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Just another Market

October 6, 2011

As promised, one of the first things I’ve tried with my Apple Butter.  I’m back into the Breakfast cookie, and peanut butter with the apple butter is perfect with coffee.

I hate to sound like a broken record but I love me a good farmers market.

You already know that though because I tend to repeat myself.

I’ve lived in 4 different cities in less than 2 1/2 years so I become a bit scattered at times.

That’s 4 different cities to search out the best farmers markets. I’m good at it but it can be boring to anyone having to hear about it.

I’m sorry.  I really am. Just this once more.

Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market is one of my favourite.

Of course there are always the bakery’s that I somehow seem to gravitate to first.

Loads of fresh fruit

The peppers were gorgeous and I wish I had my barbecue to make a big batch of roasted peppers for the winter.

Then there are the apples..

I can make a meal out of squash for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  No problem.

Why eat boring old white cauliflower?

I paid $6 for 2 of these beets just because they look so awesome.

I’ve decided the St. Lawrence Market has the best selection of cheeses I’ve ever seen.

What’s the best market you’ve been to? 


Apple Butter in the Crock Pot

October 2, 2011

Happy October!

I’m loving the chilly fresh air.

I’m loving the mean-spirited Canadians on Come dine with me.

I’m loving this new gravity class.

I’m loving this funny cat that sleeps on his back.

I’m loving this great view we have from our balcony.

And I’m really loving my crock pot right now. It’s the one appliance I pull out and dust off once fall hits. Last weekend after apple picking, the one thing I was intent on making was apple butter.  I’ve always thought apple butter was like apple sauce on crack! Thicker, richer, spicier and just so much betterer.  Also super easy to make.

Even though this recipe took 24 hrs from start to end, your crock pot is doing most of the work so don’t let the time scare you away from making this.

Apple Butter in the Crock Pot

**6 cups apple sauce

3/4 cups honey

1 1/2 cups apple juice (or apple cider)

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t allspice

1/2 t cloves


** Peel and roughly chop 12-14 apples. I used mostly honey crisps but use whatever you have in season. Add the apples along with 1/2 cup of water to your crock pot and cook on low for 10-12 hours.  Once done you should be able to just stir the apples with a wooden spoon and have a perfect sauce.

Leave the sauce in the crock pot and add the honey, apple juice and spices. Stir well and cook on low for another 10-12 hours.

If the apple butter looks a bit watery then remove the lid from the pot and cook on low for another 4 hours or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the butter has thickened.

This batch filled two 500 ml mason jars. One jar I sterilized and boiled to seal but the other I just refrigerated which should last 6-8 weeks.

l’ll post our favourite ways to eat apple butter this week.

Do you have any favourite ways to eat apple butter?

Apple Cake with Banana Streusel

September 29, 2011

Some things never change.

4 times a year I eagerly await the abundance of the season.

I can eat 5 navel oranges a day once Christmas begins to approach.

Spring brings rhubarb and asparagus.

Any berry will do in the summer.

My favourite of all though is the hearty fruits and veggies that come with our Canadian climate.  First I’ll start with what perhaps Canada is most famous for as far as fruit goes. Apples.

We went to Berryview Farms in Caledon, Ontario this weekend to pick our own apples. There’s something so therapeutic about apple picking. The man and I got lost in dreams of owning our own small farm and living off the land.  Of course, only if there’s a Starbucks near by!

I did a little experimenting with this cake and tried to cut both the sugar and fat.  I cut the sugar by adding a banana to the batter and eliminated butter in the streusal by using an almost green banana instead.

Apple Cake with Banana Streusel

Starting from the beginning we have…Honey crisp, Cortland, Golden delicious, Macintosh and Gala.

  • 6 cups diced apples (I used Gala)
  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 over ripe banana heated until very soft in the microwave (about 1 min)
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup quinoa flour (I grind my quinoa in the magic bullet but it can be found in bulk barn and health food stores or use regular flour)
  • 1 cup white all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t each nutmeg, cloves and ginger
  • 1 t cinnamon

Streusel topping

    • 2 cups oats
    • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 t salt
    • 1 t cinnamon
    • 2 small very ripe bananas diced


      • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
      • Begin by dicing the apples fairly small and place them in a large bowl. I peeled them but it’s not necessary. Set aside.
      • Blend softened butter, sugar and microwaved banana until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and eggs and blend well again.
      • Add the rest of the ingredients except apples and mix just until combined.
      • Pour the batter over the apples and stir just until combined.
      • Pour the batter into a 9 X 13 baking pan lined with parchment paper.
      • Prepare streusel by combining all ingredients including the almost green diced banana.

        Using your hands (or pulsed in a food processor) rub the banana pieces into the oat mixture the same way you would if it were butter. Continue to do this until the streusel is crumbly. Pour this evenly over the cake batter and bake for 30-40 minutes depending on your oven. Check the middle of the cake with a knife for doneness.

Even though I worried that I’d overdone it with the apples, the man and Jojo wanted more.  You could easily get away with adding another cup or even two.

The streusel topping obviously won’t be as light and buttery using bananas but I was really surprised by how well this worked and next time I’m going to freeze the chopped bananas until half-frozen and use a food processor to pulse the crumble.

What’s you’re favourite fall veggie or fruit?

Sugar free Banana Millet bread

September 26, 2011

With the serious summer heat behind us I’m finally starting to feel the workout bug again.  I managed to log close to 4 miles of running on the treadmill in my first two days at a new gym which is more than I’d planned.   My goal was to gently complete a mile and then do some light weights.

I rarely listen to myself. Instead I get there…I feel good…I run hard…I lift like I did 3 months ago…and today I am in pain.

Pain even when not in motion. Pain as in “Oh my dear God I have to pee”.  Lowering one self onto the toilet is the worst pain of all.  Yes I know. Too much information.

With my new (or back to the old) regime, I’m adding a couple of new workouts for motivation.  First I’m finally going to give Bikram a go. Second, I’d like to add a spin class or two back into my workout and third, maybe a class in TRX.    I know summer is motivating for most people but I find hunkering down and keeping warm in doors a good reason to try new activities so that I stay active over the winter.

In the meantime, High park is getting ready for fall and the man and I have put in some walking miles while enjoying the scenery.

I walked slow…it hurt.

I’m also trying to lower the sugar in my baking. I’ll be using some tricks here and there but for this bread I just left it out completely to see what would happen.

Sugar free Banana Millet Bread

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3 large overripe bananas (the more overripe the sweeter the banana)

4 eggs

1/3 cup each olive and coconut (or 2/3 cup 1 type of oil)

2 t vanilla

1 cup milk (or milk substitution)

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup millet

2 t baking soda

1 T baking powder

2 t cinnamon

1 t cardamom

1/2 t salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by blending the bananas, eggs, vanilla, oils and milk until smooth.

In a large bowl add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.

Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until combined.

Pour into a greased bundt pan (or any baking pan) and bake until a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Depending on the baking pan used, the timing will change but be careful not to over cook this as it dries out quickly from the lack of sugar.  The bundt cake only took 20-25 minutes.

I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so I loved this cake, especially the crunch you get from the millet.  It’s perfect with coffee for breakfast or an afternoon snack. The man noticed the lack of sweetness right away. That hasn’t stopped him from finishing most of it with peanut butter on top though.  If you’re watching your sugar intake give it a try and it freezes well.

Nutty Barley Salad

September 22, 2011
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For some people a rainy day seems glum, grey and downright depressing.

I love the rain.  I love lightning and thunder and I especially love  rain, lightning and thunder while being alone at home.

Is that weird?  Then I’m ok with being weird because yesterday was a good day.

I felt like making something hearty with the cooler weather and wanted to use up some vegetables that I had ignored all weekend.

Nutty Barley Salad

  • 6 cups of cooked barley (2 cups barley cooked in 9 cups of water)
  • 1 bunch scallions sliced thinly
  • 4 small/medium carrots peeled and diced
  • 4 stalks of celery diced
  • 2 cherry peppers diced
  • 1/2 cup each almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds toasted and roughly chopped


  • 2 t cumin
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 t onion powder
  • 1 large tomato stem removed and cut into quarters
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/4 cup water


Boil 9 cups of water in a large stock pot.  Add 2 cups of barley to boiling water and simmer until barley is tender but still chewy.   Drain and set aside until cooled.

Add barley and all other ingredients to a large bowl and toss well.

Prepare dressing by placing all ingredients into a blender (I used the magic blender) and pour over salad. Mix well.

This is vegan and gluten-free.  I added no oil to the dressing since there’s a good amount of nuts in the salad. You may at first think there is too much dressing but the next day you’ll find that the barley has sucked up most of the liquid.  This will keep for 4-5 days.

Edamame hummus

September 19, 2011

We’re hummus eaters. Steve in particular can put it back.

Honestly, I’ve never seen anyone consume copious amounts of any bean product like this guy.

Then guess what happens? I get text messages the following day with complaints of serious stomach problems.

Ya think??

My girlfriend served this hummus a few weeks ago which she purchased from Costco. It was delicious. I had to make it and I wondered if this little substitution would solve the future bean issues I will inevitably hear about.

Per 1/2 cup:  Edamame                                    Per 1/2 cup: Chick peas

  • 100-130 calories                                      143 calories
  • 9 g carbohydrate                                      27 g carbohydrate
  • 8-11 g protein                                            6 g protein
  • 3 g fat                                                           1.5 g fat
  • 4 g fiber                                                       5 g fiber

Nope. Get out the beano!

Edamame Hummus

  • 2 bags of frozen edamame 454g or two 1 lb bags (leave the bag on the counter for 1 hour to defrost)
  • *1 large head of roasted garlic
  • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 3 t salt
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 cup water or more if you prefer a thinner consistency
  • 2 T oil
  • the juice of 1 or 2 lemons depending on how tart you like it


*to prepare roasted garlic, slice the head off at the pointy side.  Pour 1 tsp of olive oil over the head of garlic and wrap in a small piece of foil.  Bake at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Unwrap the foil and when garlic has cooled, simply squeeze the soft cloves out of the skin.

Begin by adding the edamame into a food processor and pulse a few times.

Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until very smooth. This makes a very thick hummus which is how we like it but feel free to add more water or olive oil to thin it out.

This made a big batch which I always do with hummus because it freezes so well. Use it for a dip with falafels, veggies or tortillas, make a roasted vegetable sandwich spread thick with hummus or eat with a spoon like the man does.

But I warned you.

Little Surprises

September 16, 2011

I don’t know about you but I have a habit of getting comfortable with my likes and dislikes and almost trying to stick with them.

I thought I hated brussel sprouts.  Now I eat 4-5 lbs a week.

I thought I would never be uncool enough to take adult dance lesson. Now the man and I are salsa-ing with new salsa shoes which make me feel…salsa sexy.

I thought I liked Dr. Phil cause Oprah does. I thought wrong.

I totally thought I wasn’t a cat person.

Our new adopted kitty.  Meet Leroy.

That’s bad, bad, Leroy Brown, baddest cat in the whole damn town.  Doesn’t he look bad?

Apparently I do like cats.   This cat has me wrapped.

For any of you who could have sworn they didn’t like tofu, you need to try this and step out of the ‘I thought I didn’t’ box.

Tofu Curry with Lentils

  • 1 T ghee (butter or oil)
  • 2 onions quartered
  • 2 carrots peeled
  • 2 hot peppers
  • 1 large piece of ginger (about 2″)
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup red curry paste
  • 1 T curry powder
  • 1 large red pepper sliced into strips
  • 2 1/2 cups green peas (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 blocks of extra firm tofu cut into bite size pieces  (frozen, defrosted and excess water squeezed out)
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • juice of 1 lemon


  1. heat your oil in a large pot.
  2. Place onions, carrots, hot peppers, ginger and garlic into a food processor and blend until you have a watery paste.
  3. Drain most of the water from the vegetable mash and then pour over the hot oil.
  4. Lower the heat to medium and let the veggies cook stirring once in a while until they begin to stick which should take about 15 minutes. Add the curry paste and powder and stir well.
  5. Add the red pepper, peas, tofu, lentils, coconut milk and water.
  6. Let this simmer uncovered for at least an hour making sure to stir every once in a while.
  7. Once the curry is tender and has thickened, add salt and lemon juice.   Now is the time to taste and more if you like.

You can serve this on brown rice, quinoa, barley or nothing at all since it’s full of lentils.  I served it with plain yogurt and whole wheat pitas.

If you love curry like we do then just make this. Make it even if you think you won’t  like it.  You will.    :0)

What has surprised you about you lately?