Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Kids


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Black Bean Brownies

I got the original recipe from the Reluctant Entertainer blog whom I think got it from Bush's beans. I, like usual, did my own thing and played with the recipe.


1 can of black beans
3/4 cup of whole wheat flour
1/3 cup of cocoa powder
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 cup of brown sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
1/4 cup of plain yogurt (I didn't have any plain so I used sour cream)
1 tsp of vanilla
1 cup of unsweetened applesauce ( I used my grandma's applesauce and it is slightly sweetened)
1 cup of sour cherries (I used ones we had preserved from last year but it isn't a necessity,
substitute chocolate chips or nuts or leave out entirely)
3/4 cup of bran -one of my additions- not necessary
2 tbsp of salba - one of my additions- not necessary

Heat oven to 350F. Rinse the black beans and drain. Place the beans and applesauce in a food processor and process until a paste. In a large bowl add the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda, mix well. Add the sugar and black bean/applesauce mash in and mix well. Add yogurt, vanilla and any other additions and mix well. Grease a 8 inch square pan and spread mixture in the pan. Cook for 25-30 min or until you can stick a toothpick in the brownies and it comes out clean. Once cooled, refrigerate the brownies.....I learned this the hard way and lost the last bit of my batch to mold.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cooking for my kids

I like to cook but my cooking experiences were found in fine dining restaurants where butter and cream are used in everything. When I had kids my focus shifted to wholesome, well balanced meals with lots of vegetables. But this was difficult for me to achieve, I have three children, a boy of four and twin girls of three. My kids are only 16 months apart, I had three kids under the age of two when my daughters were born. On top of that I ran an in-home daycare, when the twins turned one, in which I accepted two more children into my home, one was only two and the other was three months. So at that time I had five kids under the age of three, it was a very busy time and finding the time to prepare and make dinner was almost impossible. So a lot of times we ended up eating convenience meals that all I needed to do was heat up. I felt terrible about this, I worked so hard to make sure my kids ate well all day, I switched all our cleaning materials to natural products, all of our personal care items became natural and we planted a vegetable garden, all to give our kids the best start and here I was giving them meals loaded in fat and sodium.

To help myself feel better though and to make it so we weren't wasting food, if I saw an item that was going off I would puree it up and freeze it in our ice cube trays. Spinach was a big one, I would buy the huge box of spinach and as it reached its best before date I would boil it all up, strain it then squish it into the ice cube trays. Cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini were all others that I pureed up on a regular basis. I also keep cans of beans around, flax seeds and ground flax. If I was cooking a can of spaghetti-0's I would add two cubes of spinach and a few tablespoons of ground flax. Feeding the children macaroni and cheese, throw in a few cauliflower cubes, ground flax and white kidney beans. It really helped me to feel like I wasn't feeding the kids poorly.

If you are a follower of my blog you will notice that the techniques I employed while the kids were younger still apply today. I am often "juicing up" recipes that I find to make them healthier for the kids. I cook a lot of vegetarian, the meat we buy if from a local farmer and is all pasture raised. I am experimenting with different grains and trying to make these meals quick as well as healthy.

Today I tried black bean brownies, they are hardly sweetened except with a bit of cherries, applesauce and brown sugar. I added Salba and bran to the mix to bring up the fiber and to add Omega 3. They are cooking right now and smell really tasty. If it works out, I'll let you know!

Chili Meatloaf

Got this recipe from Canadian living. As per usual I juiced it up a little bit and took some short cuts. It is tasty!!!


1 onion diced
1 green pepper diced
2 garlic cloves minced
1 egg
1/2 package of taco seasoning
1 lb of ground beef
1/2 cup of bread crumbs
1/2 cup of salsa
1 can of red kidney beans drained
1 cup of fresh spinach (or 1/2 cup of thawed, frozen spinach)
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese


Put all the ingredients, except the cheese, in a large bowl and mix together well. Then place in a loaf pan (mine fit into two pans) or form into a loaf on a parchment lined baking sheet (don't use a cookie sheet or the grease will get all over your oven). Coat with the shredded cheese and bake at 350F for 50-60 min.

I accidentally poured too much salsa in (I hate measuring things) and mine is a bit runny......but SO tasty!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rain, rain go away....

We have had rain here for almost a week now. Fog and grey clouds, while I love the colour contrast with the bright green grass and new leaves, I ache to get out and finish the new garden I started digging. It has taken me longer to dig out then I thought because I have been trying to save the sod to put in some spots that the grass has a hard time growing and their are a whole heck of a lot of cedar roots from a hedge that used to be there.

My husband also has tilled our vegetable garden but that hasn't been planted yet either because of all the rain. I cant really complain though because we have no issues with flooding like other parts of the country are experiencing.

In my new garden I am going to be planting bergemot, thyme, sage, chamomile, yarrow, primrose, boneset, borage, feverfew and meadowsweet. I already have some butterfly bushes and rose bushes in the area. I want to make a butterfly/sweet smelling/herbal healing garden. I eventually want to put a bench there and make it my quiet reading spot and I want to attract butterflies and bees to it as well. But I would like it to be functional also.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spanish Barley Salad

I love using barley, I find it so much more filling and healthy then rice. I also love Spanish flavors, especially this time of year when the weather is getting warmer. This meal is quick and easy!


2 cups of uncooked barley
1 can of black beans (drained)
1 can of corn kernels (drained)
1 red pepper diced
1 cup of diced cucumber
1 cup of cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 small white onion diced
3 garlic cloves minced
half a package of taco seasoning (I cheated because we didn't have any cumin but instead you could do 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp of chili powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp of paprika)
2 tbsp olive oil (or any veg oil)
2 tbsp of lime juice
a few dashes of pepper
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro

(for hot! add a diced jalapeno pepper)


cook the barely as per the directions you have ( I make mine in my rice cooker but it takes like double the water then doing it in a pot). Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well then add the barley (it can be warm still, it doesn't affect the salad) and mix well again. Let sit of about 15 min to let the flavors really blend. Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Robins nesting on our deck

We have this lovely robins nest built on our deck. Its right outside our kitchen window. I had watched them build it and debated taking the plant holder down so that they couldn't continue but the way I look at it the robins will only be here for about a month and its a great learning experience for the kids.
So I zip tied the plant holder to the deck railing because just days before the first egg was laid we had a major wind storm that knocked the whole thing over. I wasn't sure they would come back, but they did so I secured it this time to be safe.

I think the kids are going to get a real kick out of watching this whole process and the best part is we don't have to disturb them at all we can watch from our kitchen.