Our Recipes





Our Recipe Book

Here is our collection of recipes. All of these have been tested by us, so they work!

They are all credited as to who may or may not have invented them. If you would like to add to our collection please feel free to send us your favourites!



Fabulous Low-Fat Lemon Cheesecake

(by Adam)

This cheesecake recipe is not gluten-free, but it is low-fat and it did produce a very good cheesecake for Ruth's 2013 birthday. We made it up from previous experience with other recipes. Highly recommended.

Crust Ingredients:
Filling Ingredients:
Method:
  1. Grease a 9 inch spring-form pan with cooking oil
  2. Make the crust by mixing in a bowl: the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter.
  3. Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the spring-form pan. Put covered into the refrigerator.
  4. Make the filling: In a bowl mix the cream cheese, sugar and flour. Beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth, which takes about about two minutes.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating with the electric mixer after adding each one.
  6. Add the lemon zest, pulp and juice and beat with the electric mixer
  7. Remove the spring-form pan with the cooled crust from the refrigerator
  8. Pour in the filling.
  9. Place the cheesecake pan on a larger baking pan and place in the oven at 350°F.
  10. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes and then lower the temperature to 250°F and bake for 90 minutes.
  11. When done the centre will be slightly wobbly. If more than just the centre is wobbly bake an additional 15 minutes at 300°F.
  12. Cool on a rack.
  13. Refrigerate at least 24 hours before serving, to allow flavour to infuse. It can be frozen, too.
  14. Serve with chocolate sauce or fruit, or both!
Notes

To reduce cheesecake cracking: make sure the spring-form pan is well greased, do not over beat the batter or over-bake it. It is done when it is firm but the middle may still look a little wet or wobbly. It will firm up as it cools.


Gluten-Free Bread

(by Ruth)

Introduction

Ever since I was advised to give up gluten, I have tried to find a recipe for gluten-free bread. I know the art and science behind bread-making with wheat flour, but not with any non-wheat flour. A few words about gluten are in order here just so you understand the problem.

Gluten is a protein composite found naturally in wheat, barley, rye and spelt. Derivatives are also added to things like barbecue sauce, salad dressings and even in cereal like corn flakes and rice krispies* (look for the ingredient "barley malt" and you'll see what I mean). Gluten is what gives elasticity and cohesion to bread dough and is generated when bakers knead bread. It is also what the problem is for people with Celiac's disease and regular types like me who are just sensitive to gluten.

Knowing the problem is the first step. Knowing there is a solution - avoid gluten - is the next step. Finding ways to create cherished dishes that normally contain gluten but without using any gluten, ah, that's the challenge and it's the kind I really like.

So, after some experiments - most of which resulted in something for the recycling bin - I made a loaf of gluten free bread that:

RULE #1

While there are many different types of gluten-free flour out there, not all GF flours are the same. The general rule of thumb when making your own all purpose gluten-free flour is to use 40% protein based GF flour to 60% starchy GF flour. Stray from this formula and your friends will never invite you out for coffee.

RULE #2

Weighing the different flours is essential towards creating a good all purpose flour. If you look in the top cupboard above the fridge in your kitchen, you will probably find the old kitchen scale you got as a wedding or birthday gift and never thought you would use. Get it down, clean it up, check to make sure it still works and then keep it within handy reach.

RULE #3

Make a large quantity of all purpose GF flour rather than calculate, weigh and measure each different flour for each time you want to make something like biscuits or bread. Here is an example, to make 800 grams of GF all purpose flour, I used:

  1. 40% of 800 grams = 320 grams of chick pea flour although any bean type flour can be used. Yes, I know quinoa is loaded with protein but its texture as a flour doesn't really seem to work well with the other flours
  2. 60% of 800 grams = 480 grams of starchy non-wheat flours. I had four non-wheat starchy flours so I took 480 and divided it into 4 equal amounts of 120g tapioca flour, 120g glutinous rice flour, 120g of millet (re-ground into a flour) and 120g of sorghum.

If it seems as though I'm prattling a lot about weighing flours it's because I am. If you took a cup of chickpea flour and weighed it it would NOT be the same as a cup of sorghum or a cup of tapioca flour. Since success in baking, and especially GF baking, depends on weighing ingredients it's vital that you weigh each different type of flour. Aren't you glad I told you to take out that old kitchen scale you thought you would never need?

RULE #4

You will not wind up with a typical bread "dough". Gluten-free bread doughs are more like very thick batters. The resulting loaf will also not have the same chewy, elastic "loft" that you would find with regular wheat bread but will have a denser, richer flavour.

RULE #5

Many GF bread recipes call for the use of xantham gum, guar gum or even psyllium husk - the stuff that's in Metamucil. The purpose of these exotic sounding ingredients is to act as a substitute for the adhesive properties inherent in gluten. Without any of these ingredients, your GF bread will likely be quite dense and not rise too high in the oven. Xantham gum is breathtakingly expensive and guar gum isn't much cheaper. I do use psyllium husk but I also don't use psyllium husk and have found it makes little to no difference in loft. That's what yeast is for!

Now that I have bored you, here is the recipe for one loaf of gluten-free bread.

Ingredients:
Equipment:
Method:
  1. butter the loaf pan
  2. dissolve the yeast and honey in the warm water and let it sit for a few minutes to activate the yeast
  3. set the oven to the lowest temperature you can, anything up to about 150°F will work - anything higher will be too much. This is where your loaf will rise before it is baked.
  4. Mix all the dry ingredients in the food processor
  5. With the food processor still running, pour the water/honey/yeast mixture into the food processor. You may need to add a bit more flour but only a bit. Remember, you aren't making regular bread dough.
  6. Mix the dough together well. This is to ensure that all the flours have a chance to mix well with the water/yeast.
  7. Spread the dough into the buttered loaf pan and smooth the top with the offset spatula. Dip it in water as needed. It won't be a problem.
  8. Place the loaf into the warm oven, *turn the heat off* and let it sit on the middle rack for about 20-25 minutes. It won't "double in volume" but it should rise even just a bit in the residual heat. That proves the yeast is active and not lazy or inattentive. You don't want inattentive yeast!
  9. Once the 20-25 minutes is up, remove the loaf from the oven and then set the oven to 350°F.
  10. Once the oven gets to temperature, put the loaf back into the oven and bake for 35 minutes.
  11. Remove loaf from oven and turn onto a rack. Let it cool completely before slicing it.
Notes

So, there you have it, gluten-free bread that doesn't taste like play-dough laced with deep fried sand.

*yes, that was meant to be ironic


Gluten-Free Biscuits

(by Ruth)

Ingredients:
Method:
  1. In a large bowl, sift dry ingredients.
  2. Rub in the margarine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Add yogurt, egg and buttermilk (or the milk/lemon juice combo).
  4. The result will be a very thin dough so extra rice flour will be needed to thicken it up. Sprinkle enough rice flour until the desired consistency (that of a biscuit mixture which should be thicker than a cake batter but thinner than bread dough) is achieved (I needed roughly 3/4 cup).
  5. Once you have got to that stage, you will have to work fast here as the dry ingredients will react with both the egg, the buttermilk and the yogurt and produce carbon dioxide. Your batter should be fluffy and have little bubbles throughout. If it doesn't, you're making something else like wallpaper paste.
  6. On a greased cookie sheet, and using two spoons, spoon 12 good dollops of dough onto the sheet. Bake in a 350°F oven for 12-15 minutes.
Notes

*we don't have buttermilk so I simply used 1 cup of skim milk into which I added 1 tbsp of lemon juice.

These biscuits will spread out a bit and can be a little crumbly. However, they do taste pretty good and, best of all, they have no cat food gluten in them.


Chicken Curry Something Or Other

(by Ruth)

Ingredients:
Utensils:
Method:
  1. Pour the yogurt and garam masala into a bowl and whisk until well blended. You can always add some more of the garam masala if you wish
  2. Place the chicken breasts into a large bowl and pour the yogurt/spice mix on top
  3. Marinate the chicken in the yogurt/spice mix ensuring the chicken breasts are well coated
  4. Add the 3 Tbsp of butter into the skillet and set the skillet to about 325°F
  5. When the butter is melted and well heated, add the 1/2 cup of onion and stir fry for at least a minute
  6. Add the chicken breasts scraping in any extra yogurt and turn the heat up to 350°F
  7. Fry, turning the breasts every minute or so, until the chicken is cooked completely. The onions should be quite well caramelized by this time
  8. Once the chicken is done, turn off the heat and the chicken is ready to serve.
Notes

This chicken curry dish is best served on a plate of hot cooked plain rice. Refrain from making any kind of super spicy rice as that will offset the nice spiciness of this dish.


Severely Mild Garam Masala Chicken Curry Something Or Other

(by Ruth)

Ingredients:
Utensils:
Method:
  1. Add the spices, in batches if need be, to the spice mill, coffee grinder or (gasp) mortar and pestle. After about 30 seconds, you should wind up with an even fine grind.
  2. Pour into a clean and dried glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Garam masala will keep in an airtight glass container for at least a month.
Notes

*A word, or few, about turmeric powder is called for here. Turmeric is that bright yellow spice that will permanently stain anything it touches and I'm not joking either. When you make any dish that has turmeric as one of the ingredients, do NOT wear white or any light coloured clothing. Turmeric has this weird habit of mysteriously appearing as a bright yellow spot on the most unlikely places (including an elbow, which happened to me a few years ago) and anything short of an Exocet missile won't fully get rid of the stain. Similarly, if you stir any kind of turmeric-infused dish with a wooden spoon, be prepared to then have to spend the next half hour with bleach cleaner, an SOS pad and maybe even some 50 grit sandpaper.


Lentil and Yellow Split Pea Soup

(by Ruth)

Ingredients:
Utensils:
Method:
  1. Pour the lentils and split peas into the sieve and rinse really well, removing any sticks or shrivelled pieces. Yes, I know lentils and split peas don't really "require" rinsing but I find this step can save a bit of time during the boiling/simmering phase. Besides, they've got to soak anyway, right?)
  2. Pour the rinsed lentil/split pea mix into the medium sized bowl and cover with enough warm water to cover the lentils/split peas plus an extra 1/2" or so. Set this out to soak overnight. The lentil/pea mix will expand overnight.
  3. The next day, drain off the soaking water and re-rinse the lentil/pea mix.
  4. In a large measuring bowl, dissolve the powdered stock in 1 litre (about 4 cups) of hot water.
  5. Add the vegetable oil into the stock pot and turn the heat on to medium.
  6. After a few seconds, add the lentil/pea mixture. This is the time to add any spices you want to use.
  7. Stir things for a few seconds and then add the water/stock mixture.
  8. Turn the heat to medium high and stir until soup comes to the boil.
  9. When the soup comes to the boil, turn the heat down to medium low or just until the soup simmers very lightly. Add the bay leaf at this time.
  10. Put the lid on the stock pot and let the soup simmer on low for at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  11. Check the soup every so often, stirring to see that the lentil/split pea mixture is starting to break down in the heat of the soup.
  12. Once the soup is done to your liking, remove the stock pot from the heat, turn the stove off, and let the soup cool down for about 5 minutes. You can serve the soup at this time or else let it cool even more and pour it into some containers. Store in the fridge overnight and enjoy it the next day.
Notes

The key to this soup's success lies in the time spent simmering on the stove. While it doesn't take too much time for the lentil/split peas to soften into a creamy delight, it still does take a good hour and half to two hours, so patience is very strongly advised. This is not a soup you want to rush.

This recipe will serve four.


Gluten-Free Potato-Rice Chapatis

(by Ruth)

Ingredients:
Method:
  1. Peel and boil the potatoes* in about 2 litres of water
  2. Drain all but about 300ml of the potato water**
  3. Sift dry ingredients into large heatproof bowl
  4. Add potatoes and mash in the bowl
  5. Roll out dough (it should be malleable but not sticky at all) on work surface to about 1/4" thickness
  6. Cut out circles using glass or cut into squares if you're a wuss
  7. Fry in lightly oiled skillet at 400°F until browned and crispy, turning as necessary until both sides are done
  8. Serve to a grateful bunch
Notes

Makes about 8-10 pancake whatsits

*the type of potato used is important though not the difference between life and death. Generally, any potato that has a higher wax to starch ratio, like red skinned potatoes, will work. Potatoes that are used in salads are especially good for this recipe.

**the potato water will both moisten the dough so that it's workable and provide just enough starch to keep it all together.


Spicy Chicken

(by Ruth)

Ingredients:
Method:
  1. Place the spices of whatever amount you use inside a large ziploc bag and seal to prevent them from spilling
  2. Cut the chicken breasts into large(ish) pieces roughly the same size
  3. Rinse the pieces under cool running water
  4. Open the bag of spices and place chicken inside. Re-seal the bag and coat the pieces in the spice mixture evenly
  5. Heat a skillet to 400°F
  6. Lightly oil the skillet
  7. Add chicken pieces
  8. Cook until the chicken is done. You may need to splash a bit of water in the skillet to prevent any of the spices from burning

Gluten-Free Brownies of Giggles

(by Ruth)

Ingredients:
Utensils:
Method:
  1. In the medium mixing bowl, combine the melted margarine (or butter) with the sugar
  2. Mix the sugar/margarine combination until well blended and the sugar is mostly dissolved
  3. Add the cocoa powder and mix well
  4. Add eggs one at a time and mix gently to combine: the batter should be quite glossy at this point
  5. Add the milk and mix (again, gently) until well combined
  6. Set the medium bowl aside for the moment
  7. In the small bowl, combine the glutinous rice flour, baking powder and baking soda
  8. Add the dry ingredients in the small bowl to the wet ingredients in the medium bowl and stir until well combined
  9. Pour the batter into the greased 9X9 baking dish
  10. Bake in a 325-350°F oven for 35-40 minutes***
  11. It is done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean**
  12. Remove the brownies from the oven and set to cool in the pan on a wire rack
  13. Do not even attempt to cut into individual brownies until completely cool. I am serious here!
Notes:

*Although I used white sugar, you can use brown sugar, but you will likely need to bake the brownies for a little longer as brown sugar does contain a bit more moisture than white refined sugar does

**It is okay if there are a few moist crumbs stuck to the toothpick. However, raw batter is not acceptable and your guests will despise you. No, you can't pass this off as one of those "combo cake and pudding" desserts; no one will buy it.

***The times given are, of course, based on averages. If your oven is like ours with a thermostat that isn't interested in the setting I gave it, then you will need to adjust your baking times accordingly.


Split Pea Soup Of Wonderment

(by Ruth)

Ingredients:
Method:
  1. On medium heat in a soup pot, saute onions and carrots in the oil until the onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Add drained split peas, spices and water in soup pot.
  3. Stir with (preferably) metal or other non-porous spoon. This is important as a wooden spoon will almost immediately turn a bright yellow thanks to the dye-ing power of turmeric.
  4. Simmer in pot half covered for at least an hour.
  5. Serve in two bowls and enjoy immensely

Split Pea and Apple Soup

(by Ruth)

Ingredients:
Method:
  1. Soak the split peas for three hours
  2. Saute the onions in the oil on medium heat for about 8 minutes
  3. Add all other ingredients
  4. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes
  5. Puree
Notes:
  1. Don't use a wooden spoon as the turmeric will stain it
  2. Makes four servings

Tomato Sauce

(by Ruth)

Ingredients:
Utensils:
Method:
  1. Heat the oil in the stock pot on low heat
  2. Add the onion and caramelize the onion on low heat. This is important as the onion's sweetness makes this sauce especially good
  3. Once the onion is soft and mostly translucent, add everything else
  4. Stir and then cover the stockpot and let it simmer on medium heat for at least 20 minutes
  5. After 20 minutes, remove the lid, lower the heat and stir allowing the sauce to reduce to the thickness you want
  6. Once done, let the sauce cool before pouring it into cleaned glass jars with lids or else use it in your dish

This sauce is REALLY good on cooked chicken and served on noodles or rice. This would also be a perfect sauce for a large lasagna dish.


Lentil-Bulghur Pilaf

(by Ruth)

Ingredients:
Utensils:
Method:
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil until a few bubbles climb the wooden spoon*. Add the diced onion and, on medium heat, cook the onion until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the bulghur and mix thoroughly until the grains are evenly coated with the oil
  3. Add the softened lentils and mix thoroughly
  4. Add the water and the vegetable stock powder and simmer on medium to medium low heat until all the water is absorbed

Makes 2 good sized portions or 3-4 smaller side dish serving sized portions

* The reason I ask for a wooden spoon is that the oil used in this recipe should be hot but not smoking. The only way to test the readiness of the oil is to dip a wooden spoon into the oil and see if any bubbles form and start to climb or gather around the spoon. Chinese cooks use wooden chopsticks to test the readiness of oil. Anything else won't work.


Low Fat or Fat Free Gluten-Free Cheesecake

(by Ruth)

For the crust:
For the filling:
Crust:
  1. In a food processor, add the nuts and brown sugar and mix together until a coarse crumb is formed.
  2. Remove and pour into a 9x9 baking tin patting down and up the sides a wee bit. To avoid sticking, use a spoon to pat down. You can use the flat bottom of a measuring cup like they do on all those fancy cooking shows but that would make you unimaginative.
  3. Put the tin aside for the moment.
Filling:
  1. In a bowl, cream together the softened cream cheese and the sugar.
  2. Add eggs ONE AT A TIME and beat JUST until evenly combined. Over-mixing will create bubbles and will result in a cracked surface which people will think is a sign of the impending apocalypse when, really, it just means you're impatient. This is what baking with eggs is like.
  3. Pour the filling into the tin and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes at 325°F. The centre of the cake may look a little undercooked when you take it out of the oven but, be assured, it will continue to bake with the residual heat of the tin.
  4. Cool completely on a rack and in the tin for at least an hour or so before putting in the fridge.
  5. This cake really needs to "mellow" in the fridge overnight before devouring the next day.
Storing:

While it is customary to store cheesecake in the fridge, presumably as it will be eaten in fairly short order, you can also freeze this. Wrap securely in tin foil. To serve, remove from freezer and let it stand at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes to thaw out enough so you'll be able to taste it.


Crustless, Gluten-free Cheesecake

(by Ruth)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F
  2. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9" spring-form pan with margarine
  3. In a bowl mix the cream cheese, the granulated sugar and the eggs and beat until combined.
  4. Add the vanilla and mix.
  5. Pour the batter into the spring-form pan and bake at 350°F for 50 minutes.
  6. Leave in the pan and cool for 90 minutes on a rack to ensure even cooling.
  7. Carefully remove the sides of the pan.
  8. Refrigerate to set completely.

Cocoa Meringue Cookies

(adapted by Ruth)

To make about 20 of these yummy, low cal cookie-thingies, you will need:

  1. Sift the cornstarch and cocoa powder in a bowl. Put aside
  2. In a second spotlessly clean and dry bowl and using a spotlessly clean and dry hand mixer, whip the egg whites until soft-bordering-on-stiff peaks form
  3. Add sugar in 2 or 3 batches continuing to whip eggs until stiff peaks form
  4. Fold in the cornstarch/cocoa mixture***
  5. Drop in heaped teaspoons onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 300°F oven for 25-30 minutes
  6. Once baked, turn off oven for ten minutes and let cookies cool slightly in oven
  7. Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from cookie sheet

Notes:

* The sugar amount can be played with, though do not reduce the amount to lower than about 2 Tbsp. Sugar is needed to both sweeten and facilitate stiffening of egg whites.

** The original recipe called for only 1 Tbsp but I used 2 on the recommendation of other bloggers.

*** When folding in the cocoa powder/cornstarch, you may see a slight deflation of the egg whites. Do not worry too much about this. As long as you have whipped the egg whites to the stiff peaks stage, the cookies will turn out.

A Little About Egg Whites

Egg whites are often depicted as a temperamental ingredient. This is largely due to the fact that over-whipped egg whites cannot be salvaged unlike, say, seized chocolate which can be saved (generally). Consequently, many of us (including me) tend to under-whip egg whites out of fear of ruining the perfect meringue or pavlova.

So, how stiff is stiff in the world of egg whites? Here is a very simple test I use: for egg whites whipped to stiff peaks, remove the beaters and note what the egg whites do. If the peaks they form bend over, then the egg whites are at the soft peak stage and can be whipped further. If the peaks remain upright, then the egg whites are at the stiff peak stage and should not be whipped any further. That's well enough but, to confirm the matter, invert the bowl. If the egg whites remain stiff then you have stiff peaks. If the whites begin to pour even slightly (don't worry, there won't be any spillage), then you can whip them further with no problems.

Egg whites develop their peaks and ability to retain their shape purely by having air whipped into them. The actual physical structure of egg whites allows them to retain the air whipped into them much the same way as soap bubbles do. And, like soap bubbles, whipped egg whites left unattended will deflate into some kind of gelatinous sludge.

Thus, it is important to ensure that egg whites are used as soon as they are whipped to the correct consistency. Otherwise, you will wind up with something that looks like it was found under a rock in some godforsaken cave.


Pasta e Fagioli

(adapted by Ruth)

Pasta e Fagioli is a soup that contains both pasta and beans. It makes a nice warm winter soup, that is easy to make.

  1. If using dried beans soak for two days, changing the water regularly
  2. Simmer beans for 45 minutes to soften
  3. In a separate pot, cook the pasta for ten minutes or until done
  4. Make the soup as per the package instructions
  5. When beans, pasta and soup are all cooked separately, combine and simmer a few minutes before serving

Gluten-Free Pancakes

(adapted by Ruth)

This is the perfect breakfast dish for people who have trouble with gluten. It produces pancakes that are every bit as good as wheat-based pancakes, but without the consequences.

  1. In a small bowl mix the rice flour, sugar, baking powder and salt
  2. Add skim milk, mix until smooth
  3. Add in the egg, already beaten, plus the vegetable oil and mix just enough to blend
  4. Heat a lightly-oiled non-stick griddle to 375°F
  5. Spoon the pancake mixture onto the griddle to form 4 inch pancakes
  6. Turn once browned and bubbles appear on the tops

Cauli-Corn Hash

(invented by Adam)

This is a very simple dish that turned out to be a really good side-dish or a vegetarian meal by itself. Ruth made up the name for it.

  1. Cut up the cauliflower and boil until cooked through.
  2. Mash the cauliflower with a potato masher
  3. Mix in the can of corn and the chopped onion
  4. Warm until evenly heated on the stove or in the microwave
  5. Serve with BBQ sauce or another favourite sauce to taste

Simple Bean Spread

(invented by Adam)

Tired of the same old stuff in your sandwiches? This recipe produces a very nice bean spread for sandwiches, that can also be used as a dip.

  1. Cover beans in water and place in a crockpot, cook on high for about six hours or until soft.
  2. Cool beans and puree in a food processor or blender, adding water as needed to make a thick paste.
  3. Add dried red pepper and garlic flakes, blend
  4. Add BBQ sauce to taste, blend

Potato Chili

(invented by Adam)

This is a very mild chili recipe that substitutes potatoes for meat and makes it a nice vegetarian dish.

  1. Combine all ingredients in a crock-pot.
  2. Cook on high for about six hours or until potatoes and carrots are cooked.
  3. Serve with bread.

Rice Pilau

(invented by Ruth)

To serve 4 as a side dish or 2 as an entree

Utensils

  1. Rinse the rice in cold water thoroughly and then set in cold water bath for 30-45 minutes with the cardamom pods***
  2. Peel and thinly slice both the shallots and the onion. Set aside the onion and shallots separately.
  3. Heat the 45 ml of vegetable oil in a stockpot set on medium high heat.
  4. Fry the onion until translucent and browned.
  5. Add the shallots, nuts, raisins or dates, spices and salt and pepper (to taste) and mix thoroughly.
  6. Add the very well rinsed rice and cardamom and mix until all the grains of rice are coated with spice mixture.
  7. Add the 500mL of water and simmer on medium heat covered.
  8. After about 12-15 minutes, check to see if the rice is done al dente.

Notes

*The rice must have its starch rinsed away beforehand, otherwise, you will wind up with something that resembles a risotto. The starch on rice grains must be rinsed in cold water because hot water will result in the starch coming out of solution and rendering the rice a sticky morass.

**The use of nuts, like the use of raisins/dates is entirely discretionary. However, it is important not to toast the nuts ahead of time as they will burn when cooking with the remaining ingredients. Do not use regular peanuts as they do not cook well. Walnuts are too bitter and, no matter how careful you are, will only become unpalatably bitter if cooked.

***I add the cardamom pods to the rice bathwater to infuse the water with that lovely aroma. I also add the cardamom pods to the pot when cooking up the dish. I do discard the pods at the end of the cooking time. Cardamom pods are used in much the same way bay leaves are used, they flavour a dish, but are not eaten with the food.


Apple, Cinnamon & Oatmeal Muffins

(invented by Adam)

This is a variation on the Bran Muffin recipe, using oatmeal instead of bran cereal and adding apple and cinnamon. It produces really nice moist muffins, that won't last long!

  1. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt.
  2. In a second bowl mix oatmeal, milk and water. Let stand until liquid absorbed. Add egg, oil, brown sugar, apple and cinnamon.
  3. Add flour mixture to oatmeal mix. Stir in until just combined. Do not over-mix.
  4. Spoon batter into greased 12-space muffin tin.
  5. Bake at 400°F (200°C) for 20 minutes or until browned or toothpick comes out clean.

Bran Muffins

(modified by Ruth)

  1. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt.
  2. In a second bowl mix all-bran, milk and water. Let stand until liquid absorbed. Add egg, oil and brown sugar.
  3. Add flour mixture to all-bran mix. Stir in until just combined. Do not over-mix.
  4. Spoon batter into greased 12-space muffin tin.
  5. Bake at 400°F (200°C) for 20 minutes or until browned or toothpick comes out clean.

Estimated nutritional information (per muffin):

145 Calories (606 kJ) | 4g Fat | 3.1g protein | 26g carbohydrates | 3.5g fibre


Cheap, Fast & Very Tasty Chapati

(by Ruth)

I was inspired by watching some online recipe videos to try my hand at making this flatbread dish. Originally from India, chapati has its analogues from around the world, ranging from pita in the Middle East to tortillas in Mexico.

Flatbreads may vary from culture to culture but they all have two things in common - they only require a few ingredients and they take very little time to prepare and cook. Chapati is no different.

To make chapati, you will need:

To cook the chapati, you will need:

You will notice that I did not provide any real amounts for the flour, salt or water. That's because the amounts will vary depending on how much dough you want to make. Essentially, you will want to create a moderately stiff dough that isn't sticky when rolling out. As a guide, start with about 250g of flour to 250 ml of water and adjust as necessary.

Do the following:

  1. In the mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, vegetable oil and water with the wooden spoon. Adjust the flour and/or water as necessary to make a stiff dough.
  2. Dust the surface of a countertop with some flour and place the dough on top. Dust your hands and knead the dough until it is smooth. The vegetable oil you added should help there.
  3. Once you have kneaded the dough into a smooth and elastic ball, you can either let it rest for a few minutes or not. I've tried it both ways and it doesn't seem to make a difference.
  4. Pull off a golf ball sized knob of dough and, still on a flour dusted work surface, place the knob on top.
  5. Dust the rolling pin and begin rolling and flattening the knob until it becomes a thin and even disc. Don't be afraid to add a bit of flour if the dough starts to stick to the countertop.
  6. Heat the skillet to about 375-400°F or frying pan on medium high and add a couple of drops of vegetable oil.
  7. When the skillet/frying pan is up to temperature, add the first chapati disc. In fact, you may want to have a few ready to fry up.
  8. Cook the chapati using the spatula to turn each chapati disc. You are looking to cook the discs through. If you can get them to bubble and expand, then that's perfect. The original recipe will ask for you to subsequently flip the chapati disc onto the stove flame or ring but that step is entirely unnecessary and will make a nasty mess to clean up.
  9. Once the chapati disc is cooked all the way through, flip it onto a waiting plate and continue cooking the remaining discs. This will be an exercise in pulling off a knob of dough, rolling and flattening it into a disc shape, cooking it and then flipping it onto a plate.
  10. Repeat until all the dough is used. These taste great dipped in barbecue sauce. You can also add chopped onion (about 1/4 of an onion for the amount specified in this recipe) or garlic but your chapati will not be as flat. Try frying the onions up first before adding them to the dough.

Astoundingly Fantastic Spinach Lasgana

(by Ruth)

Making this lasagna involves two separate preparatory steps, making the ricotta mixture and assembling the lasagna, but nothing that will cause headaches...I promise. To make the Ricotta mixture, you will need:

The ricotta cheese/spinach mixture takes the place of the ground beef that is normally seen in lasagna. To make the ricotta cheese/spinach mixture, do the following:

  1. Take the 600g of frozen spinach and thaw it in a colander. Don't be afraid to use warm water to help thaw it out.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the egg and egg white, the cheeses, seasonings and the thawed spinach. Mix until uniform in texture. Place bowl in refrigerator until ready to use.

Assembling the lasagna will involve the following ingredients:

  1. The ricotta mixture, which you just made
  2. 1 1/2 cans (total of 1020mL) of Hunt's thick'n'rich 4 cheese pasta sauce, although any pasta sauce will do.
  3. 15 lasagna noodles**
  4. 1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese and 980g of mozzarella cheese, mixed together in a bowl and both shredded***

Assembling the lasagna is pretty straightforward. You will need a 9x13" baking dish. Do the following:

  1. Spoon a thin layer of the pasta sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Doing this will help prevent the noodles from sticking to the dish.
  2. Next, add a layer of the ricotta mixture. It will be thick so you may need to use two spoons to help spread it around.
  3. Add a generous sprinkling of the mozzarella/parmesan cheese mixture on top of the ricotta mixture.
  4. Layer 4 or 5 of the lasagna noodles. Don't worry if they seem too small for the dish, they will expand as the dish cooks. Also, don't worry if the noodles overlap slightly, it'll still work and taste fabulous.
  5. To create the next and subsequent layers, repeat steps 1 through 4, ending with a final sprinkling of the mozzarella/parmesan cheese. This will be your topping.
  6. Cover the finished product with tin foil and place in a 400°F oven for 40 minutes
  7. After the 40 minutes is up, remove the foil and allow the top layer of cheese to brown for about 10 minutes.
  8. Remove the lasagna from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing into it. Though this dish tastes fantastic, it just isn't worth the second degree burns on your tongue.

Using a 9x13" pan will yield 12 human sized portions or 9 teenage-boys sized portions.

*Recipes for spinach lasagna typically ask for varying amounts of thawed and dried spinach. I used 2x300g packages of frozen chopped spinach but you can certainly add a third box.

**Many cooks feel that using so-called oven ready lasagna noodles will save you the step of parboiling regular lasagna noodles. While I used oven-ready noodles (they were on sale), it just isn't necessary to use oven-ready noodles, nor is it necessary to parboil lasagna noodles. Using regular, run-of-the-mill lasagna noodles will work just fine PROVIDED that the sauce you use is both plentiful and sufficiently thin. The lasagna noodles will cook to a perfect consistency in the sauce while the lasagna is in the oven. I'm not kidding.

***To be honest, I haven't the foggiest notion of precisely how much mozzarella cheese I used. I bought a large brick of mozzarella cheese, shredded it myself using the food processor and just used it in the dish. It's entirely up to you how much mozzarella cheese you want to use but I would not use less than about 450g. You can buy the pre-shredded cheese but it will be more expensive than to buy the brick style mozzarella cheese and just shred it yourself.


Really Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

(by Ruth)

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Grease two cookie sheets.
  3. In a bowl mix flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Stir in oats.
  5. In a large bowl cream yogurt, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until well blended.
  6. Add egg and vanilla and beat until light yellow and creamy, about 3 minutes.
  7. Add sour cream.
  8. Add flour mixture all at once, just until combined.
  9. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  10. Using two spoons, drop dough 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets.
  11. Bake ten minutes or until golden.
  12. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes
  13. Use a spatula to transfer to a wire rack.

Split Pea Soup

(by Ruth)

  1. Fry bacon in a large soup pot on medium high heat.
  2. When the bacon is brown and crispy drain some of the fat, leaving about 2 tbsp of fat in the pot.
  3. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic to the pot and saute.
  4. Add the dried peas, stock, bay leaves, rosemary and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Simmer until the soup is thick and the peas are completely soft.
  6. Puree with an immersion blender.

Whole Wheat Pancakes

(by Ruth)

  1. Measure first 5 ingredients into bowl.
  2. Stir by hand.
  3. Add eggs, buttermilk and cooking oil.
  4. Mix until moistened.
  5. Cook on an oiled griddle or frying pan at 350°F.
  6. Makes about 12 pancakes of about 4 1/2 inch (11 cm).

Estimated nutritional information (per pancake):

86 Calories (359 kJ) | 2g Fat | 4g protein | 210 mg sodium


Banana Bread of Joy

(by Ruth)

  1. Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of one 9 X 5 X 3-inch or two 7 1/2 X 3 1/2 X 2-inch loaf pans. Set aside.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl combine eggs, bananas, sugar and yogurt. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture.
  4. Stir just until moistened. Batter should be lumpy.
  5. Fold in nuts.
  6. Spoon batter into prepared pan or pans.
  7. Bake in a 350°F oven for 55 to 60 minutes for 9 X 5 X 3-inch or 40 to 45 minutes for 7 1/2 X 3 1/2 X 2-inch pans, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centre comes out clean.
  8. Sprinkle optional chocolate chips on top.
  9. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.

You'll notice that there is no oil, margarine, butter or shortening used. I used plain yogurt because the fat called for in the original is just not necessary. No, really, it's true.


Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

(by Ruth)

  1. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together sugar and butter with a mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Blend in eggs and vanilla.
  4. Add flour mixture. Mix well.
  5. Stir in oats, chocolate chips and walnuts.
  6. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Because these don't change shape much while baking you will want to form them into cookie shapes by hand and press them flat.
  7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 350°F.
  8. Cool on a rack.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

For a pleasant variation you can substitute butterscotch chips in place of the chocolate chips and substitute 1 cup of peanut butter for the 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.


Quick Yogurt Biscuits

(highly modified by Ruth)

  1. Stir flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in bowl.
  2. Add yogurt, cut in until it is crumbly.
  3. Make a well.
  4. Beat egg in small bowl.
  5. Add milk.
  6. Beat to mix.
  7. Pour into well.
  8. Stir to form a soft ball.
  9. Knead 6 to 8 times.
  10. Pat or roll on lightly floured surface 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick.
  11. Using a glass, cut into 2 inch (5 cm) rounds.
  12. Arrange on a lightly greased baking sheet 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart for crisp sides, 1/4 inch (6 mm) apart for soft sides.
  13. Bake in 425°F (220°C) oven for 10 to 15 minutes until browned.
  14. Makes 12 biscuits.

Estimated nutritional information:

90 Calories (377 kJ) | 1g Fat | 3 g Protein | 191 mg Sodium


Baked Wontons

(highly modified by Adam & Ruth)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In a bowl combine pork, sugar, starch, oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Mix well by hand.
  4. Break egg into a bowl and mix with a fork.
  5. Lay out one wonton wrapper.
  6. Brush two adjacent edges of wonton wrapper with egg, place a small ball of pork mixture in the centre and fold over corner to corner, using egg to seal.
  7. Place on greased baking sheet.
  8. Make more wontons until all the wrappers or pork mixture is used up.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes, or until pork is cooked through.
  10. Note: Any unused pork mixture can be formed into meatballs and baked on a baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Serve baked wontons with BBQ or sweet and sour sauce for dipping. May be refrigerated or frozen.


Spinach Pastries

(invented by Ken Gagnon)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix flour and salt.
  3. Add butter/lard, chopping the mixture with knife and fork until the mixture forms little bits about the the size of peas.
  4. Add cold water stir, with knife till it makes a ball.
  5. Scoop out with hands onto floured surface and gently knead only 1 minute.
  6. Cut into 4 or 6 or even 8 portions(if you want smaller pastries) then gently roll into rounded flats turning each one over once to roll both sides. Ensure enough extra flour is used to keep it from getting sticky.
  7. Place as much spinach as you think will fit into your pastry pocket, pressing spinach down a bit.
  8. Shake some garlic powder onto spinach and add about a tablespoon of crumbled cheddar cheese, or the cheese of your choice.
  9. Roll the dough over the spinach and cheese until it makes a pocket. If pockets do not close completely or there are spaces in the pastry dough, you may help close them by wetting your fingers in water and manipulating the dough in order to get a closed pocket.
  10. Pop into the oven on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for half and hour or until golden brown.
  11. You may wish to touch pastries to see if they have become crisp.
  12. Remove from oven, place on a plate, allow to cool and enjoy!

Tiger Wonder Graham Treats

(highly modified by Ruth)

  1. Line a 13X9 inch pan with aluminum foil. Leave the ends sticking up for handles.
  2. Arrange the Graham crackers so as to cover the bottom of the pan.
  3. Place the semisweet baking chocolate and peanut butter in a bowl and microwave on medium for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.
  4. Remove from microwave when the chocolate is melted.
  5. Stir until well blended.
  6. Pour the mixture over the Graham crackers and spread evenly with a spatula.
  7. Place the white chocolate in a bowl and microwave on medium for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.
  8. Remove from microwave when the white chocolate is melted.
  9. Drop white chocolate onto the mixture in the pan by the spoonful.
  10. Run a knife blade through the mixture to create the tiger stripe effect.
  11. Refrigerate for at least one hour or until the mixture is firm.
  12. Lift foil handles to remove from pan.
  13. Cut into bars.
  14. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Makes about 18 bars, depending whether you can get it to break right or not. Still edible even if the shapes turn out oddly.

Warning: Do not eat all of this yourself, or you will regret it.


Prime Fudge

(highly modified by Ruth)

  1. Heat the chocolate and condensed milk in a bowl in a microwave oven on medium setting for 2-3 minutes until the chocolate is almost melted. Stir the mixture each minute.
  2. Add the vanilla and mix well.
  3. Stir in the chopped cookies (or whole Mini-M&Ms).
  4. Line an 8 inch square pan with foil and extend the foil to make handles for later lifting of the fudge.
  5. Spread the mixture in the pan
  6. Refrigerate for two hours or until firm.
  7. Cut into a prime number of squares (i.e. 17, 19, 23, 31).

Makes either 23 squares if you cut them small enough, or one big one if you don't.


Margarine Croissants

(created by Ruth)

Makes 24 crescents

I enjoy making crescent rolls at the end of the year. Last year, I made them using the standard ingredients of flour, yeast, warm milk, sugar, salt and butter. This year, however, I thought I would try something a little different.

Conventional wisdom states in no uncertain terms that butter is best in making pastries of any kind. This is due mostly to both the high temperature stability and the physical properties of butter. Yet, I wondered what the difference would be if I made croissants using margarine instead. This isn't a 'butter versus margarine' debate nor is it a matter of being able to afford to buy butter, despite the relative volatility of the price of butter. I was simply curious about making croissants using margarine instead of butter.

I was pretty sure I wasn't the first or only one who wanted to know what the results would be and so I asked around on various Internet forums. I asked if anyone else had tried to make crescent rolls with margarine and, if so, what the results were. Simple question. Simple answer...right?

Wrong.

Instead of learning from the experiences of others, I was treated to a series of opinions on the virtue of butter and how butter makes croissants taste - well - buttery, as if margarine tasted like soap or particle board. I was even remonstrated for even thinking such heretical things. Purists implored me to back away from the abyss and to abandon such silly ideas like using margarine.

Opinions are what I got. But what I didn't get, however, was an answer to my question.

PHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhht!, said I, refraining from pointing out to these same purists that 'real' croissants can only be made with a particular type of flour milled somewhere in France and that all-purpose flour was an abomination to all things croissant-y.

So, getting no satisfaction from anyone (it was just a question), I decided to find out for myself what the results would be. The results are outlined below for your information.

There are really three reasons why I wanted to make croissants using margarine and not butter. They are:

Margarine Croissants:

  1. dissolve yeast and a bit of sugar in a large bowl with some hot - not boiling - water and let rest for 10-15 minutes until frothy
  2. Add warm milk and the 25g of margarine to yeast and stir well
  3. Add the 1 tsp salt and the 1Tbsp sugar and stir
  4. Gradually add the 350-500g of flour and stir with wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  5. Turn dough onto lightly floured flat surface and knead for 8-10 minutes until the dough is elastic and smooth.
  6. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover with clean cloth and leave for about 45 minutes or until dough is springy.
  7. Once dough is springy or doubled in size, turn out onto surface and re-knead until smooth. Return it to lightly oiled bowl, cover it with the clean cloth and place in fridge for about 30 minutes.
  8. Then, roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle about 13-38 centimetres, although nobody's going to measure it.
  9. Dot some of the 100g of margarine evenly in rows across the dough.
  10. Fold the dough into thirds and lightly press down. Turn dough 90 degrees, roll until flat once more and place on a cookie sheet. Chill in fridge for 10-15 minutes.
  11. Remove from fridge and re-roll until you get back to the original 13-38 centimetre shape.
  12. Dot a bit more of the margarine evenly in rows across the dough. Fold into thirds and put back in the fridge.
  13. Remove from fridge and repeat steps 8 to 12 at least two more times.
  14. Remove dough from fridge and place on lightly floured surface.
  15. Using a very sharp knife, press down straight to cut the dough in half being careful not to drag the knife through the layers as the layers will come apart if you are not careful.
  16. Let the dough rest in situ for a few moments and then cut each half into six squares for a total of 12 squares.
  17. Take each square and cut from one corner to another to make a total of 24 triangles
  18. Roll each triangle until fairly flat. It's okay if one corner is longer than the others.
  19. From one corner, roll the triangle and place on lightly oiled baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining 23 triangles.
  20. Let the croissants rest on the baking sheets (you will need more than 1) covered and let rise for about 20 minutes.
  21. Place croissants in a 425°F oven for 15 minutes.
  22. Remove and enjoy.

Italian Nut and Spice Biscotti

(created by Ruth)

Makes about 20 pieces

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Lightly spray baking sheet with oil. Flour sheet generously.
  3. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, hazelnuts/filberts, and spices.
  4. In another small bowl, lightly beat eggs, egg whites, oil, and vanilla extract.
  5. Stir egg mixture into dry ingredients to form a dough. You may need to use a handmixer as the dough is likely to be rather dry. Ingredients can also be mixed in a food processor.
  6. Shape dough into a flat loaf and bake on the floured sheet for 30-35 minutes at 350°F.
  7. Remove from oven cut on an angle into 3/4 inch slices
  8. Place on clean baking sheet and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until crispy.
  9. Cool pieces on a wire rack.

Irish Soda Bread

(created by Ruth)

Makes 1 loaf

  1. Combine flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar together in a large bowl
  2. Rub in the margarine and stir in the milk to make a soft dough
  3. Mix the dough (it will be soft and airy) until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed

Crockpot method:

  1. Turn into lightly greased Pyrex or oven safe bowl
  2. Gently place bowl inside crockpot making sure the bowl does not touch bottom of crockpot
  3. Cover with tin foil and pour about 250 ml of water between the bowl and crockpot liner. This way, the bread can “steam” for the required time
  4. Turn the crockpot on “high” until the bread is dry to the touch, about 3-5 hours

NOTE: The bread will not bake into a crispy loaf as it would in a conventional oven. You will wind up with rather springy bread

Conventional oven:

  1. Place the loaf on a baking sheet and place in a preheated oven at 400°F for 25-30 minutes until risen and golden brown.
  2. Tap the base of the soda bread
  3. If it sounds hollow it is done

NOTE: As with all quick breads and especially soda breads, this loaf, no matter how it's cooked, will not keep much beyond a day. So, do plan on eating it within twenty-four hours.


Apple Pizza

(from Jane McKerroll)

Serves: 10

Pizza:

Topping:

For the pizza:

  1. Roll out dough
  2. Place on round pan
  3. Arrange apple slices on dough
  4. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and mix well
  5. Sprinkle over apples

For the topping:

  1. Combine flour, sugar and melted butter in a bowl
  2. Mix with hands until crumbly
  3. Sprinkle topping over the pizza

Bake pizza at 400°F for 20 minutes. Cut into slices and serve warm


Not Starbucks Iced Cap

(Ruth's One and Only)

  1. Blend everything until it's smooth and not too lumpy.

*Making frozen coffee is quite simple. First, make some coffee. Then, let it cool just long enough to fill an ice cube tray (without melting it). Freeze it without forgetting to tell others just what those brown things are.


Hilo Beans Vegetarian Chili

(invented by Adam)

  1. In a crockpot combine all ingredients.
  2. Set crockpot on low and cook for four hours or until cooked through.
  3. Serve with fresh bread.
  4. Serves at least four.

No Nonsense Chili

(invented by Adam)

  1. Brown the ground beef in a skillet until almost cooked.
  2. In a crockpot combine the cooked ground beef with all other ingredients.
  3. Set crockpot on low and cook for four hours or until cooked through.
  4. Serve with fresh bread.
  5. Serves four.

Chicken Dijon

(from Jane McKerroll)

  1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper
  2. Mix mustard into yogurt
  3. Mix breadcrumbs, thyme*, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
  4. Spread chicken with mustard/yogurt mixture.
  5. Roll chicken breasts into crumbs and place on lightly greased baking sheet
  6. Bake in oven at 350°F for 30-35 minutes until done**

* in place of thyme, you could use one fresh rosemary sprig per chicken breast

** this can also be used on bone-in chicken breasts but you'd have to bake them in the oven for 40-45 minutes.


Sweet Potato & Parsnip Soup

(invented by Ruth)

  1. Saute onion in a bit of vegetable oil until onions are translucent
  2. Place sweet potatoes and parsnips in a large pot with the beef broth
  3. Cook vegetables until very tender
  4. Place vegetables in a blender with a ladle of broth and puree until very smooth
  5. Add the 125mL of skim milk and puree until very smooth
  6. Return to pot and simmer approximately 5 minutes or until heated all the way through

Enjoy this sweet soup with a bit of thyme (optional). Storing whatever is left over (assuming there is any) in the fridge in a covered bowl will only intensify the flavours.


Canoeing Granola Bars

(also invented by Ruth)

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well
  2. In a large pot, heat corn syrup and peanut butter until well blended
  3. Take pot off heat and cool slightly before adding egg white
  4. Mix well and add dry mixture and mix well
  5. Place in a 13x9" lightly oiled baking pan or glass dish
  6. Sprinkle chocolate chips, if using
  7. Bake in oven at 350°F for 20 minutes

Very Low Fat Cheescake

by the one and only Ruth

  1. Press cookie crumbs/chocolate cake crumbs into a 9" spring-form pan to form the crust.
  2. *Make the yogurt cheese first. To do this, take a colander and line it with cheesecloth (note the irony) and place colander over a bowl (this is important).
  3. Pour 4 cups of 0% milkfat plain yogurt into the lined colander, cover and allow the whey to drain into the bowl overnight in the fridge.
  4. Remove yogurt cheese which should have the consistency of soft cream cheese and place it along with the 1 cup of tofutti "Better than Cream Cheese" in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Don't forget to discard the whey!
  6. Mix well with electric hand mixer.
  7. In another bowl, combine both sugars, cocoa powder, egg white, corn starch and vanilla until well blended.
  8. Combine contents of both bowls with electric mixer
  9. Preheat oven to 325°F
  10. Pour the batter into the 9" spring-form pan on top of the crust.
  11. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and let the cake cool. A crack (or three) will form; this is normal.
  13. When cake is cool, place in refrigerator, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

This cake makes 12 servings and each serving has approximately 250 calories and roughly 5 grams of fat.


Flax & Sunflower Seed Bread

(not invented, but certainly modified by Ruth)

  1. Activate the yeast in the water* with the liquid honey.
  2. Add oil, white flour and salt and mix well.
  3. Knead in the wholewheat flour, flax seed and unsalted sunflower seed. If the mixture is still too tacky (it probably will be) then add more white flour. DO NOT add any more wholewheat flour. I'll explain why in a bit.
  4. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead well, adding a bit more white flour as needed.
  5. Put into lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat the other side of the dough, cover and let rise until doubled (roughly 1 hour, depending on the temperature of the kitchen).
  6. When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch down, turn onto floured surface and knead until the air bubbles are more evenly distributed (that should take about 2-4 minutes).
  7. Divide the dough in half, shape into loaves and place in lightly oiled baking pans; dredge with flour for a soft crust
  8. Bake in a 350°F oven for 35-40 minutes.

*The most common error people make when making any kind of bread that contains yeast is using water (or whatever liquid is used) that is either too hot or too cold. Yeast is a living micro organism and, like all life forms on this planet, can only survive within a narrow range of conditions. Temperature is an important one for yeast! If you do not have a thermometer (you don't need one, actually), then making sure the liquid is hot enough for you to stick your finger in will work. Liquid that is too cold will not activate the yeast; liquid that is too hot will prematurely kill it.

As for not adding any more wholewheat flour during step 4, here is why. Kneading the dough actually has a purpose; to activate the gluten which is a protein found in a higher density per unit volume in white flour. Without kneading the bread dough, you will be lucky if you end up with something that is edible! The reason not to use more wholewheat flour is that it does not contain as much gluten per unit volume as white flour does.


Chewy Brownie Cookies

(not invented by Ruth)

  1. Combine Crisco, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in a large bowl - beat with electric mixer on low speed for one minute or until creamy.
  2. Add beaten eggs.
  3. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt - add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating on low speed about one minute or until just blended.
  4. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.
  5. Drop dough by heaping spoonfuls (about 30 ml or 2 tbsp) about 3" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake in oven at 350°F for 10 - 12 minutes.
  7. Cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheet, then remove to cooling rack.

Note: Cookies will still appear soft when baked, but will become crispy on the outside after cooling.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.


Whole Wheat Bannock

(not at all invented by Ruth)

  1. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. With fork stir in milk until evenly blended. Knead 10 to 12 times.
  3. Turn out onto lightly floured board; roll or pat into a circle about 1 1/2 inches thick.
  4. Bake on greased baking sheet at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.

Serve warm. (Note: plan to eat these when warm as they don't store well)

Makes 6 servings

Nutritional information: (without salt added)

Calories 195 | Carbohydrates 40g | Protein 7.4g | Fat 0.8g | Fibre 3.5g


Quick and Easy Mediterranean Bean Soup

(not invented by Ruth)

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Cook the onion until soft.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes, beans, broth, and basil (if using).
  5. Bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes.
  6. Partially puree the soup with an immersion blender and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Post Christmas Wonder Soup

(invented by Adam Hunt)

  1. In a large pot or Dutch Oven, saute the onion in a little oil on medium heat until the onion just starts to turn a light golden colour.
  2. Add the water/chicken flavoured soup mix or chicken broth and pinch of salt and let simmer for about 5-8 minutes.
  3. Heat up skim milk in microwave until it is hand hot.
  4. Remove milk from microwave and add mashed sweet potatoes.
  5. Using an immersion blender (a simple potato masher won't work), puree the skim milk/sweet potato mixture until you get the consistency you want.
  6. Add this to the simmering onion/liquid and re-mix.
  7. At this point, add the arborio rice and stir relentlessly on low simmer until reaching the desired consistency.
  8. Serve in bowls*

*Bowls are certainly the conventional container for soup but this dish can be rendered thick enough to be served as a side dish. Arborio rice is very starchy, which is why it is used in risotto dishes. If you have to use a knife at any time, you have overcooked the dish.


Lemon Cake Dessert*

(from Jane McKerroll)

  1. Mix first 4 ingredients and spread in greased 9 x 13 cake pan.
  2. Spread 1 can lemon pie filling over top of batter.
  3. Bake at 325°F for 40 – 45 minutes.
  4. You may top dessert with whipped cream or cool whip, if desired.
  5. Freezes well.

*This is an excellent and very light dessert. The fact that this freezes well is a perfect invitation to make a double batch. Serve one and freeze the other. This cuts down on the amount of work you would have to do. Imagine having a dinner party, serving this scrumptious dessert and just knowing that there is an extra one in the freezer for a birthday party you are planning on having in a few weeks. Can you tell we really REALLY liked it???


Ruth's Mother's Beef Stew

by Ruth's mother (d-uh)

This is a stew which can be cooked in a regular stockpot, but is perfect for the crockpot. If you do use a crockpot, however, you will need a frying pan to first brown the beef cubes. Ideally, you would make this stew for a family of four but as this stew tastes great the next day after being refrigerated (avoid freezing this since it contains potatoes), it's easy to portion it out for lunch, have it for dinner again...et cetera... Yes, it will keep in the refrigerator for about a week, provided you haven't devoured it all by then!

For about 4 to 6 servings, you will need:

  1. Place flour in a ziploc bag, along with any spices you would like to add (ie pepper, salt even ginger would work, but don't use a lot of ginger). Rinse the beef chunks and then place them in the ziploc bag. Shake to coat the beef chunks and place them in the stockpot. If you are using a crockpot, you will first need to brown the beef in a frying pan or griddle.
  2. When the beef is coated, cook the beef on medium high just until lightly browned. Then, if using a stockpot, add the water and all the remaining vegetables, bring to a boil, lower the heat and let simmer very gently for about 3-6 hours.
  3. If using a crockpot, place the vegetables in the crockpot first, followed by the beef chunks, any spices, the water and the bay leaves. As water does not "boil away" in crockpots, you may want to reduce the amount of water by about 1/4. Turn the crockpot on "low" and let it cook over a period of about 8-10 hours.
  4. Enjoy this with some homemade bread, especially on a cold winter's night!

*Parsnips are lovely in this stew but their fresh sweet flavour can be overpowering. Generally, the more stew you are making, the more parsnips you can use.

*Although this stew had traditionally been made with OXO cubes or even Knorr Swiss beef flavoured powders, these both contain a very high amount of sodium which can contribute to hypertension, darkening of nose hairs, moodswings, split ends, spontaneous decapitation and an incredible urge to buy all the Don Ho records at your local Salvation Army store. This can be avoided by making your own beef stock, using only half an OXO cube or by purchasing some of those foil-lined broth boxes, which are available in a low sodium variety.


The Spanish Inquisition

(Very Much Invented by Ruth)

  1. Cook the chicken breasts in a skillet until the juices run clear and there is no pink inside.
  2. Add the broccoli and the unreconstituted cream of chicken soup.
  3. Meanwhile, in another pot, cook the scrubbed and (preferably) unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes in a large pot with lots of water (at least 1 inch over the top of the potatoes).
  4. While they're boiling away, heat the creamed corn* in another pot on low heat. Do not let the corn boil as it scorches very easily. The idea is just to heat it all the way through.
  5. When the chicken/broccoli/cream of chicken soup mixture is thoroughly heated (the corn will also be heated through), remove them both from stove just to avoid overcooking.
  6. When the potatoes are cooked all the way through, drain as much of the water as possible. Mash the potatoes, add the grated parmesan cheese and puree the daylights out of 'em (a hand mixer is useful here).
  7. Add any extra salt or pepper you desire.
  8. In a casserole dish, spoon the chicken/broccoli/cream of chicken soup to form the bottom layer.
  9. Add the creamed corn and then top with the pureed parmesan potatoes.
  10. Dot the potato layer with the quarter sized pieces of parmesan and broil until the cheese is bubbly and the potatoes are just golden coloured.

Serve with great delight, knowing that nobody would ever have expected this!

*The use of creamed corn tended to result in a somewhat watery casserole. While this is still a very good dish, it would probably hold up better if you were to use ordinary canned corn (drained) and not the creamed corn.


Shortbread for All

(From the back of a CANADA Corn Starch box)

  1. Sift together corn starch, icing sugar and flour. With a wooden spoon, blend in butter until soft, smooth dough forms.
  2. Shape into 1 in (2.5 cm) balls. If dough is too soft to handle, cover and chill in fridge 30-60 minutes.
  3. Place 11/2 (4cm) apart on ungreased cookie sheet; flatten with lightly floured fork.
  4. Alternatively, roll dough to 1/4in (6mm); cut into shapes with cookie cutters.
  5. Decorate with candied cherries, coloured sprinkles or nuts if desired.
  6. Bake in 300°F (150°C) oven 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
  7. Cool on wire rack.

Makes about 24 cookies.


Brownie Bites

Highly modified by Ruth

You will need:

OPTIONS**

Now do the following (you want that second date, don't you?):

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Stir together all the dry ingredients in one bowl and set aside.
  3. Beat together brown sugar, prune butter*, yogurt and egg whites in large bowl with electric mixer.
  4. Stir dry ingredients until combined.
  5. Pour batter into one 8x8 square baking pan and bake for 18-20 minutes. To check for done-ness, insert toothpick into the centre. If a few "moist" crumbs remain, then the brownies are done.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool atop a wire rack for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Cut into 16 pieces

Nutritional information: One brownie contains (roughly)

Calories 141 | Saturated fat 1g | Total fat 4.5g | Cholesterol 0mg | Sodium 51mg | Total carbohydrates 25g | Fibre 1g | Protein 2g

*PRUNE BUTTER

You can either use baby food or else buy a bag of prunes and simmer about 5 or 6 in about 1/4 cup of water and a tablespoon of sugar. When the prunes are sufficiently mushy, snip them and then puree them (an immersion blender works really well) until you get, well, prune butter.

If you neither have nor desire prunes, then you can substitute dried cranberries. I have used a combination of prunes and raspberry dried cranberries (available at most bulk stores)

**OPTIONS

To keep these brownies a low-fat treat, cooks use a typically high fat ingredient and make it the main showcase. In this case, using the small amount of chocolate chips and walnuts as a topping, rather than as something mixed in. However, you need not use anything at all. No, really, it's true!


Basic Lentil Dip

(From someone we met at a recent winter party)

You will need:

You must then do:

OPTIONS:

  1. For a thicker dip, add up to 1 cup of pressed yogurt (yogurt cheese*)
  2. 2 Tbsp olive oil

*Yogurt cheese:

Line a colander with at least two layers of cheesecloth and add anywhere from 1-3 cups of yogurt (n.b. NOT fat free yogurt as it will drain completely through - stick to using regular yogurt)

Fold over the cheesecloth and weigh the mass down (with a plate, for example) to "force" (read: gently encourage) the whey from the yogurt to drain. Place the colander (with a plate underneath to catch any whey) in the refrigerator and let it sit overnight. In the morning, you will have yogurt cheese.



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