Kale & Sausage Soup

Tuscan Kale & Lentil Stew with chicken sausage Winter in Chicago just wouldn’t be winter without a polar vortex!  Baby it's cold outside and it's time to dream of Tuscany and make a hearty Tuscan Kale & Lentil Stew!!   I love how we now use marketing buzz words seasonal weather! I grew in Canada where we simply call this kind of weather WINTER!! Hahaha!! Nonetheless as Christmas nears not even this incoming blast of cold can change the spirits at our house.  With this cold front coming in and a thousand things to do better the big day, I wanted something quick and easy to make that we could all enjoy. Every morning the girls count the number of days on the calendar left until the big night that good old Santa will make his annual visit. They have had me check the chimney to make sure it’s clean (even though we have an electric fireplace) and clear for him to come down. The lead up to the big day is almost as exciting as the big day itself with the final week of school … [Read more...]

Spicy Parsnip Soup

The weather has is grey and dreary, I am battling a head cold and as a result have little energy for fancy food prep plus I have a bag of parsnip and 2 sad carrots that need to get used ASAP! What to do? Why make a soup of course!! Soups are my go to lunches and sometimes dinners in the fall/winter because they are generally quick to throw together, easily digested and most importantly …. keep me warm! I find I am permanently cold in winter so my stove stop is often brewing, boiling, cooking something to warm me up! This soup is perfect in so many ways. It is creamy, smells amazing, a little spicy thanks to the ginger and fills me up! Parsnips are often a by passed veg but they are so similar to carrots only a little sweeter. Not sure why they get passed up! They go great in soup especially in ones like this one that is pureed, they lend a nice creamy texture to the soup. Parsnips are high in fiber, nutrients and minerals (super high in potassium). They are a good root vegetable … [Read more...]

Detox Oatmeal Cookie

Detox oatmeal cookies maybe I need to find a new name for this recipe because I know it sounds like an oxymoron right?? One should probably take a break from all cookies during a detox right?  Or what are you adding to these "treats". Stay with me!  We are still on a high from the fun of the festivities (and several helpings of pie, cookies and sweets), my kids get crazy grumpy when I suggest we take a break from dessert or treats.  Who wouldn't right?? Oats, chia and flax to the rescue!  Instead of saying we're going to skip dessert, I offer them some healthier options. These"detox" oatmeal cookies are my solution to the kiddos dessert while still giving them a good dose of fiber, healthy fats and vitamins. This is one of desserts or "treats" on rotation for the next few weeks and probably in the new year as well.  A simple and quick to make oatmeal cookie that can be made with or without the chocolate chips.  I made half the batch with Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks (2-3 chunks … [Read more...]

Switch Witch 2016

Another Halloween season another time for the “Switch Witch” to visit. My twins are now 8 nearing 8-and-a-half and we are still in prime Fairy/Witch/Make believe world! You name it we have a fairy to go with it! I know we are nearing the end of this magical phase and we are loving these, what I think will soon be final days of magical wonder. My girls discovered “the Switch Witch” when they were in kindergarten, our first Halloween in the Midwest and they told me all about her. She is friend, cousin or sister maybe of the tooth fairy and doesn’t want the kids to have too much candy, or in my kids case, any candy with food dyes or funky ingredients we don’t eat. So she comes and gets the bad candy and takes it to her candy land and does, well… we aren’t sure what with it because we haven’t yet been taken to candy land but she leaves the kids a small gift in exchange. Sometimes she even leaves some of the good candy in place of the bad candy. The Switch Witch is now such an integral part … [Read more...]

Pumpkin Breakfast Cookie

Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Cookies Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE all things pumpkin! Come October I stock up on my sugar pumpkins and cans of pumpkin and get busy in the kitchen on many things pumpkin! Trader Joe’s is totally in my corner! This year they have even MORE pumpkin items than normal! I’m talking pumpkin pasta, pumpkin butter, pumpkin gluten free pancake & waffle mix, pumpkin bread mix and even pumpkin cheerios!! Seriously awesome!! Such inspiration to whip of so many tasty treats of my own! Thanks to celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving and many weeks of houseguests, I have already made many pumpkin pies and we haven’t even gotten through Halloween yet!! Pumpkin pie will always be a favorite but I also extend the pumpkin love into muffins, cakes and of course cookies! Now that school is in full swing, I thought I’d try something new, Breakfast Cookies! I have tried these before with mixed success, one child loves, one hates or they haven’t kept well. I had all … [Read more...]

Artichoke, Mushroom, Coconut Soup

In my brief experience in the Midwest I’d say that normally by this time of year we would be in sweaters or at least long sleeves full time by now. Its mid-to-late October and we are having another unseasonal day of 80F. I’m not complaining but the big shifts in temperature keeps sending my cooking plans in a spin. It’s cold one day, shopping day, so I stock up with lots of veg to roast and turn into soups or stews, then we get warm days and all I want is a salad. What’s a gal to do! Well given the huge pot of soup I made this week, I ate the soup but served it warm instead of hot. I don’t mind because I do love soups! This week’s Soup of the Week is an Asparagus, Mushroom Coconut Soup. I tried it out last week when it was a little cooler and boy did it hit the spot! It’s warming, creamy and calming. Made a second batch as part of Sunday batch cooking session to fuel my lunches this week. This soup freezes really well so if the weather suddenly switches to summer weather over night, … [Read more...]

Lentil Bisque

  Usually by this time of year we have put away our sundresses and started the morning walk into school with sweatshirts or light jackets. We have been lucky this year with summer weather going through to the third week of September. Not complaining here!   The fall equinox was this week, yet summer weather is still forecasted for the near future according to my trusted old weather app! I have been at a bit of a loss for dinners because many of our school night dinners usually consist of pre-made stews or soups but given the warm afternoons, we have been in the mood for more summer-ish dinners! Lots of salads and burgers have been on our menu but I saw pumpkins and autumn squash in the stores which seemed to turn my fall taste buds on! I have been craving the warming fall flavors and started leafing through the soup sections in my recipes books looking forward to making our seasonal favorites.   Had the idea of posting a weekly or biweekly Soup of Week post to share some of our … [Read more...]

Plum & Fig Crisp

It’s hard to believe the Fall Equinox was this past week. It’s the third week of September and we are still in shorts and t-shirts. Not complaining! Just noting this amazing weather! Since moving to the mid-west we have had a lot of colder autumns and I can even remember a few August days pulling out the fleeces. Not fair, As my kiddos would say! Despite being Canadian by birth, I am a friend and lover of warmer weather! So this autumn weather is amazing!! I am eating it up along with all of the end of summer fruit that is still in stores! I’m kind of like a kid in the candy store when I go in and see all the peaches and plums that are still there in abundance! Yay fresh stone fruit! This week’s post is another one using fresh figs!! My little ladies just started their adventure with the local orthodontist so their mouths were a little sore and needed a softer dessert for our Sunday night family feast. Summer fruit crisp with a little cashew cream ice cream was the winner … [Read more...]

Mama’s Fig Bars

School for the kids has started but the produce section is still rich with end of summer fruit and veggies! We are eating as much of these goodies as we can. Lots of peaches, nectarines, plums, berries, figs, summer squash, local corn, tomatoes, we love it all!! One of my favorite end of summer fruits is figs! I love grilling or sautéing them in balsamic vinegar and throwing in a salad or cutting them up and throwing them in our overnight-oats or cereal. My girls are less wild about eating them right out of the fruit bowl but once cut up, cooked or baked they love them, too. Their natural sweetness, like medjool dates, lends itself well to lots of dishes acting as a key sweetener. Figs nutritionally offer a number of essential minerals (magnesium, calcium, copper and potassium along with vitamin K and B6 and are high in fiber. When figs are dried their nutritional value increases. For example half a cup of fresh figs contains as much calcium as a half a cup of milk but only two large … [Read more...]

Thai Chicken Burgers

Inspired by GOOP’s burgers, I whipped these up on a Friday night for my kiddos, along side my Thai Veggie Burgers for the hubby and me. The little ladies had just gotten fitted with their expanders from their orthodontist so I wasn’t sure if they would eat much of anything but these burgers were a big success!! We shared the extra two burgers with our neighbors who had had a long week and were too exhausted to even think about cooking. Just love sharing good food with good friends! These paired well with usual burger fare: oven fries and finger veggies, but I could also see making these into little meatballs and serving them with a stir-fry, some Healthy Fried Rice or Fava Brown Rice Salad. Thai Chicken Burgers Delicious on a hamburger bun or in a large leaf lettuce roll.  Option to top burger with a drizzle of sriracha or a spicy Asian mustard dipping sauce, or as my eldest did, good old fashioned ketchup!!  Though can’t (won’t) say how the latter would taste!  These are … [Read more...]