shallots, white onions, red onions, avacado oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.  

Cornish Game Hens stuffed with lemon, garlic and rosemary.  Seasoned with salt and pepper and rubbed with butter.  

Plantains fried in avocado oil and seasoned with sea salt. 

Gravy with artichoke hearts. 

Sweet and Sour Cabbage from Bistro Dansk.  

Cornish Game Hens

Roasted Vegetables.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Seeds

You didn't think we were going to throw out the seeds, did you? The spaghetti squash seeds were roasted with homemade Portuguese pepper paste.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Spaghetti Squash

Autumn has certainly settled in with the temperatures dipping close to zero. The time has come to clear the spaghetti squash patch. It was a great year for spaghetti squash compared to the two that grew last year.

Perfect served with Chicken a la King to take the chill off.   

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Soothing Soup

It is cold season here. I'm fighting off a nasty sinus infection and cough for a few weeks now. And it has me thinking.

Can chicken soup help fight a cold or the flu? It has been a long held believe of mine that it does help.

I swear by cayenne pepper in my steaming hot pot of soup as my secret weapon. (Skip the pasta.) I also have a friend that swears by garlic and grated ginger in theirs to help loosen congestion and get things draining.

How about you?  What's your secret ingredient?

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Quinao-Stuffed Bell Peppers

This recipe is from the Looneyspoons Cookbook but can also be found online here. These are just before they were popped into the oven. Since I had some leftover corn, I threw that into the quinao and mushroom stuffing mix.

OH MY GOODNESS, this dish is delish!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Gluten-Free Stuffing!

It has been years since I enjoyed stuffing, until yesterday when I gave this recipe a try.

There was a lot of prep work but it was totally worth it. All I need now is an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner next month. I'll bring the stuffing!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Farmer's Market

It really is not surprising that the folk's backyard garden did not do as well as in the past. The last two years have been extremely dry and this ended up being the summer to recover.

Thankfully, there is a great farmer's market to fill in for the items that are missing from this year's yield, potatoes, peppers, etc.  Check out the size of those broad beans.  I've never seen broad beans this big, have you?

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Quick Shrimp Gumbo

 Two of my favourite ingredients, shrimp and okra. Can you believe that I found the okra locally grown from a farmer's market vendor. I was thrilled to find them.

They're being used for a steaming hot pot of soup or I should say Quick Shrimp Gumbo. I seasoned it with Creole Spice that I picked up at DeLuca's.  Wooheee, that stuff is spicy hot!

I can't say that the locally grown okra was the best. Sadly, I ended up picking it out of my gumbo. But on the up side the broth and shrimps turned out fine.