Monday, September 5, 2016

Back-to-School With Pulses: Carrot Lentil Muffins & Spaghetti with Chickpea Tomato Sauce



Backpacks are bursting with pencils and notebooks as the kids head back to school this week.  The excitement of a fresh start is in the air, and with this fresh start comes a shift in focus on how we eat.  Meals need to be simple and quick, yet nutritious and tasty.  We want snacks to be healthy, and yet we don't want to find them lingering in the bottom of the lunch bag at the end of the day.  That's where pulses come in handy.  2016 in International Year of Pulses (lentils, chickpeas, dried peas and beans), and if you have yet to take the Pulse Pledge, I urge you to do so and peruse the website for all kinds of fantastic ways to incorporate pulses into your back-to-school menu plans.  You basically sign up to eat 1/2 cup of pulses a week, which is so easy to do.  Bursting with protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, pulses are essentially superfoods.  They are good for the heart, manage blood sugar levels and help in weight management.  Gluten free and vegetarian, pulses are tremendously versatile.  I love adding them to just about everything: main dishes, breakfast, as a side dish and even dessert.  One of their many positive attributes is they take on the flavour of whatever you cook them with.  Plus, they are a super affordable source of protein.  One pound of lentils is a fraction of what 1 pound of ground beef costs.  These things matter when it comes to feeding a family.  Pulses are also super good for the environment.  They fix their own nitrogen in the soil, making them a sustainable crop.  Highly water-efficient, they enrich the soil where they grow.  Canada is the world's largest producer and exporter of pulses, and if you took a road trip across Saskatchewan this summer, I bet you drove by a lentil field and didn't even know it. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Just in Time: Honey Lime Peach Tart



Every time I look at the calendar I have to blink a few times.  Is it really September already?  Summer certainly gets a speeding ticket.  It seems like yesterday when I was putting the finishing touches on the cookbook edits and summer was waiting in the wings.  Today I'm wearing socks and on my third cup of tea.  Fall is in the air, but I'm not too keen to rush into the sweaters and scarves and pumpkin pie just yet.  There are 6 months of that to come.  For me, it's still ice cream and all of the seasonal fruit that I love so much.  Peaches, nectarines, Concord grapes, strawberries.  I can't even look at a pumpkin as long as these are still around!  I wait all winter for summer to come, so you better believe I'll hold on as long as I can.  But, I'm no fool.  The smell of fall is wafting around, and the first golden leaves are falling.  I do like these end of summer days, and can certainly feel a transition happening.  Most of our lives are spent in transition.  The sweet passing moments between the moments; the rhythmic flows between the words.  Let's love the transitions like they're destinations.  Let's put all the worries and stress aside and just appreciate how nicely the sun goes down. And how tasty that ice cream is.  And how good it feels to have the hand of someone you love holding your own.    


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Summer Lovin': Links and Other Good Stuff to Tell You



"Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."  ~  Henry James

So, the calendar says it's August 20th and I can't quite believe it.  Time has flown by this summer and I feel like I wanted to accomplish so much more than I did, but that's pretty much how I always feel once the last days of summer are upon us.  One thing is for sure, I've eaten this Caprese Salad every day for lunch this past week, because Summer and Tomatoes.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Love! Links! Plus, Sour Cherry & Chocolate Scones!



"Millions and millions of years would still not give me half enough time to describe that tiny instant of all eternity when you put your arms around me and I put my arms around you."  ~ Jacques Prévert

Hello.  It's me.  Renée.  The blogger who has been missing in action for quite some time.  It's been forever since I last posted, and what can I say?  The summer has been keeping me occupied - with cookbook edits and work and the yard and visitors and small bits of travel here and there.  Oh, and I'm in love.  With a handsome, kind, sweet, funny man who lights up my life every single day.  This is the kind of love I've been looking for, and just when I had nearly given up hope on finding it, there he was, right under my nose.  I'm terribly happy.  The kind of happy that makes people tell you you're glowing.  The kind of happy where you can't stop smiling.  It's been nearly 3 months and I'm glowing and smiling all the time.  But, especially with him.  When we're together it's kittens and rainbows and lightning bolts and, well, magic.  It's love.  So, now that you know my story do you forgive me for my absence?  I thought so. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Grilled Portabella Mushroom Salad with Halloumi and Quinoa



Did you greet the arrival of summer with a great big grin like I did?  Oh, what a feeling!  Things have been bonkers busy around here for the month of June.  My mom came to visit for a few days, then I was consumed with working on the first round of edits for my cookbook - and now I'm on to round two.  With not much time on my hands, meals have been quick and simple, and that's another reason I love this time of year so very much - you can throw stuff on the grill and dinner is essentially done.  Take this salad I made for the fine folks over at Mushrooms Canada.  I grilled some meaty portabella mushrooms and thick slices of halloumi cheese, which I then served over a mixture of quinoa, arugula and plenty of herbs from my kitchen garden.  The result was a delicious, healthy and satisfying summer salad.  For the recipe, head to the Mushrooms Canada blog.  Enjoy these days, friends.  I'll be back soon, once the edits are done and I have just a little more time on my hands.   Until then, eat all the ice cream and wish on the shooting stars.



Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Fire Roasted Tomato Stuffed Peppers & A Muir Glen Giveaway!



With the recent glorious weather here in Saskatoon, can I just say how much I love eating outside?   Last night it was dinner and this morning it was breakfast.  There is something quite spectacular about sipping coffee while the robins sing from the treetops.  As the sun shone  through the leaves, falling on my rock garden, it’s as if the ferns were unfurling before my eyes.  This summer stuff is going to be good stuff.  I’ve got a feeling.  


Friday, May 13, 2016

Batch: Fermented Pancakes with Maple Syrup with Dried Blueberries



I know it's just the middle of May, but aren't you getting excited about summer?  I know I am.  The grass and trees have burst into all of their verdant glory, and my perennials are shooting up from the ground.  I can't wait until my yard is in full bloom.  Better yet, I can't wait until all of the glorious produce is in season.  My favourite farmer has been supplying me with just-picked asparagus, so for the past week I've been eating it daily.  And I figure I will be doing so for the next month or so.  This is also the time to think about what I want to preserve this year.  Sure, apple butter and plum jam are a given, using the fruit from my backyard, but a new cookbook has landed on my doorstep recently and it has made me want to preserve all of the things.  I have a feeling my canner is going to be busy!!




Many of you may already know the blogging duo Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison from Well Preserved, a Toronto-based blog devoted to preserving.  They've recently launched Batch:  Over 200 Recipes, Tips & Techniques For a Well Preserved Kitchen from Appetite by Random House and if any of you have any inclination to preserve anything this summer and fall, this is a must-have for your kitchen.  With beautiful photographs and well-written recipes, plus loads of tips and instructions, the cookbook covers 7 methods of preserving:  dehydrating, cellaring, fermenting, canning, salting, smoking and infusing.  So many options for so many things.  I'm dying to try the Charred Pickled Beets and the Chili Infused Vodka.  Roasted Apricot Vanilla Jam sounds like it would be absolutely divine on scones, and I've always wanted to make Kimchi, and now I have the recipe at my fingertips.  The variety of recipes in this cookbook is impressive, and I know it will be a wonderful resource for many years to come. Congratulations Joel and Dana on an impressive achievement.  You should be very proud!




My love of breakfast, brunch and pancakes is no secret, so my first recipe selection from Batch is Fermented Pancakes with Maple Syrup with Dried Blueberries on page 140.  You might be like, what?  And I'm like, trust me, these are killer.  I first stirred together buttermilk and flour, let it rest on the counter for about 24 hours, then I stirred in some egg yolks and the usual suspects into the batter.  The beaten egg whites at the end gave them a nice lift, but these aren't your traditional pancakes.  With their slight tang and light, almost bubbly texture, they remind me a little bit of the Ethiopian bread injera.  Smothered in a blueberry-infused maple syrup and topped with fresh fruit, I loved every bite.  This may just be my new go-to pancake recipe.  I made them bigger than the recipe called for - partly to save time and partly because I wanted nice, round pancakes.  The batter is quite thin, so the small ones ran into each other.  But, who doesn't like big pancakes!




I'm so happy that Joel, Dana and Appetite by Random House have generously offered one copy of Batch to a lucky reader.  Simply leave a comment below telling me what you plan on preserving this year and a winner will be chosen randomly.

Other wonderful food bloggers are also participating in the giveaway, so be sure to stop by the following for another chance to win!  My lucky winner will be chosen on Monday May 16th, so enter soon!  And happy preserving! 

Getty at GettyStewart.com
Mardi at eat. live. travel. write.
Jan at Family Bites
Kelly at KellyNeil.com 
Amy at Family Feedbag

Valeria at A Canadian Foodie
Isabelle at Crumb
Food Bloggers of Canada 


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